SEC Picks, Predictions and Odds
WagerTalk handicapper Tony Mejia offers his thoughts on the SEC landscape this season from a variety of handicapping angles. The SEC West has won 11 of the last 12 SEC Championship games, with many of those teams advancing deep into the College Football Playoff. Alabama has captured five of the last seven division crowns. Will that run continue in 2021 with new quarterback Bryce Young at the helm?
Stay on top of the latest College Football updates direct from Las Vegas!
Team to Watch
Alabama lost a ton of talent to the NFL. Six of its 10 draft picks went in the first round. The Crimson Tide scored at least 41 points in all but two of their 13 wins last week and often pulled back late. Only Florida came within single-digits of ‘Bama, doing so in the SEC Championship. QB Mac Jones completed over 77 percent of his passes. It’s highly unlikely that the Crimson Tide will be as explosive or dominant as they were in 2020 but that doesn’t mean they can’t win it all again. Alabama opens the season ranked No. 1 in both polls and should be formidable on defense, running its trademark 3-4. Offensively, RB Brian Robinson and WR are experienced playmakers but not those guys aren’t Najee Harris, DeVonta Smith or Jaylen Waddle. QB Bryce Young put his talent on display in mop-up duty last season and will probably have a million dollars in endorsements lined up before his first snap of the season. He just better be ready for Miami in Atlanta in week 1 and the rematch with the Gators on Sept. 18 in Gainesville. There are expectations to live up to – one two-loss season over the past five years. If the Tide can avoid dropping multiple games in a season where they’ll be tested, they’ll be playing for another title.
Team to Fade
Jeremy Pruitt enjoyed one winning season in three years and Butch Jones failed at Tennessee before him. The Volunteers will now turn to Josh Heupel, who had success at UCF but inherits a mess in Knoxville where there are still expectations of winning immediately and reaching a bowl game despite coming off a 3-7 season. The Vols have a six-win expectation on their heads this season. I spy four games they should definitely win and three swing games. With Michigan transfer Joe Milton and Virginia Tech import Hendon Hooker dueling to be Heupel’s first quarterback, there are likely to be continuity issues. Both top running backs, Ty Chandler and Eric Gray, transferred. WR Josh Palmer is in the NFL now. New defensive coordinator Tim Banks has to learn the league after spending years at Illinois and Penn State. This looks like a rebuild from scratch for Tennessee and at best, six wins looks like a ceiling.
Sleeper to Watch
Ole Miss returns QB Matt Corral, who produced over 3,800 yards of total offense as a dual threat in Lane Kiffin and Jeff Lebby’s spread attack. The Rebels scored 42 or more points in half of their games last season, which included scoring 48 against both Alabama and LSU. With top back Jerrion Ealy also back and set to see time as a slot receiver, look for Ole Miss to continue piling up points as Kiffin continues to prove he’s one of the college game’s most prolific offensive minds. Where the Rebs must make up ground is on the defensive end, but a second season working with nine starters back under D.J. Durkin should produce improvement. A trip to Alabama will give Kiffin a chance to terrorize Nick Saban with at least another shootout and the rest of the schedule looks manageable given that Texas A&M and LSU have to come through Oxford. Another team to keep an eye on in the SEC this season is Jimbo Fisher’s Texas A&M squad.
Game of the Year
While Alabama’s games against Florida, A&M, Ole Miss or LSU could all apply here, the East Division should again come down to the Gators squaring off with Georgia in Jacksonville on Oct. 30. The ‘Dawgs are favored due to Florida losing QB Kyle Trask, TE Kyle Pitts and WR Kadarius Toney, but Dan Mullen’s team should reload if the defense improves and dual-threat QB Emory Jones produces. Georgia will have a blockbuster matchup to Clemson to start the season and could be a Top-3 team if it produces a win, so this showdown with rival Florida could be its final true obstacle prior to reaching the SEC Championship game undefeated. As far as the Gators are concerned, defeating the ‘Dawgs would give them a vital tiebreaker in their own pursuit of a title regardless of what happens against Alabama on Sept. 18.
