- Alabama, now at +175 odds, is no longer the odds-on favorite to win the SEC
- LSU has seen its odds drop all the way from +275 to +800
- Georgia (+300), Florida (+500), and Texas A&M (+700) have all seen their odds shorten
The SEC Championship odds have seen some drastic changes this offseason, with teams like Georgia and Florida on the rise, while LSU and Alabama are no longer the strong favorites they were at the end of March.
This is the most interesting field of teams the SEC has had in a long time, and the conference championship odds reflect exactly that.
2020 SEC Championship Odds
|Alabama Crimson Tide||+175|
|Texas A&M Aggies||+700|
|Mississippi State Bulldogs||+2500|
|South Carolina Gamecocks||+4000|
|Ole Miss Rebels||+5000|
Odds taken Apr 14
At the end of March, the odds were led by Alabama as the odds-on favorite at -120, and LSU in second at +275. The Tide are no longer the odds-on favorite, however, and LSU has seen their odds fall all the way to +800. Why are bettors fading the top teams?
In LSU’s case, it’s a simple matter of lost talent. Heisman winner Joe Burrow has left for the NFL, and he’s not alone in leaving the Bayou. The group of Tigers headed for the NFL includes standouts like K’Lavon Chaisson, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Grant Delpit, and Patrick Queen.
Additionally, whoever takes over at quarterback will have to find new weapons to replace Thaddeus Moss and Justin Jefferson, and it will be interesting to see an offensive line that lost four starters try to rebuild.
Joe Brady, the coordinator responsible for the 2019 offensive output, has also departed for the NFL.
Defensive coordinator Dave Aranda didn’t leave for the NFL, but he is headed elsewhere. He’ll be the new head man at Baylor in 2020.
In Alabama’s case, there’s not quite mass departures, but there’s enough instability to cause doubt in the Tide for bettors. The biggest of those is the loss of Tua Tagovailoa to the NFL Draft. Losing a quarterback used to be a minor deal in Tuscaloosa, but it’s a new era for Alabama.
The offense, and the quarterback, are the ones primarily driving the ship. Mac Jones and Bryce Young have exciting potential, but it’s far from a guarantee that they are the same kind of player that Tua was.
The Tide don’t need a wholesale rebuild the way LSU does, but there’s still some doubt at key spots in Tuscaloosa.
Odds are falling for each of these teams because there’s a significant amount of doubt about how they will look in 2020. It doesn’t help that elsewhere in the SEC, things look like they may come together in a big way for a couple of squads.
Contenders Out East
While doubt lingers for the Tide and Tigers, there’s an opening for a couple of teams from the SEC East. Georgia and Florida have both seen their odds jump in recent weeks, and this 2020 season could see them break the run of Western division dominance.
Georgia has been on the cusp for a few seasons now under Kirby Smart, and they may have just made the upgrade that will put them over the top. Wake Forest transfer Jamie Newman will take over the quarterback position in Athens with Jake Fromm leaving for the NFL. Fromm was a solid passer, but Newman brings a dynamic element that this offense has lacked in recent seasons.
A perfect example of this is Newman’s 574 rushing yards in 2019. That’s 534 more yards than Fromm gained on the ground in his entire Georgia career.
The Cocktail Party in Jacksonville will have massive implications, because the East may come down to a Florida-Georgia tiebreaker.
In Dan Mullen’s first two seasons in charge in Gainesville, the Gators have won double-digit games. Both seasons have been capped by major bowl wins as well, with Florida coming out victorious in both the Peach and Orange Bowls.
A boon for Mullen this season will be a lack of many significant departures. No team is immune from losing players, but beyond CJ Henderson, Johnathan Greenard, and a couple of key receivers, this Gator squad remains largely intact to keep their momentum rolling from the last two seasons.
Aggies are the Biggest Mover
LSU saw a big dip in their odds, but it is actually Texas A&M that was the biggest mover since late March. Their shift, unlike LSU’s, was a positive one. Jimbo Fisher’s squad saw a jump from +1600 all the way up to +700, and they now sit at just fourth behind Alabama, Georgia, and Florida.
The Aggies will return eight starters on each side of the ball, making them one of the more experienced teams in the conference. Their top four tacklers from a season ago will be back, and their top pass defender in Charles Oliver as well. Of course, Kellen Mond is back in the saddle as well.
Taking the West from Alabama or LSU will be a tall task, but the Aggies have the experience and talent to give them a run for their money.