SEC betting preview: Alabama tops odds list ahead of Auburn, Georgia
After just four losses in their last 40 games, Alabama enters the 2014 season as the favorite to win the national championship at 5/1 and the heavy favorite to win the SEC as well, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark.
Breaking in a new quarterback and replacing a slew of talented players on both sides of the ball might be a daunting task for some programs, but it is just business as usual at at the NFL factory known as Alabama.
Nick Saban's Crimson Tide went 11-1 SU and 7-5 ATS during the regular season last year, falling one win shy of a trip to the SEC title game and a possible berth in the BCS National Championship Game on one of the most shocking plays of the season.
The Alabama defense should once again be among the nation's elite, and Heisman Trophy contender T.J. Yeldon (20/1 to win the trophy) will be the focal point of the offense. Alabama is a 6/5 favorite to win the SEC title.
Can Auburn repeat last year's magical run? The Tigers finished the season 12-2 SU and ATS while winning the SEC and producing some incredible finishes in the process.
Whereas most of the SEC's top teams will be breaking in a new quarterback, Gus Malzahn has Nick Marshall (16/1 to win the Heisman) back, and the Tigers should have one of the nation's top offenses again in 2014.
Despite Alabama's status as one of the nation's top programs, the Crimson Tide have won the SEC just once in the last four years. Auburn has done so twice and is 5/1 to win it again this year and 9/1 to win the national championship.
While the big dogs in the West are worthy betting favorites to win the SEC, the Georgia Bulldogs are a popular pick to come out on top in the East. The Bulldogs return 16 starters, and though the loss of Aaron Murray leaves a big hole, fifth-year senior Hutson Mason is expected to step right in and succeed.
His job will be a lot easier with Todd Gurley in the backfield; Gurley has rushed for 2,374 yards and 27 touchdowns over the last two seasons and is going off at 14/1 to win the Heisman Trophy. Georgia is 6/1 to win the SEC and 14/1 to win the title.
South Carolina's Mike Davis is the fourth highest running back on the Heisman Trophy betting board at 28/1. Both the Gamecocks and the Tigers will be breaking in new quarterbacks and will need strong performances from their defenses to get into the mix.
Rounding out the SEC with odds to win the conference championship are (per Bovada):
South Carolina 13/2
Ole Miss 14/1
Texas A&M 25/1
Mississippi State 40/1