|SEC Championship Odds from Caesars||As of August 19|
|Alabama Crimson Tide||-140|
|Texas A&M Aggies||+900|
|Ole Miss Rebels||+2500|
|Mississippi State Bulldogs||+10000|
|South Carolina Gamecocks||+15000|
|SEC Regular Season Win Totals||As of August 19|
|Alabama Crimson Tide||11.5 (o EV / u -120)|
|Georgia Bulldogs||10.5 (o -130 / u +110)|
|Texas A&M Aggies||9.5 (o +110 / u -130)|
|LSU Tigers||8.5 (o EV / u -120)|
|Florida Gators||9 (o +105 / u -125)|
|Auburn Tigers||7 (o +125 / u -145)|
|Ole Miss Rebels||7.5 (o -135 / u +115)|
|Missouri Tigers||7 (o -130 / u +110)|
|Kentucky Wildcats||7 (o -150 / u +130)|
|Mississippi State Bulldogs||6 (o -115 / u -105)|
|Tennessee Volunteers||6 (o +110 / u -130)|
|South Carolina Gamecocks||3.5 (o -165 / u +145)|
|Arkansas Razorbacks||5.5 (o -105 / u -115)|
|Vanderbilt Commodores||3 (o -140 / u +120)|
Meet the Capper: Tony Mejia
A leading handicapper in the industry, Tony Mejia has handicapped most major sports and events and got his start by opening his career as a writer at SportsLine.com, which was then bought by CBS. Mejia handicapped under a pseudonym due to compliance issues but also created Mejia’s Selections, a popular feature projecting scores for most major sports. He landed the national NBA beat for CBS SportsLine from 2005-09, so Mejia took a break from handicapping to handle stories and analysis with more of an emphasis on writing. He moved on to Pro Basketball News as a writer/publisher before taking on more of a full-time role at VegasInsider, providing written analysis and winning multiple titles over the course of the season in NFL, NBA, college football, college basketball, and soccer. He utilizes a combination of making his own lines to open the week, seeking discrepancies, tracking weather, injuries, and line movements to try and secure every advantage before getting in on a ticket. He believes watching is the key to it all, so odds are he’s watching a sport if it’s on regardless of whether it’s the Super Bowl or a mid-week college hoops matchup between Quinnipiac and Iona. Mejia was born in Queens, New York, and roots only for the Yankees, Colombia’s soccer team, and the UCF Knights since he attended the University of Central Florida in Orlando. They won a national championship once, whether you believe it or not. Ride Mejia to make some dinero because he’s always hustling to seek out an edge.
WagerTalk’s Live Odds Screen
Since the conclusion of last season’s National Championship game, WagerTalk has continued to improve and enhance our Live Odds screen. Bettors can view the up-to-the-minute odds from a variety of offshore and Vegas-based sports books. Color-coded alerts will let you know when and how a line has moved. Click on the individual cells to view a line history at each sports book. Interested in knowing what a point spread was on a previous game? Use the “archive” feature to find a previous matchup. View real-time odds on nearly every point spread market: Full games, first halves, first quarters, team totals and moneylines.
College Football Offseason Previews
In this week’s edition of The Best Damn College Football Show, Drew Martin and Rob Veno offer an early look toward the SEC East Division. Rob and Drew take a look at the new coaches and quarterback transfers that are coming into the SEC East this season. Who is a mid-pack team that might surprise some people and make a move up this year, and who is a team to fade that might struggle this year?
Free sports picks allow you to monitor a service to see how they perform before signing up for a long term package. The reason we created our site was to provide free predictions to our visitors so they could find a handicapper that is right for them.
Looking for more free sports picks and sports betting tips?
- Latest Betting Odds and Public Action: Vegas lines updated in real time, including who the public is betting on.
- Last Minute Handicapping Advice: Check out our extensive library of handicapping tips and advice from professional Vegas handicappers (we also recommend taking the time to look over our sports betting tips video library)
- Want an expert opinion? Check out the latest Free Sports Picks and Best Bets from our team of expert sports handicappers.
Make sure to bookmark all the above!