2019 SEC win total picks, predictions: Alabama, Georgia with lofty expectations; LSU, Florida not far behind
The Crimson Tide and Bulldogs are picked to be the class of the SEC
Alabama ran the table during the regular season in 2018, but fell short of winning the national championship in Santa Clara, California, against old foe Clemson. With that said, 12 wins in the regular season hit the over of 11.5 that oddsmakers set prior to last season. Can the Crimson Tide repeat the feat with the number in a similar position in 2019?
Georgia is in a same boat as Alabama in terms of lofty expectations, and has proven over the last two seasons that it's fully capable of cruising to double-digit win seasons.
Are those the best two bets in the SEC? Where else should you invest your money? Fan Duel released its over/under win totals this week, so let's break them down and give some early leans.
For those uninitiated on "prices," minus-odds of -120 mean you'd have to wager $120 to win $100, while plus-odds (+120) means wagering $100 would win you $120. An "EVEN" price would result in a $100 payout for a $100 wager.
|11 wins: The Crimson Tide have run the table in the regular season four times under coach Nick Saban (2008, 2009, 2016, 2018), and will have to do it again in order for the over to hit. One loss earning a push is at least a little bit of insurance compared to the 11.5 number the Tide carried last season. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and a star-studded group of skill position weapons will force opponents to go score for score with them, and nobody on the schedule has that kind of ability. An unblemished regular season is much more likely than a 10-2 campaign. Over-130 , Under +110|
|6 wins: Coach Chad Morris' crew struggled to a 2-10 campaign in 2018, and a four-win improvement in Year 2 would be nothing short of remarkable. It isn't going to happen. Sure, quarterbacks Ben Hicks and Nick Starkel fit the system very well, which should translate to a more "Morris-like" up-tempo offense. Where are the wins going to come from? Portland State and San Jose State should be wins, but Colorado State is back after topping the Hogs last season. What's more, they go to upstart Kentucky in a cross-division matchup, have Alabama, LSU and Ole Miss on the road and still have to play the rest of the SEC West. Over +132 , Under -156|
|8 wins: The Tigers get Alabama and Georgia at home, but should be double-digit underdogs in both matchups. Toss in the opener vs. a solid Oregon team and road trips to Texas A&M, Florida and LSU. Plus, they have a new quarterback and an offensive line that was atrocious last season. It's hard to concoct a way for Gus Malzahn's crew to get to nine wins. Eight might be doable, but they're much closer to seven than they are to nine. Over +130 , Under -156|
|9 wins: This one's really tough because of Florida's rebuilt offensive line (four new starters) and a nonconference schedule that features Miami and Florida State. Both of those in-state rivals are relatively down, but they still have talented rosters that are capable of getting right in a hurry. When you factor in tough defensive fronts in Georgia, Auburn and LSU on the schedule, it's hard to say with certainty that the Gators will hit the over. Nine is probably a solid number, but eight is more likely than 10. -- Over +102 , Under -120|
|11 wins: There are landmines on this schedule, including home games against Notre Dame and Texas A&M, a road trip to Auburn and the neutral site game vs. Florida. With that said, the Bulldogs have the best offensive line in the country, a deep and talented running back corps, a veteran star under center in Jake Fromm and have recruited extremely well on defense. Running the table is far more likely than dropping two games. -- Over +130, Under -154|
|6 wins: I'm 100 percent on board with a Kentucky regression from 10 wins to a more middle-of-the-pack win total. With that said, Toledo, Eastern Michigan, Louisville and UT-Martin are likely wins, as is Vanderbilt, and the Wildcats draw Arkansas as their rotating opponent out of the west. An eight-win season should be the goal and expectation for coach Mark Stoops' crew. -- Over -108 , Under -108|
