NCAA Football 2012 Conference Betting Previews- SEC
The Southeastern Conference expands to 14 teams this season with the addition of Missouri into the East Division and Texas A&M into the West. These former Big 12 teams hope to make an immediate impact in a conference that has produced the last six national champions, but there remain a number of very talented teams that they will have to go through to get to the top of this ultimate power conference.
The Georgia Bulldogs have been opened as 17/10 favorites to win the East Division this season and they are the third-favorites to win the SEC at 11/2. The Bulldogs went 7-1 in conference play last season and ended-up 10-4 overall after losing to Michigan State 33-30 in overtime of the Outback Bowl. They return just six starters on offense but they still have All-Conference quarterback Aaron Murray in place to lead the way. The real strength of this Georgia team is a defense that returns nine starters including a pair of All-American players in linebacker Jarvis Jones and free safety Bacarri Rambo.
The second-favorite to win the division at 5/2 is the South Carolina Gamecocks. The old ball coach Steve Spurrier has rebuilt this program into a national power that firmly believes it can win the conference this season as a 10/1 fifth-favorite. Last season the Gamecocks finished 11-2 overall and 6-2 in the SEC. While they only return 14 starters from that squad, there is more than enough talent on both sides of the ball to make a legitimate run at the four teams ahead of them with lower odds. If running back Marcus Lattimore can return to form after injuring his knee, there could be some tremendous value in South Carolina’s current odds.
The odds to win the conference for the rest of the teams in the East Division are Florida at 12/1, Missouri and Tennessee at 35/1, Vanderbilt at 60/1, and Kentucky at 100/1.
You can take your pick between the top two teams in this division with both opening at 8/5 to win the West and at 11/5 to win the conference so we will start alphabetically with the Alabama Crimson Tide. Last year’s national champions have been opened at 6/1 odds to repeat this season despite the fact that 10 starters are gone from last year’s team. As a testament to head coach Nick Saban’s ability to quickly reload, you have to believe that there is a wealth of talent just waiting to step-up and make their mark on this storied program. One player in the spotlight will be running back Eddie Lacy Jr. who will try and make everyone in Tuscaloosa forget all about Trent Richardson.
The added motivation from losing a national title to their long-time division rivals might be just enough to push the LSU Tigers past the Tide this season. Last season’s SEC champions return just 11 starters from 2011, but much like Alabama, have shown the ability to quickly fill any gaps that may exist on either side of the ball. It also helps to have All-Conference running back Spencer Ware anchoring the rushing attack and a duo of All-Americans in defensive end Sam Montgomery and cornerback Tyrann Mathieu anchoring the defense.
The odds to win the conference for the rest of the teams in the West Division are Arkansas at 7/1, Auburn at 22/1, Mississippi State at 30/1, Texas A&M at 40/1, and Mississippi at 100/1.
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