SEC West Odds, Picks, Futures: How to Bet Alabama, LSU, Arkansas & More
Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: AJ Green.
- The college football season is inching closer as SEC Media Days take place in Atlanta, Georgia.
- Collin Wilson broke down the SEC West and makes bets for each team, including Alabama, LSU, Texas A&M and Arkansas.
- Check out all of Wilson's favorite SEC West bets below.
Less than three months after Georgia won its first National Championship in 40 years, the 2022 college football season is set to open action over the counter.
As the college football landscaper continues to change with the Big Ten adding USC and UCLA and the SEC adding Oklahoma, the SEC continues to feel comfortable with where it sits, according to commissioner Greg Sankey.
“There’s no sense of urgency in our league; no panic in reaction to others’ decision,” Sankey said at SEC Media Days in Atlanta. “We know who we are. We’re confident in our collective strength.”
Greg Sankey on if SEC would expand beyond 16 schools: "Great news for the SEC is you're doing something very special & you get calls (from other schools) & they hint around the edges. … We'll watch what happens around us. Be thoughtful, but be nimble."
— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) July 18, 2022
WynnBET was first to market with win totals, specifically for the best division in FBS with the SEC West.
There have been plenty of changes from a coaching and transfer portal standpoint. Those player departure and acquisitions have been captured in our TARP Dashboard, a piece that has a heavy influence on the changes in power ratings during the offseason.
Here’s a look at all the teams in the SEC West, their biggest offseason notes and how their power rating has changed since the conclusion of bowl season.
Alabama Crimson Tide · Win Total: 11.5
The betting board runs like clockwork for the Crimson Tide, forcing preseason investors to bet on an undefeated regular season.
The theme going into this season is that Ohio State and Alabama are on track to meet in the National Championship, with power ratings that make the two teams a touchdown favorite over other upper-echelon teams such as Clemson and Texas A&M.
Believe it or not, 2021 was actually a rebuilding year in Tuscaloosa. TARP took a dive after the NFL Draft raided the roster, as new offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien took over as offensive coordinator with a freshman at quarterback. That freshman was Bryce Young, who went on to win the Heisman trophy.
Not only are Young and O’Brien back, but the Tide will also have improved play from the offensive line and a defense that has some of the most experience returning in all of the SEC.
Henry To'o To'o on the advice he gave Eli Ricks, who also transferred in: "Come in and work. Never change who you are, but come in ready to adapt to the culture."
— Clint Lamb (@ClintRLamb) March 25, 2022
Young can thank the transfer portal for explosive weapons assembled for both the run and pass game. This team may be able to achieve just as many accolades as the undefeated powerhouse Saban fielded during the 2020 pandemic season.
The Tide will travel to Texas as two-touchdown favorites, but they host both Texas A&M and Auburn in the Iron Bowl. Dropping Georgia for Vanderbilt in cross-division play is a bonus.
The best bet in the preseason for Alabama may be on the division, conference or national title in lieu of a season win total.
Action Network Total: 11.9
WynnBET Total: 11.5 (+200 / -250)
Texas A&M Aggies · Win Total: 9
The Aggies once again have the second-highest win total projection in the SEC West. The window to win the division may be closing despite numerous top-10 recruiting classes.
Texas A&M saw the departure of Zach Calzada to Auburn through the transfer portal, leaving 2021 injured starter Haynes King to compete for the job. Joining King is transfer Max Johnson from LSU, who spent last season evading pressure from an inconsistent Tigers offensive line.
One of the biggest changes for the Aggies comes in the coordinator role on defense, as Mike Elko took the head coaching position at Duke. Texas A&M hired DJ Durkin away from Ole Miss, but head coach Jimbo Fisher made it clear the Aggies are not moving away from the 4-2-5 scheme.
Durkin previously worked with dime packages, often lining up just two or three defensive linemen in standard downs. The new coordinator will adjust to Texas A&M’s style and is expected to produce the same results as Elko.
The Action Network projection places the Aggies at 9 wins, in line with the opening win total market.
There are just three home games in SEC play this year, as Fisher looks for solid contribution at quarterback before a Sept. 17 showdown with Miami.
Action Network Total: 9
WynnBET Total: 9 (-125 / +105)
Ole Miss Rebels · Win Total: 8
Lane Kiffin enters his third year in Oxford, and he has become a popular man — not only to Rebels fans, but to college football fans around the country.
Kiffin: I did sign a mustard bottle. First guy that came up had an Alabama shirt so I was a little confused though@OleMissFB | #HottyToddy
— Collin Wilson (@_Collin1) July 18, 2022
However, the Rebels received downgrades in their power rating because they own the lowest mark in the division in regard to TARP.
Kiffin worked the transfer portal to bring in quarterback Jaxson Dart from USC and running back Zach Evans from TCU. Both are excellent players, but neither can replace the production from the Matt Corral era.
While the pieces on the field have changed, the one constant is Kiffin’s ability to put points on the board. There’s a direct correlation to Finishing Drives and covering the spread, as Ole Miss ranked seventh in points per attempt past their opponents’ 40-yard line.
There are changes to the defensive staff, but the scheme will remain the same. Ole Miss has improved in stopping the explosive play on defense, coming at the cost of dropping eight defenders into coverage. The Rebels defense finished 80th in Success Rate and 95th in Finishing Drives.
A vanilla nonconference schedule with cross-division play against Vanderbilt will help the Rebels reach five wins. Coin flips with Kentucky, Auburn, LSU and Mississippi State in conference play make Ole Miss a pass from a win total perspective.
Action Network Total: 5.9
WynnBET Total: 8 (-110 / -110)
Mississippi State Bulldogs · Win Total: 6.5
Oddsmakers and Action Network projections align on the Bulldogs, who are set for another year of Mike Leach running the air raid.
Will Rogers returns at quarterback, but questions around the offensive tackle position could be a persistent issue. Leach got the most out of the 2021 offense, finishing top-20 in Success Rate, Finishing Drives and Havoc Allowed.
Defensive coordinator Zach Arnett returns for his third season in Starkville, but the 26% mark in TARP is one of the lowest numbers of all FBS defenses. The Bulldogs gave up plenty of yards to opposing offenses but finished top-25 in Finishing Drives. While the defense does return players in the front seven, a few personnel losses contribute to 10% of pressures returning for 2022.
Memphis, East Tennessee, Bowling Green and Arizona all project Mississippi State as a minimum touchdown favorite. Ole Miss, Auburn, Kentucky, Arkansas and LSU are all projected within a 5-point spread, making this win total a pass.
Action Network Total: 6.5
WynnBET Total: 6.5 (-110 / -110)
Arkansas Razorbacks · Win Total: 6.5
Sam Pittman has been at Arkansas for two years, winning every single trophy at stake during the 2021 season.
Even with Treylon Burks sitting out to prepare for the NFL Draft, the Razorbacks relied on a heavy rush attack to beat Penn State in the Outback Bowl. The prescription for 2022 remains the same, as quarterback KJ Jefferson returns behind a large offensive line with a stable of bruising running backs.
Burks has been replaced in the portal with Oklahoma transfer Jadon Haselwood, an explosive wide receiver who will be the go-to hot route for Jefferson in passing downs.
Pittman retains both coordinators with plenty of experience on the field. Jalen Catalon and Bumper Pool return to a defense that improved to 31st in Success Rate.
While the portal will assist defensive coordinator Barry Odom with improvements in Finishing Drives, offensive coordinator Kendal Briles has a much tougher job in getting Arkansas to produce in passing downs. The next level for Jefferson is learning to check down and hit other receivers, an issue that arose in 2021 after throwing into triple coverage to connect with Burks.
There’s a simple theme with the Arkansas win total. If an opponent cannot defend the rush, then the Razorbacks will emerge victorious.
