Often considered the gold standard as far as college football conferences are concerned, the SEC has developed into a top-heavy in recent years. With several SEC coaches leaving to lead other programs in other conferences, Alabama will battle it out with the rest of the league, particularly Georgia and Auburn, in some of the more high-stakes games of the year. Given how few College Football Playoff spots are available, every game is crucial in the title race. College football futures and college football championship odds in America's most watched conference hinge on every game. Today we’ll be looking at the odds to win the SEC championship from BetOnline.
Alabama features a deep a star studded lineup that includes two great quarterbacks.
Alabama has been an absolute dynasty in the SEC ever since Nick Saban arrived, but this might be the most scary team in the history of Alabama football. The reason Alabama is so terrifying this year is the despite their recent run of dominance, they have generally lacked decent quarterback play throughout the Saban era. That appears to have changed in 2018. After last year’s College Football Playoff, the Crimson Tide look like they have a breakout star at quarterback in Tua Tagovailoa.
Tagovailoa was the driving force behind Alabama’s huge comeback in the national championship game against Georgia. He has a lot of the mobility that Jalen Hurts does, but with a stronger arm in addition to the ability to deliver the ball accurately. Alabama have had quality wide receiving talent in recent years like Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, but now they finally have a quarterback who can get their talented wideouts the ball reliably.
Talented position players and wide receivers are whats being touted by the media, but to us those stories simply misrepresent what will be the real story of the 2018-19 Crimson Tide. Every team wants to build from the lines. It's an expression that gets used a ton, but the offensive and defensive lines are where yards are born. Offensive lineman can particularly be hard to find, especially after a championship year. That's not the case for Saban. Alabama not only returns 4 of its 5 starting offensive linemen, but both of its starting tight ends.
Jonah Williams anchors the offensive line from the left tackle position and is widely considered the best offensive lineman in the country. The All-SEC first teamer and Senior is likely to be a top 10 pick in this years NFL draft. DraftWire has him as the #6 overall selection and first offensive lineman off the board in 2019. He is joined by Senior Center Ross Pierschbacher who is also an All-SEC first teamer. He should be the first Center taken by some NFL team in the coming draft too.
Alabama Left Tackle Jonah Williams is a sure fire top 10 pick.
Running behind these tanks is another first round talent and then some. Damian Harris has two straight years over the century mark for Alabama and he's looking to make it over the 1,000 figure for the third straight time this season. If he were to go down, he is backed by an absolute stable that includes Josh Jacobs and Najee Harris.
The Tide will lean heavily on lineman Raekwon Davis and Isaiah Buggs. They both grew as starters in 2017 and will need to lead the team after the departure of Da'Ron Payne to the NFL. Outside linebacker is a postition of strength with Terrell Lewis, Christian Miller, and Anfernee Jennings providing a lot of healthy talent for Alabama looking forward to the SEC season.
Defensively, Alabama will likely continue to be the powerhouse that they have been. They have a way of refilling and will likely be scary even having lost standouts like Minkah Fitzpatrick.
In addition to personnel, the Crimson Tide have a favorable schedule this season. They play Auburn at home in the Iron Bowl in the most vital game on the schedule. They will also travel to Tennessee, but that isn’t as daunting a matchup as it used to be. Outside of those games, Texas A&M at home could be the only stumbling block en route to an undefeated regular season.
Thought to be the biggest competitor to the Crimson Tide, the Georgia Bulldogs are coming off a season where they came just a few plays away from being national champions. With a favorable schedule of their own, the Bulldogs have a great chance to get to the SEC Championship Game.
Georgia’s schedule is similar to that of Alabama, and they won’t have to face the Crimson Tide in the regular season. Their biggest game of the season will be Auburn at home, with their conference road games being against unimpressive opponents in Kentucky, Missouri, and South Carolina.
Defensively, the team has to make up for losing one of the top picks in the 2018 NFL Draft in Roquan Smith. And on offense, the team is losing two incredible running backs in Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. Losing that combination of players will reduce the impact the Georgia running game will have on most contests. That will put a bigger spotlight on Jake Fromm, who will need to deliver again after a great freshman season.
Fromm was a pleasant surprise as a passer last season, when he came in to replace Jacob Eason after Eason suffered a season-ending injury last year. This season, Fromm is going to need to respond better to pressure from opposing defenses. Against Alabama, when the Crimson Tide turned the heat up on Fromm he wilted under the pressure. With Georgia trying to establish itself as more than a one-year wonder, Fromm will play a big role in making that happen.
Jarrett Stidham might be the best quarterback in the SEC.
Last season, Auburn looked like they had everything figured out. They ripped through their schedule in the SEC, even demolishing the juggernaut that is Alabama. But things went south for them in a hurry when they dropped the SEC Championship Game to the Georgia Bulldogs. They then lost to UCF in the Peach Bowl, which put a sour note on what was a legitimately excellent season.
This year Auburn is looking to redeem themselves, and they will have the chances to do so with both Alabama and Auburn on their schedule. If they can get through those two games and a potential rematch with Georgia in the SEC Championship Game, they would absolutely be a part of the College Football Playoff, even if they drop a game elsewhere during the season.
Jarrett Stidham might be the best quarterback in the SEC, at least until Tua Tagovailoa can prove himself on a more than just a one game basis. In a league so rich with talent all over the field, Stidham stands head and shoulders above what really is a quarterback-weak conference. That gives Auburn a huge advantage, as they have a better chance to score late with their passing offense than most teams in the SEC.
Picking Alabama to win the SEC feels like a cop out in a lot of ways, but the Crimson Tide is so much better than the rest of the league that seeing them at only -140 is a legitimate surprise. The fact that the conference championship could come down to a single game against Auburn drives their price in a more favorable direction, but Nick Saban in a game where he will be looking for revenge from a season ago will be on a mission.
Take the Crimson Tide -140. If you like football, don’t forget to check back frequently as we have a rigorous article schedule ramping up into the NFL and NCAAF seasons. Check out our NFL Rookie of the Year Odds, or perhaps a sportsbook bonus list suits you.
Good luck out there!
Roll Tide -140?
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