In recent years, the SEC coined the phrase, “It just means more.” The motto might be mocked by non-SEC fans, but on the gridiron, the saying holds up.
The SEC is the best conference in college football, and sports bettors will have their eyes locked on SEC matchups this fall. Unsurprisingly, Alabama enters the 2022 season as a national title contender. Georgia, which defeated Alabama in last year’s title game, is also expected to be among the nation’s best.
As usual, there are plenty of other quality teams in the league, although not many others are projected to factor into the national title hunt, at least according to sports betting oddsmakers. DraftKings lists Alabama as a +175 favorite to win the national title, while Georgia checks in at +400. No other SEC team has odds shorter than +2500, which is where Texas A&M is listed.
Georgia broke through last season, winning the national championship behind a stellar defense and a respectable offense. Quarterback Stetson Bennett returns, and he has a pair of star tight ends to throw to in Brock Bowers and Darnell Washington.
Defensively, Georgia still boasts plenty of talent despite losing several starters to the NFL. Jalen Carter is a budding star along the defensive line, and Nolan Smith is an experienced linebacker with NFL upside. Georgia has a favorable schedule, avoiding Alabama and Texas A&M in the regular season.
“We don’t like to change our standards,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said at SEC Media Day. “We know we’re going to have a good defense year in and year out.”
The Bulldogs are +155 to win the SEC on DraftKings and +160 on FanDuel, which lists Georgia at -550 to win the SEC East. Georgia’s regular-season win total is listed at 10.5 on DraftKings, with the over having -240 odds.
Biggest 2022 college football win totals at @BetMGM
Ohio State 10.5
Notre Dame 9.5
Which teams are going OVER?
— John Ewing 🦁 (@johnewing) June 3, 2022
“I truly think that Georgia is getting to 11 or more wins almost in all the scenarios,” Ben Rasa said in a recent episode of Betting U, a college sports betting podcast. “Even though you’re laying north of -200, it’s a very, very safe spot there. I just don’t see them losing two games in any scenario.”
Alabama is led by quarterback Bryce Young, a top NFL prospect and Heisman Trophy contender (+350 to repeat at Barstool Sportsbook) with good mobility and impressive accuracy. Last year’s Heisman winner will lead a strong offensive unit, and defensive lineman Will Anderson headlines what’s expected to be a top defensive group. Anderson is a dark-horse Heisman threat (+2500 at Barstool) on the defensive side.
DraftKings has the Crimson Tide at -145 to win the SEC title game, and it lists Nick Saban’s team at -600 to win the SEC East. Like Georgia, Alabama’s regular-season win total prop is listed at 10.5 on DraftKings, with odds of -265 on the over.
Don’t sleep on Texas A&M entering this season, as the Aggies upset Alabama last season and have talent across the roster. With Top 10 recruiting classes (according to 24/7 Sports) in each of the last four years, including the No. 1 class in 2022, it’s only a matter of time before the Aggies thrust themselves into the national title race.
“Excited about our football team, as everyone is this time of year,” Jimbo Fisher, Texas A&M’s head coach, said at SEC Media Day. “Great new additions to the class coming in that we’re excited about with some of the older guys.”
DraftKings and FanDuel each list Texas A&M at +2500 to win the national title and +1800 to win the SEC. The team’s schedule figures to be a major obstacle, as Texas A&M has road games at Alabama, South Carolina, and Auburn. DraftKings lists Texas A&M’s win total at 8.5, with -150 odds for the over.
Kentucky, led by quarterback Will Levis, is expected to be one of the top challengers to Georgia in the SEC East. Known mainly as a basketball school, Kentucky has quietly made strides as a football program under head coach Mark Stoops. If you believe in Kentucky, which plays Georgia at home in late November, the Wildcats are listed at +5500 to win the SEC at DraftKings. The mobile sports betting operator lists the team’s win total at 8, and the odds for the over are -115.
Arkansas is an intriguing team, with quarterback KJ Jefferson among the most dynamic signal-callers in the conference. While the Razorbacks might be fun to watch, they’re listed at +6000 to win the SEC at DraftKings and FanDuel. BetMGM puts Arkansas in a logjam with five others (Tennessee, Kentucky, Florida, Ole Miss, and LSU) at +5000 odds to win the SEC.
“Arkansas has better coordinators, offensive line and quarterback than Texas A&M… I think Sam Pittman is better coach than Jimbo Fisher.”
– @MichaelWBratton on the @finebaum show pic.twitter.com/Bxk9uAsuJi
— Tye Richardson 🐗 (@TyeSportsRadio) July 23, 2022
While not expected to challenge for the conference crown, LSU (+10000 to win the SEC on FanDuel) and Florida (+6000 to win the SEC on FanDuel) boast intriguing storylines worth following. Brian Kelly left Notre Dame in hopes of returning LSU to championship contention, and Billy Napier took over the Florida job after a successful stint at Louisiana. Can either program build a foundation this season to make a run at future titles?
Tennessee’s offense under coach Josh Heupel figures to interest some bettors, as quarterback Hendon Hooker returns to lead a potentially dynamic Volunteers squad. The team’s win total is listed at 7.5 on DraftKings, with odds of -160 on the over.
The bottom line
Alabama and Georgia are the obvious favorites to win the SEC in 2022, but the depth of the league should make for exciting weekly matchups. Several teams hold the pieces to upset the league’s top two programs on any given Saturday, although it’s less likely anyone has what it takes to outperform Alabama or Georgia for the duration of a season.