SEC Football Betting Preview: Vegas Ranks Bama, LSU, Georgia As Top 3

The SEC has pretty much been the best conference in football over the past decade, and will be going for its seventh straight BCS national championship in 2012-13.

And to further the conference’s dominance, they have won eight of the 14 games in the history of the BCS, while having more teams appear in the National Championship game than any other conference with nine.

So, the real question isn’t whether the SEC will likely send another contender to the BCS National Championship Game in 2012-13, but who that team will be.

The SEC West Champion has claimed the SEC Championship for the past three seasons, but this year the winner could hail from the East.

So to help you prepare to place your wagers on this season’s conference winner, here is our short list of teams to win the SEC crown in 2012-13.

Alabama 11-5 Odds To Win SEC Championship
One of the two co-favorites for this year’s conference. Although many said, they would not acknowledge the 2011 BCS National Champions. Those people quickly changed their tune when they saw how soundly the Crimson Tide thumped the LSU Tigers. And while Bama lost quite a bit of talent to the NFL Draft, Nick Saban’s recruiting power should help fill those gaps.

But questions remain. How will the Tide bounce back from losing star running back, Trent Richardson? Will does Alabama hold up through a grueling SEC schedule that includes road games against Arkansas, Missouri, and of course, LSU, as well as one non-conference date against a very good Michigan team? Nevertheless, if Eddie Lacy has the talent to become the next 1,000 yard rusher for the Tide, this team could once again be the best team in the nation. (Also see: Over-Under Win TotalsBCS Champion Odds)

LSU 11-5 Odds To Win SEC Championship
The other co-favorite to win the SEC are the Tigers, who after an impressive undefeated 2011 regular season, collapsed in the title game, and will no doubt be looking for revenge on November 3 against Alabama in a backyard rematch. The Tigers could stumble along the way though, playing a tough schedule that includes road games against Florida, Auburn, Texas A&M, and Arkansas.

All that will likely challenge LSU’s NFL draft-depleted defense, while making their shot at redemption, no walk in the park. The Tigers also have to contend with the liability of first year starting quarterback in Zach Mettenberger. (Also see: Over-Under Win TotalsBCS Champion Odds)

Georgia 11-2 Odds To Win SEC Championship
The defending SEC East Champions return 15 starters and should once again be a factor to play in Atlanta for the SEC title in 2012. They do however, have some things going against them this season. First, the Bulldogs had to once again dismiss their leading rusher, and doubts still remain on Heisman candidate Aaron Murray’s ability to put up the kind of numbers that can lead this team.

Looking at the schedule though does lend itself on the side of the Bulldogs. They have two, maybe three real chances to grab wins on the road against Missouri, South Carolina, and Auburn, unless things just go horribly wrong. If they can beat the Gamecocks, Georgia can indeed make a return trip to the SEC Championship game. (Also see: Over-Under Win TotalsBCS Champion Odds)

South Carolina 10-1 Odds To Win SEC Championship
Steve Spurrier turned the Gamecocks into a legitimate contender for the SEC in 2012, and maybe even a national title contender. With the return of 18 starters from a squad that finished 11-2 which included an inspiring Capital One Bowl win over Nebraska. This may likely be the best team the Ol’ Ball Coach has fielded since he took over a South Carolina football program that had settled into mediocrity. All of the Gamecocks offensive power however, hinges on the return of running back Marcus Lattimore who is expected to be 100 percent recovered from his knee injury. If Lattimore is even 75 percent, it could be just enough to ease the pressure on quarterback Connor Shaw, who will is still searching for his breakout season.

While South Carolina does have one most talented defensive fronts in college football. A rough schedule that includes a five game stretch versus Georgia, at LSU, at Florida, Arkansas, and at Clemson, will be no easy task. Nevertheless, if any coach can navigate his way through that slate, Spurrier is the man for the job. (Also see: Over-Under Win TotalsBCS Champion Odds)

Odds To Win SEC Championship 2012-13:

Vegas Favors Michigan To Win BIG 10 With Wisconsin Close Behind

The Big Ten has gone through its fair share of controversies over the last couple of seasons. Most notably Pen State’s humiliation, which has rendered the Nittany Lions unable to compete for anything for basically the next decade. Added to that list is Ohio State University, which will serve it one-year ban from post-season play in 2012.

So, when you knock those two out of the running, then factor in teams such as Purdue, Indiana, and Minnesota. It makes this year’s choice for team vying for the Big 10 title a little easier, but still interesting.

At best, there are six teams with a realistic shot to even get to the conference championship game, much less take home the BCS berth that comes with the win.

So to help you weed through this season’s conference calamity, here is the short list of teams and their odds to win the 2012 Big 10 Championship.

Michigan 7-4 Odds To Win BIG 10 Championship
The Wolverines changed a lot of things up after the 2010 season. A head coaching change and an offense change that was meant to mitigate the number of hits quarterback Denard Robinson (heisman odds) took during that 2010 season. That amount of hits is just unsustainable for a guy of his size. So taking on a more pro style offense seemed to make an impact. Denard’s ability to run the rock will still be utilized, but for Michigan to have any real success, his arm will have to be able to lead the charge.

