Odds & Picks To Win The SECNoah Williams
Can Anyone Stop Alabama From Winning SEC Again in 2017?
Despite losing the national championship and watching a whopping seven of their players bolt to the NFL, the Alabama Crimson Tide are favored to win both, their fourth straight SEC title and the 2018 national championship this coming season.
With all of their SEC rivals looking to topple Nick Saban’s perennially powerful Tide, let’s find out just which teams could accomplish the difficult task.
2017 Odds & Picks To Win The SEC Title
|Ole Miss (ineligible for postseason)||N/A|
The Odds-On Favorite To Win The SEC: Alabama Crimson Tide -150
Were it not for the jaw-dropping heroics of Clemson superstar Deshaun Watson, Alabama would have won the national championship this past season. No matter, the Tide are back again and expected to win it all and for good reason…they’re brimming with elite talent everywhere and have arguably the best head coach in all of college football leading them.
I know the Crimson Tide lost a bunch of elite talent on the defensive side of the ball starting with linebackers Reuben Foster, Ryan Anderson and Tim Williams and the National Defensive Player of the Year in defensive end Jonathan Allen, but by now, I think everyone knows that the Saban will replace his departed stars with more elite, five-star recruits that will somehow replace their predecessors seamlessly.
While Alabama also lost a talented player in first round NFL Draft pick O.J. Howard at tight end, Nick Saban could have his best quarterback ever in gifted dual-threat sophomore signal-caller Jalen Hurts (2,780 yards). Alabama will also run the ball down their opponents’ throats with their running back combination of Damien Harris and Bo Scarborough while
The Tide have a difficult opener against Florida State, but this is a team built for sustained success and one that ranked second in total defense and first in points allowed (13.0 ppg), which is why they’re favored again heading into 2017.
The Smart Pick To Win The SEC: Auburn Tigers +500
Thanks mostly to the addition of Baylor transfer Jarrett Stidham at quarterback and the hiring of Chip Lindsey as offensive coordinator, I like the Auburn Tigers as the No. 1 threat to Alabama’s stranglehold on the SEC. The Tigers have an experienced offensive line returning and arguably the best pair of running backs in the conference in 2016 SEC rushing leader Kamryn Pettway and explosive backup Kerryon Johnson. Last but not least on offense, Auburn has a talented group at wide receiver for Stidham to throw to.
Defensively, the Tigers lost a pair of standout defensive linemen in end Carl Lawson and tackle Montravius Adams and also lost star safety Johnathan Ford, but they return one of the nation’s best linebacker units and All-SEC cornerback Carlton Davis from a unit that finished the 2016 season ranked a stellar seventh in points allowed (17.1 ppg). Head coach Gus Malzhan knows what it takes to win a national championship and the Tigers also have one of the best kickers in the country in Daniel Carlson.
The Long Shot Pick: Texas A&M Aggies +4000
Every time people talk about Texas A&M these days, the first thing mentioned is that head coach Kevin Sumlin is on the hot seat despite the fact that he’s posted a respectable 44-21 mark in four seasons. I know the Aggies have gone 8-5 in each of the last three years, but I don’t think Texas A&M is as far from being competitive as a lot of people.
The Aggies ranked a solid 24th in total offense in 2016 while finishing 34th in scoring (34.8 ppg). While Texas A&M did struggle in finishing 90th in total defense, they still managed to keep the opposition out of the end zone fairly consistently in ranking a respectable 40th in points allowed (24.5 ppg)
The Aggies have some talent on the offensive side of the ball starting with junior wide receiver Christian Kirk and running back Trayveon Williams, but Sumlin has yet to decide who his starting quarterback will be between senior Jake Hubenak, redshirt freshman Nick Starkel and five-star true freshman Kellen Mond. The Aggies also have a trio of offensive linemen returning to a unit that helped them rush for a stellar 211.8 yards per game last season.
Defensively, the Aggies lost All-American defensive end Myles Garrett, the top pick in this year’s NFL Draft, so that’s going to hurt no matter how you slice it. Still, the defensive line may be their best unit in 2017 as Sumlin looks to get some improved play from his linebackers and uninspiring secondary.
Yes, Texas A&M is a long shot in every sense of the word, but let’s not forget, Sumlin caught lightning in a bottle a few years ago with Johnny Manziel and could do so again this coming season, even if it will take a Herculean effort to do so!