Nonconference play includes a depleted Cincinnati, a Bobby Petrino-led Missouri State and a BYU defense that finished 95th in Rushing Success Rate. MIssouri and Ole Miss each finished outside the top 100 in defending the run, while South Carolina ranked 113th in Defensive Line Yards.
Are we playing the over on this opening win total? In the words of Pittman himself, “YES SIR!”
Action Network Total: 7.5
WynnBET Total: 6.5 (+120 / -140)
LSU Tigers · Win Total: 6
The Tigers may be the toughest handicap in college football entering the 2022 season.
LSU owns the lowest offensive returning production rate in the division, as a mass exodus followed the end of the Ed Orgeron tenure.
Brian Kelly left Notre Dame for the head coaching position, immediately making an impact on the coaching staff, recruiting trail and transfer portal. Offensive coordinator Mike Denbrock exits Cincinnati after a playoff appearance to manage a new scheme in Baton Rouge with a quarterback battle between Myles Brennan and Jayden Daniels.
Myles Brennan says he was planning on making a decision on his school to transfer to that week Kelly reached out to convince him to stay. He hadn't decided for sure, but he was going to decide that week.
Then Kelly called, and he returned to #LSU
— Brody Miller (@BrodyAMiller) March 26, 2022
Defensive coordinator Matt House will implement another defensive scheme for a group of talented defenders.
The defensive interior of Jaquelin Roy and Maason Smith will be trouble for SEC offensive lines, while a bevy of secondary players have arrived in Baton Rouge via the transfer portal.
When Kelly took the Notre Dame job in 2010, he walked into a situation with a new quarterback and offensive line. The Fighting Irish struggled early in September that season. Now, Kelly finds himself experiencing the same situation in Baton Rouge.
“The offensive line is clearly an area that we need to keep our eye on,” Kelly said at SEC Media Days. “But I think we’ve added some really good transfers, and we think we’ve got some young men that have developed.”
Kelly: Brad (Davis) was the interim head coach. I saw him in a leadership capacity and loved his ability to reach the players. Also he worked for Sam Pittman, I considered Sam Pittman the best OL coach in the nation@LSUfootball | #GeauxTigers
— Collin Wilson (@_Collin1) July 18, 2022
If there’s one variable that will remain solid before and after LSU’s spring game, it’s the murderers’ row of a regular season schedule. Half of the Tigers’ games are projected to have a spread within one possession. Alabama and Texas A&M are the only games with a projection that have LSU as a double-digit underdog.
The opening win total is full game above the Action Network projection.
This is a transition year for Kelly with new schemes and portal players. Kelly can absolutely bring a national title to Baton Rouge, but the best move in Summer 2022 is waiting for fall camp and possible steam on the over before making a decision to fade LSU.
Action Network Total: 5
WynnBET Total: 6 (-125 / +100)
Auburn Tigers · Win Total: 5
The Tigers led by a field goal heading into the fourth quarter of the Birmingham Bowl before taking a loss to Houston. The team’s third-quarter lead may have been the last time head coach Bryan Harsin felt comfortable as the head coach of Auburn.
An investigation of inappropriate behavior ended with Harsin staying in place as head coach, but the turmoil continued within the roster and staff.
Defensive coordinator Derek Mason took a large salary cut for the same position at Oklahoma State. The Tigers will also roll out their third offensive coordinator in a year after the firing of Mike Bobo and the resignation of Austin Davis.
As for the roster, quarterback Bo Nix has transferred to Oregon, leaving TJ Finley and Texas A&M transfer Zach Calzada to battle a group of freshmen for the starting position.
Despite the constant turnover in the program, Auburn will leave Jordan-Hare Stadium just four times this season. A draw of San Jose State, Mercer and a depleted Western Kentucky in nonconference play will help the Tigers notch wins.
Tank Bigsby may need to carry the ball 300 times this season, but making a bowl game is not out of the question.
Action Network Total: 6.2
WynnBET Total: 5 (-120 /+100)
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