As with most high-powered offensive teams though, they sometimes lack what it takes on the defensive side. Brady Hoke and his defensive coordinator Greg Mattison have turned that trend around. While there are other good teams in this conference, you would have to think that it would be a sizable upset if anyone else were able to bring down “House”. (Also see: Over-Under Win TotalsBCS Champion Odds)

Wisconsin 2-1 Odds To Win BIG 10 Championship
The Badgers are a virtual lock to at least appear in the conference title game this season. With the sanctions against Penn State and Ohio State, there is very little competition to contend with. That being said, it’s not like they are without talent on the roster. Montee Ball is going to be one of the better running backs in all of college football this season, after toying with the thought of entering the NFL a year ago. While they did lose their quarterback, this team has always been about the ground game. Danny O’Brien has the inside track for the job after transferring from Maryland, but he has not always been the most efficient man under center. If he can right the ship though, this team will be just as explosive as a year ago.

They do however have a defense that is almost the exact same as last year. This is a bad thing for the rest of the Big 10. They return 19 of the 23 players that most contributed on that side of the ball. (Also see: Over-Under Win TotalsBCS Champion Odds)

Nebraska 7-2 Odds To Win BIG 10 Championship
The Cornhuskers’ offense will always be plenty explosive with Taylor Martinez at the pivot spot. His ability to run and throw is rivaled by very few players around the country. His ability to handle the play action is second to none in today’s game. If the ‘Huskers don’t want to overuse him by Week 3 though, they are going to have to find someone out of the backfield to help lighten the load. That is not the biggest area of concern though. That would be the defensive unit. Since losing a few players to the NFL draft a couple of years ago, the defense just has not recovered. They are going to have to figure out a way to make some things happen this year if they expect to compete with the big boys in 2012. (Also see: Over-Under Win TotalsBCS Champion Odds)

Illinois 20-1 Odds To Win BIG 10 Championship
The Fighting Illini would have no shot of being on this list in a normal year. Lucky for them this is anything but a normal year in the Big 10. No Penn State and no Ohio State means this team has an outside shot of getting to the title game with a few lucky breaks. Of the eligible teams, it is hard to debate that they are number two on their side behind Wisconsin. Illinois hangs its hat on its defense, and if it is as good as it was a year ago, this team has a shot to surprise the BIG 10 in 2012. (Also see: Over-Under Win TotalsBCS Champion Odds)

2012 College Football Odds: Oklahoma Favored To Win BIG 12, WVU Sleeper At 6-1 Odds?

The Big 12 may not have a conference championship game this season, but that won’t make the title race any less interesting, and the intrigue all begins when you look at the additions to the conference.

Sure, the conference has lost Missouri and Texas A&M, but the teams they added aren’t exactly going to chopped liver. West Virginia and TCU are more than adequate replacements.

In fact, they each won at least a share of their conference titles a year ago, making the Big 12 the only conference with three teams defending a conference championship in 2012. This should make for an exciting battle atop the new Big 12, as well as an interesting college football betting option.

Oklahoma 1-1 Odds To Win BIG 12 Championship
While the league may have had some turnover in the off-season, odd makers are obviously still projecting it to go as it usually does with the Sooners at the top. Who could blame them when Landry Jones is set to take the snaps yet again. However, many are still wondering what could have changed from last season to this season after OU was projected by many to win it all, and came up well short.

Well, for starters, healthy key players, natural progression, and the welcoming back of defensive coordinator, Mike Stoops. He was on the sidelines when the Sooners won the title back in 2000, and now he’s back. Do not overlook this hire when it comes to the always-vaunted Oklahoma defensive unit.

Texas 4-1 Odds To Win BIG 12 Championship
As always, the Longhorns are predicted to do well in most preseason polls. And 2012 is no different. Whether they actually perform on the field is another story. Nevertheless, the talent is always puts them in a position to succeed. They have both quarterbacks back from a year ago in Case McCoy and David Ash. If they want any form of consistency from the position though, they are going to have to finally make a choice. Pick one guy, and stick with him. The ‘Horns also have nine total starters on the offensive side of the ball returning. Most notably is running back, Malcolm Brown.

They also have the advantage of returning seven starters on the defensive side of the ball. This group is headlined by the trio of Jackson Jeffcoat (LB), Alex Okafor (DL), and Carrington Byndom (DB). All of whom were All-Conference performers a year ago, and will be expected to play at a similar level in the coming season.

TCU 11-2 Odds To Win BIG 12 Championship
One of the newcomers looks poised to make some noise in their inaugural Big 12 season. Not many Mountain West teams could have lost a quarterback the caliber or Andy Dalton and replaced him without losing a beat. That is what the Horned Frogs did a year ago with Casey Pachall. He even broke a few records in his first year under center to boot. Passing yards, passing completions, and completion percentage are the noteworthy ones. Needless to say, he’s back, and looking to build on that success. Alongside Pachall are three of his four main targets from a year ago. Including his favorite Josh Boyce.

The Horned Frogs also return three of their top four rushing leaders from a year ago, making the offense look primed for another outstanding year. While the defense looks inexperienced on paper, returning only five starters, most every new starter saw significant playing time a year ago on the 11-2 squad. Do not count this team out.

West Virginia 6-1 Odds To Win BIG 12 Championship
While West Virginia happens to lie fourth in most of the preseason predictions, the rank as my sleeper team here, as I expect then to win the league outright in their first season as a member. The reason. Geno Smith. Single-handedly, he is the man that will decide almost everything for this Mountaineer team.

While the defense will have to be better than a year ago to propel them in the long run, Smith is one of those rare talents that can overcome slight defensive deficiencies. They get Oklahoma at home, so that’s a break, but if they can pass the major test — a road game against the Longhorns–there is no doubt that this could turn into the team to beat.

Odds To Win BIG 12 Championship: