2022 SEC football conference season preview and best bets: For Georgia, first the natty and now the conference

Georgia running back Kenny McIntosh (6) breaks away from Alabama defensive back Jordan Battle (9) during the second half of the Southeastern Conference championship NCAA college football game between Georgia and Alabama in Atlanta, on Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021
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Ricky Dimon

NCAAF · 2 weeks ago

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Since graduating from Davidson (The College That Stephen Curry Built), I have been writing about sports--just about any and all you can think of!--and coaching tennis in Atlanta, Ga. Beyond the four major sports, I am an avid tennis fan and cover the ATP Tour on a daily basis. If I'm not busy writing, you can generally find me on a tennis court or traveling the world wherever a sporting event takes me.

The return of college football is getting closer, so it’s certainly time to start forecasting what could be in store for us this fall. As usual, the SEC is expected to put multiple teams into the College Football Playoff; even another all-SEC showdown in the National Championship would come as no surprise. We have already previewed the PAC-12 and provided our best bets; now we are taking a look at the most dominant conference in the college game.

SEC winner odds

Odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook

Alabama -145
Georgia +155
Texas A&M +1800
Florida +4500
Tennessee +5000
Ole Miss +5000
Kentucky +5500
Arkansas +6000
LSU +7000
Mississippi State +12000
South Carolina +15000
Auburn +15000
Missouri +30000
Vanderbilt +100000

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: there’s Alabama and Georgia, and then there’s everyone else. Yes, it’s expected to be the same old story in the SEC. The Crimson Tide finally got taken down by the Dawgs for the National Championship last season (albeit after ‘Bama captured another SEC crown), but Nick Saban’s crew is the odds-on favorite to win the SEC in 2022.

Get our Heisman Trophy best bets for the upcoming season

SEC season preview

The SEC is not as deep as it has been in years past, but it should remain the “best” conference in college football thanks to its top-heaviness with Alabama and Georgia. Can Texas A&M step up and challenge Alabama in the West like LSU used to do? Are Florida and Tennessee serious threats to Georgia in the East? Those are questions that will be answered in due time.

With a game or two here and there as an exception, no team has done less with more than Texas A&M since Jimbo Fisher took over as head coach. The Aggies have been wildly talented for multiple years and this coming season is no exception. Zach Calzada is out at quarterback (transferred to Auburn), so Max Johnson (transferred from LSU) is among the candidates to take over. If the Aggies find the right answer at that position, they will have a chance.

Florida has no such questions at quarterback. Anthony Richardson, who is the essence of a dual threat, showed plenty of promise last season and should only improve in 2022. The key to the Gators’ potential success will be the trenches on each side of the ball. A more experienced Tennessee squad is likely ahead of Florida on the SEC East totem pole right now and Kentucky is also in the discussion. The Wildcats are downright nasty on defense thanks to an awesome group of linebackers and QB Will Levis is more than capable of helping the offense carry its weight.

Read our Pac-12 conference preview, which includes a couple of best bets

SEC winner best bet: Georgia Bulldogs +155

When Alabama is a considerable favorite over the entire field and you can grab Georgia well into plus money, I will happily roll with the Dawgs. Texas A&M is widely considered to be the third-most talented team in the SEC and the Aggies are rivals with Alabama in the SEC West. That should leave the SEC East spoils to Georgia, which has been the case in four of the past five seasons. That’s not to say it will be a cakewalk against the likes of Tennessee (see below) and Florida, but UGA is still the cream of the crop on paper.

Despite a mass exodus of defensive stars to the NFL, the Bulldogs return a lot on offense and their defense will reload with younger guys and a bevy of new five-star recruits. QB Stetson Bennett and TE Brock Bowers are back to put up a ton of points on the opposition.

Read our College Football National Championship preview, including a +8000 longshot

SEC best longshot bet to consider: Tennessee Volunteers +5000

As the odds suggest, it’s almost impossible to see anyone other than Alabama or Georgia lifting the trophy. You would be wise to invest your bankroll elsewhere, but if you are inclined to sprinkle some on a longshot in the SEC then Tennessee may be the way to go. Getting to the SEC Championship Game is obviously the first step toward a title and the easiest – or easier – path to doing so is throughout the SEC East. Other than Georgia, that division is lackluster. “Other than Georgia” is a significant caveat because it won’t be easy for Tennessee to find a way to finish ahead of UGA, but it’s not out of the question.

Head coach Josh Heupel has this program going in the right direction and quarterback Hendon Hooker threw 31 touchdowns to just 3 interceptions last season.

We have picks in our BIG 12 conference preview — can the Bears win again?

At Pickswise we offer free expert College Football Picks and College Football Predictions for all games in the Power Five conferences and the top 25 teams outside of Power five, including our College Football Parlay picks each week.

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