- Kentucky is a +200 favorite to repeat as SEC basketball champions in 2020-21
- Tennessee is the second choice after the Wildcats at +275 as Rick Barnes has another loaded Volunteer squad
- A look at the opening SEC odds for all teams in the conference and analysis can be found below
Kentucky ran away with the SEC championship last season.
The Wildcats went 15-3 in conference play and 25-6 overall. They finished three games ahead of Auburn and LSU – both 12-6 – in the conference standings.
Kentucky is favored to again win the conference in the 2020-21 season. However, the oddsmaker do not expect the Wildcats to capture the crown in such decisive fashion this time around.
Here is a look at the SEC Championship odds.
2020-21 SEC Championship Opening Odds
Odds taken Oct. 14
The SEC has not yet released its schedule. However, league play will begin Dec. 29-30 and each team will play 18 games inside the conference.
Kentucky Reloading Again
It is hard to find fault with the oddsmakers’ logic of giving Kentucky and Tennessee the best odds of winning the SEC.
As usual, Kentucky coach John Calipari is in the position of reloading the Wildcats’ roster rather than rebuilding. SEC Player of the Year Immanuel Quickley and the other three players who had scoring averages in double figures last season have moved on.
Sophomore forward Keion Brooks Jr is the top returnee. He averaged 4.5 points, 3.2 rebounds and 15.1 minutes a game last season while primarily coming off the bench.
— CBS Sports CBB (@CBSSportsCBB) February 29, 2020
However, Kentucky again has an outstanding freshman class to build around before most – if not all – of those players move on to the NBA after next season.
Devin Askew, B.J. Boston and Terrance Clarke are all five-star recruits and likely to be in the opening night lineup. Four-star recruit Isaiah Jackson could also crack the starting five.
Guard Davion Mintz is eligible to play after sitting out last season following his transfer from Creighton.
Kentucky is still awaiting word if Wake Forest transfer Olivier Sarr will be eligible to play this season. He would likely make a big impact after being a third-team All-ACC pick last winter when he scored 13.7 points and pulled down 9.0 rebounds a game.
While schools are still finalizing their scheduled in a pandemic-altered season, Kentucky is expected to have non-conference games with Kansas, Louisville and Richmond.
No word yet if the Champions Classic will be played this year. That event includes the Wildcats, Duke, Kansas and Michigan State.
Tennessee got good news when Yves Pons was the last player in the country to withdraw as an early entrant for the NBA Draft.
The junior forward is a top defender, averaging 2.6 blocked shot a game last season. He also had 10.8 points and 5.4 rebounds a game for a team that was a disappointing 17-14 on the heels of a 31-win season in 2018-19.
Pons is also an interesting young man.
Yves Pons is
𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝓂𝑜𝓈𝓉 𝒾𝓃𝓉𝑒𝓇𝑒𝓈𝓉𝒾𝓃𝑔 𝓂𝒶𝓃 𝒾𝓃 𝒸𝑜𝓁𝓁𝑒𝑔𝑒 𝒷𝒶𝓈𝓀𝑒𝓉𝒷𝒶𝓁𝓁
11 things you didn't know about @Airpons ⤵️
— Tennessee Basketball (@Vol_Hoops) October 14, 2020
However, coach Rick Barnes’ team has all the ingredients necessary to win the SEC title this upcoming season.
Tennessee also has two other players who scored in double figures last season in John Fulkerson (13.7 PPG) and Santiago Vescovi (10.7 PPG). Josiah Jordan-James is also a solid returning starter, coming off a season in which he averages 7.4 points and 5.5 rebounds.
Five-star recruit Jaden Springer should make an immediate impact. The Volunteers also added two talented transfers in Victor Bailey Jr. from Oregon and E.J. Anosike from Sacred Heart.
A non-conference highlight is a confirmed game against Gonzaga on Dec. 2 at the Jimmy V Classic in Orlando.
LSU, Florida Possible Contenders
Cases can be made for both LSU and Florida to contend for the conference title, though both are a notch below Kentucky and Tennessee.
LSU’s hopes for a big 2020-21 season received a big boost when Trendon Watford, Ja’Vonte Smart and Darius Days all opted to remove themselves from the draft.
Will Wade says Trendon Watford is shooting the ball better and could be a 38-40 percent shooter from three this year. Says he’s attacking the feedback given to him by NBA scouts#LSU
— Glen West (@glenwest21) October 13, 2020
That trio will be joined by Cam Thomas, a five-star recruit and potential scoring machine.
The Tigers had a 21-10 record last season.
Florida is coming off a disappointing 19-12 year and took a hit when Andrew Nembhard transferred to Gonzaga.
However, the Gators picked up an outstanding mid-major transfer in Tyree Appleby. He averaged 17.2 points and 5.6 rebounds a game for Cleveland State last season.
Though Alabama was just 16-15 last season in Nate Oats’ first season as coach, the Crimson Tide presents good value at odds of +4000 as it has the look of a sleeper.
Alabama’s roster is so deep that Oats could possibly use a 12-man rotation. Furthermore, the Crimson Tide has two excellent established players in John Petty and Herb Jones.