- Alabama has opened as a -120 favorite to win the SEC in 2020
- LSU comes in second in the odds at +275. Can the Tigers reload and repeat?
- Read on for a deeper look at the SEC’s 2020 conference title odds
After a season in which LSU finally got over the hump and won an SEC championship, the odds now favor a return to normalcy in the form of Nick Saban and Alabama.
The Crimson Tide are -120 favorites in the Conference Championship odds, but the top of the SEC feels stronger, and deeper, than it has been in a long time.
2020 SEC Championship Odds
|Alabama Crimson Tide||-120|
|Texas A&M Aggies||+1600|
|Mississippi State Bulldogs||+10000|
|Ole Miss Rebels||+10000|
|South Carolina Gamecocks||+10000|
Odds taken Mar. 27.
Can the Tigers Stay on Top?
2019 was a magical season in Baton Rouge, but repeating that success will be a tall task in 2020. Head Coach Ed Orgeron remains, but that’s about it. Joe Burrow, along with his 6,000-plus yards and 65 touchdowns, has departed for the NFL Draft. Passing game co-ordinator Joe Brady and DC Dave Aranda, have also left for promotions to the NFL, and head coach at Baylor, respectively.
On offense, the Tigers also lose four linemen, Justin Jefferson, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, and Thaddeus Moss to the draft. The story on the defensive side of the ball is similar, losing leaders like Patrick Queen, Grant Delpit, K’Lavon Chaisson, and Rashard Lawrence.
Last year was a perfect storm of talent and coaching for LSU, and those conditions won’t exist again in 2020. The Tigers still have the talent to be a factor at the top of the SEC, but they’ll certainly come closer back to the pack after their perfect campaign.
Saban Poised for Ninth Conference Crown?
At -120, Alabama and Nick Saban lead the SEC odds heading into the 2020 season. Seeing as Saban has already won this conference on eight separate occasions, history is certainly on the side of the favorite.
2019 was a disappointing year in Tuscaloosa, highlighted by the loss to LSU and the season-ending hip injury to Tua Tagovailoa.
There is, of course, strong precedent for an Alabama bounce back. After going 9-3 in 2010, the Tide rebounded by winning the next two national titles. After ending 2013 and 2014 with bowl losses, Saban’s team would go on to win two of the next three national championships. Like any other program, Alabama has also gone through ebbs and flows in the last decade. The difference, of course, is that at its worst, this team is still a squad that will likely win double-digit games.
In two of the last four seasons, it’s been Alabama that has brought in the nation’s top recruiting class. After a couple of “down” seasons (by Saban standards), no team has more talent to attack 2020 with than the Tide.
Contender From the East?
In that four-year span in which Alabama had the top recruiting class twice, it was the SEC East’s Georgia Bulldogs who were tops in the other two seasons. That talent, paired with the kind of dynamic quarterback that the Bulldogs have lacked in recent years, puts Kirby Smart and company right up there with the Tigers and Tide in the odds.
2019 was an offensive struggle in Athens. Jake Fromm’s yards per attempt, adjusted and standard, both saw drops of nearly two yards. His 60.8% completion percentage was the lowest of his career, and especially low in an offense that so heavily featured the check-down. 2019 also saw Fromm’s worst passer rating of his career.
That’s why the arrival of Jamie Newman in Athens is so exciting. His passing numbers were, similarly to Fromm, solid in 2019. It is the added element of the run that completely opens up this offense. Newman ran for 574 yards a year ago, 534 more than Fromm had in his entire Georgia career.
There’s never been a question about talent during Smart’s tenure in Athens. The thing that’s held the Bulldogs back has been an offense that stalls often and lacks a dynamic element. That will change in 2020.
What’s the Best Bet?
The top of the SEC appears stronger than it has in a long time. There’s often a team or two that can win the conference, but a field of six contenders exists heading into 2020. Alabama, LSU, and Georgia are the top three, but Florida (+600), Auburn (+1400), and Texas A&M (+1600) lurk.
Auburn is an interesting longshot, especially if quarterback Bo Nix takes a big step forward in his sophomore campaign. However, they also lost their best offensive lineman, cornerback, and two best defensive linemen to the draft. The Tigers may not have the interior to take down Alabama or Georgia.
The best bet here has to be Georgia. They’ve been so close in recent years, with their undoing being literally a couple second halves in big games in which the offense went completely stagnant. The talent is all there, the coaching is all there, and at +400, there’s a ton of value in Georgia finally getting over the hump.