|9 wins: LSU's coaching staff has been talking up this season as the one that it finally ... after promising many times ... will open things up offensively. I'm not sure Joe Burrow can be the guy under center to transform the offense into a force, though. Alabama is a near-certain loss at this point; the road trip to Texas will be a big challenge; the Florida game is always a tough task; Texas A&M should be better in Year 2 with Jimbo Fisher and Auburn's defensive front is nasty. A nine-win season seems likely, but I'll lean more toward the under if I'm forced to make a bet on the Tigers. -- Over -108, Under -108|
|8.5 wins: The calling card of the Bulldogs last year was one of the best defenses in the country. But lineman Jeffery Simmons, edge threat Montez Sweat and defensive back Johnathan Abram -- the best three players on that side of the ball -- are all gone. A defensive regression should be expected and it will be on the offense pick up the slack. Keytaon Thompson and Tommy Stevens will battle for the starting quarterback job, but I'm not sure either can orchestrate the kind of improvement Mississippi State needs to reach the nine-win plateau. -- Over -164 , Under +140|
|6.5 wins: Kelly Bryant takes over for NFL Draft pick Drew Lock in hopes that coordinator Derek Dooley can properly prepare him for the NFL. Add in a veteran wide receiving corps, a stud tight end in Albert Okwuegbunam and running back Larry Roundtree, and you'll see plenty of weapons at his disposal. The road trip to Georgia and home games vs. Florida and West Virginia will be tough. But even with losses, dropping below 6.5 wins would require the Tigers to lose virtually all of their toss-ups. -- Over -184 , Under +154|
|5 wins: I think quarterback Matt Corral can be a star, but becoming one as a redshirt freshman with two stud receivers gone seems like a bit of a stretch. He can rely on running back Scottie Phillips a bit, but defenses will key on him as the Rebels' offense evolves. The season-opener at Memphis and home game vs. California are tricky, and residing in the SEC West is no cakewalk. However, five wins is probably the right number. But six wins is more likely than four considering Arkansas and Vanderbilt are also on the docket. -- Over -114 , Under -102|
|6 wins: I'll side with the Gamecocks in nonconference games vs. North Carolina, Charleston Southern and Appalachian State. That'll get them halfway to the total. With a loaded offensive unit and the best defensive front coach Will Muschamp has had in Columbia, getting three more wins against an SEC East schedule should be doable. Beyond that, it's hard to say. They play Alabama and Texas A&M out of the SEC West, which means they better win all of their SEC East toss-ups in order for the over to hit. The Gamecocks are closer to a five-win team than a seven-win team. -- Over -130 , Under +112|
|6.5 wins: I'm very high on quarterback Jarrett Guarantano, a corps of power forwards playing wide receiver led by Jauan Jennings and Marquez Callaway, and the one-two punch of Ty Chandler and Tim Jordan at running back. Yes, the offensive line is a work-in-progress, but first-year coordinator Jim Chaney is one of the best in the business. Head coach Jeremy Pruitt is a defensive mastermind and will find a way to keep the Vols in virtually every game. The UAB game will be tricky, but nonconference tilts vs. Georgia State, BYU and Chattanooga are all likely wins. Throw in Vanderbilt and a couple of toss ups, and the Vols should take another step forward. -- Over -184 , Under +154|
|7.5 wins: The Aggies are the biggest threat to Alabama in the SEC West. They should be much more consistent in Year 2 under Jimbo Fisher and have a quarterback in Kellen Mond who's one of the more underrated players in the country. With all that said, they play three of the top four teams in the country in 2019 (Clemson, Alabama and Georgia). With those likely losses, it doesn't leave a ton of wiggle room during the rest of the season. I'm not sold on either LSU or Auburn's offense, so give me the Aggies to take both of those games and hit the over. -- Over -114 , Under -102|
|5 wins: Betting on Vanderbilt often times requires a look at their nonconference schedule, and a road trip to Purdue could be the one that makes or breaks this bet. Quarterback Riley Neal has plenty of experience at Ball State, but working behind an offensive line that has three new starters going up against SEC defensive fronts is no easy task. Luckily, star running back Ke'Shawn Vaughn is back to shoulder the load. With permanent rival Ole Miss on the schedule in addition to the SEC East slate, finding two more wins should be in the cards. I'll take the over knowing that Vaughn will likely take over a few games. Over -136, Under +116|
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