SEC Championship Odds: LSU, Auburn Are Alabama's Next Closest Challengers
Auburn was the last team to win the SEC Championship Game other than Alabama, but the Tide have taken home the title each of the past three years.
This season, the Tigers are among a select few schools in the conference with a shot at dethroning the defending champions and national runner-ups, who are listed as -150 favorites (bet $150 to win $100) to win the SEC again at sports books monitored by OddsShark.com.
Auburn and LSU sit behind Alabama as the co-second choices, at +500 (bet $100 to win $500) in SEC championship odds, although both teams will have to find a way to win the SEC West first—last year, both finished 5–3 in the division, while the Tide went a perfect 8–0.
Auburn was 8–5 overall in 2016 but has a new quarterback in Jarrett Stidham, who transferred from Baylor after his freshman season. Once a highly-rated recruit out of Stephenville, Texas, Stidham started three games at Baylor before suffering an ankle injury, then left the school as part of the talent exodus in the wake of the scandal centered around former head coach Art Briles’s protection of sexual abusers within his program.
LSU went 8–4 and will need to find a replacement for former All-America running back Leonard Fournette, the No. 4 pick in the 2017 draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Fournette rushed for just 843 yards in 2016 due to an ankle injury after totaling 1,953 as a sophomore, and in his place Derrius Guice led the team with 1,387 rushing yards and scored 16 touchdowns. Now a junior with draft aspirations of his own, Guice will be counted on to carry the load.
Alabama, who is also the clear favorite to win the national title according to sports books monitored by OddsShark, remains the team to beat in the SEC despite coming off a loss in last season’s national championship game. The Tide will return quarterback Jalen Hurts and running backs Damien Harris and Bo Scarborough, who combined to rush for 2,806 yards a year ago.
Hurts will try to build upon a breakout true freshman season with help from new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, who previously served as tight ends coach for the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.
The Eastern Division’s best chances to win the SEC include Georgia (+700) and Florida (+800). The Bulldogs have not appeared in the SEC championship game since 2012, while the Gators have lost to Alabama in the last two title games by a combined score of 83–31. Florida won the SEC East with a 6–2 mark in ’16.