NCAA Football Betting: Positives & Negatives For SEC, Nation's Best Conference

SEC Football

Matthew Jordan

Thursday, July 28, 2016 8:16 PM UTC

Thursday, Jul. 28, 2016 8:16 PM UTC

The SEC has won the national title in eight of the past 10 seasons, and they are college football odds favorites to do it again this year. Here's a plus and minus for each to win the title.

Alabama (+165)

Positive: Best coach in college football (history?) in Nick Saban. Most five-star recruits on the roster of any school year-by-year. Four national titles in the past  seven years and +600 favorite on college football picks to win another. What else can you ask for? It's the model program in college football.

Negative: Finding a quarterback to replace Jake Coker. A few off-the-field problems. Will defensive coordinator Kirby Smart be missed? Tough, tough schedule with an opener vs. USC and trips to Ole Miss, SEC East favorite Tennessee and LSU.


LSU (+350)

Positive: This could be Les Miles' most talented team in years with an SEC-best 18 starters due back, led by the Heisman Trophy favorite on NCAA football odds in running back Leonard Fournette. Miles has to win big this year or he's a goner.

Negative: The only one I can see potentially is quarterback Brandon Harris because he can't just hand off to Fournette on every play. The Tigers averaged only 180 yards through the air last season, and Harris connected on 54 percent of his passes. That's not good enough with teams stacking the box against Fournette and daring Harris to beat them.


Tennessee (+350)

Positive: This is the most talented Vols team since Phil Fulmer's glory days. Josh Dobbs is easily the best quarterback returning in the SEC East and he has one of the nation's top running back duos in Jalen Hurd and Alvin Kamara. End Derek Barnett is a SEC Defensive Player of the Year candidate. It's all in place for UT to win the SEC East and it's the -140 favorite to do so on college football odds.

Negative: The Vols haven't proven able to win big games under Butch Jones yet. The blew big leads last year in losing to Oklahoma and Florida and also lost winnable games against Arkansas and Alabama. Overall, UT is 2-28 in its past 30 games vs. ranked teams.


Georgia (+1000)

Positive: The aura around the program didn't take a hit with the firing of Coach Mark Richt and replacing him with alum and former Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart. He was able to keep the top overall prospect in this year's class, QB Jacob Eason, committed to Georgia. Eason might start from Day 1.

Negative: The team's top two running backs, Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, are less than 100 percent. Chubb hasn't taken part in football activities since he suffered three torn ligaments and cartilage damage in his left knee against Tennessee early last October. Michel broke his arm on July 4 weekend.


Mississippi (+1100)

Positive: Arguably the best returning quarterback in the SEC is Ole Miss' Chad Kelly. Last year, he led the SEC in passing (310.9 ypg, 10th in nation), total offense (349.4 ypg, 7th in nation), passing touchdowns (31, 9th in nation) and points responsible for (246, 7th in nation). He was the first QB to lead Ole Miss to wins over Alabama, Auburn and LSU in the same season.

Negative: Only 10 starters back overall. Plus potential major NCAA sanctions loom large over the program. Might not even be allowed to play postseason football.


Florida (+1800)

Positive: The defense was eighth in the nation last year overall and should again carry the day despite losing six starters. UF has to leave the state of Florida just three times all regular season.

Negatives: The Gators had their two starting QBs from last year, Will Grier and Treon Harris, transfer as well as some off-field issues hanging over a few other expected key contributors in 2016. Sophomore walk-on Luke Del Rio is the projected starting QB.


Auburn (+1800)

Positive: If junior college recruit  transfer John Franklin wins the starting quarterback job over Jeremy Johnson and Sean White, who both struggled last year. Why would it be good if Franklin won the job? Cam Newton and Nick Marshall led Auburn to national championship games straight from JuCo.

Negative: Auburn averaged only 22.1 points in league games last season – the lowest mark of Coach Gus Malzahn’s tenure as head coach. He's squarely on the hot seat this year.


Arkansas (+2000)

Positive: Coach Bret Bielema will hilariously say something to irritate probably every other coach in the conference (or maybe in his former Big Ten Conference). The defense wasn't very good in 2015 but should be much better with nine starters back.

Negative: Huge losses on offense, led by record-setting quarterback Brandon Allen, running back Alex Collins and one of the nation's top tight ends in Hunter Henry. Only four starters back on that side of the ball.


Texas A&M (+2000)

Positive: Despite some defections, there's still a lot of talent on this roster, led by defensive end Myles Garrett, who might be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Last year, he led the team with 12.5 sacks and 19.5 tackles for a loss. Might be most disruptive defender in nation.

Negative: Remember when Kevin Sumlin was the hot coach in college football? It's looking more and more like that success was all about Johnny Manziel. This program seems to be regressing and Sumlin lost two five-star quarterbacks to transfer this offseason.


Mississippi State (+3300)

Positive: The school was able to keep excellent coach Dan Mullen, whom it seems is yearly rumored for better openings. He interviewed at Miami (Fla.) after last season.

Negative: The loss of easily the best quarterback in school history in Dak Prescott. He owns 38 school records and is the most decorated football player in MSU annals. He was a two-time All-American  and one four players in FBS history and the second player in SEC history (2007 Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow) to throw for 70 touchdowns and rush for 40 scores in a career. It's a four-man competition to replace him.


Missouri (+8000)

Positive: With eight returning starters, the defense will be among the best in the SEC. QB Drew Lock has major potential as one of the school's top recruits ever at the position. He got plenty of on-the-job experience as a freshman.

Negative: The hiring of new head coach Barry Odom to replace the retiring Gary Pinkel was met with collective yawns by Mizzou fans and seems like a major downgrade. Odom spent the previous four years as the school's defensive coordinator.


South Carolina (+8000)

Positive: About as forgiving an SEC schedule as possible as the Gamecocks avoid Alabama, LSU, Ole Miss, Auburn and Arkansas from the West Division. They instead get Mississippi State and Texas A&M, potentially the division's two worst teams.

Negative: The bloom is off the rose of new head coach Will Muschamp. He failed as a head coach at Florida and after that as a defensive coordinator at Auburn.


Kentucky (+10000)

Positive: Once again, basketball team is a national championship favorite.

Negative: Football team will always be overshadowed by the basketball team so it's tough to land top recruits on the gridiron. Mark Stoops has done about as well as possible.


Vanderbilt (+15000)

Positive: Academically superior to every other SEC school.

Negative: Academically superior to every other SEC school -- and thus can't admit several athletes that other schools can.


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