Despite losing a Heisman Trophy winner in running back Derrick Henry and several other key players to the NFL, the Alabama Crimson Tide are listed as a +175 favorite (bet $100 to win $175) to win their third straight SEC Championship Game at sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark.
The defending national champions beat the Florida Gators and Missouri Tigers by double digits as double-digit favorites in the past two title games.
Last year, the Tide won the SEC West Division by one game over the Ole Miss Rebels with a 7-1 record after losing to them 43-37 as nine-point home favorites in their third game. Alabama rebounded from that setback by winning its next 12 games, going 7-5 against the spread en route to topping the Clemson Tigers 45-40 for the national title.
The Rebels look to be solid sleepers again at +1000 to win the SEC Championship Game on the college football betting lines, but they do need to find a way to finish ahead of the Tide in the standings at the end of the regular season first. Ole Miss has upset Alabama the previous two seasons only to finish second and third in the SEC West in 2015 and 2014, respectively.
The LSU Tigers should be much improved in 2016, and they could jump the Rebels and possibly challenge the Tide for the division title this year. Led by Heisman contender Leonard Fournette, the Tigers tied for fourth in the SEC West two years ago and then tied for third last season.
Fournette, a junior running back from New Orleans, was the early Heisman favorite in 2015 before Henry overtook him in his team’s 30-16 victory over LSU.
The SEC East has been won by three different teams over the past four years, and none of them have been able to defeat the West winner in the conference championship game. The Tennessee Volunteers (+650) and Georgia Bulldogs (+900) are projected to be the East’s two best teams, according to oddsmakers. Both went 5-3 in SEC play last year to tie for second in the division behind Florida.
It is worth noting that the Bulldogs will have a head coach other than Mark Richt for the first time since 2000, with former Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart taking over the program this season.
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Source: Bleacher Report -SEC Football