SEC Football Predictions: Who Will Challenge Alabama?

Kentucky Wildcats quarterback Will Levis (7) lines up a pass during the third quarter against the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks at Kroger Field. Most SEC football predictions have the Wildcats as a team to watch in the 2022 season.
Image Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

The smell of football is in the air, and when it comes to college football, nothing smells better than the SEC. It features the best teams in the league, and that doesn’t figure to change in 2022-23. Texas and Oklahoma are still at least a year away from joining the conference, but they still have more than enough firepower for a compelling season.

Additionally, the drama between Nick Saban and Jimbo Fisher should only make things more fun. Fisher’s Texas A&M squad eclipsed Saban’s Alabama squad in the recruiting rankings, and Saban didn’t take it well. Their showdown on October 8th is going to be appointment television.

While the Aggies may have eclipsed the Crimson Tide off the field, can anyone do it on the field? Let’s dive into my SEC football predictions for the 2022 season.

SEC Football Predictions: Best Bets

The SEC is expected to be a two-horse race next season: Alabama should reign supreme in the SEC West, while Georgia dominated the SEC East last year. In case you forgot, Georgia – not Alabama – is your defending NCAA champion.

Still, Alabama is considered the favorite heading into this year. Last year was technically supposed to be a rebuilding year for Alabama, which started a freshman at quarterback in Bryce Young. Of course, Young ended up winning the Heisman trophy, and he led Bama to their sixth SEC title in the past eight years.

Young will be back for his sophomore season, but he will lean on a new-look group of skill position players. The most intriguing might be running back Jahmyr Gibbs, who dominated last year at Georgia Tech. He averaged 5.2 yards per carry while adding 35 catches, 465 receiving yards, and six total touchdowns. He’s got the talent to excel in the SEC and is poised for a huge season alongside Young.

Alabama does return plenty of talent on defense, including Will Anderson Jr. He racked up 17.5 sacks and 34.5 tackles for a loss, making him a nightmare against the run and the pass.

Overall, Bama has the clear edge in returning talent over Georgia, who lost a host of key contributors to the NFL Draft. They return just 10 starters from last year’s roster, and their defense has been particularly gutted.

Georgia has the ability to reload quickly – they had the No. 3 recruiting class in 2022 and the No. 4 class in 2021 – but this seems to be Bama’s year. They’re my preferred wager to win the conference, which you can grab at -130 on PointsBet.

Where To Bet: Alabama to win the SEC Championship | -130 at PointsBet

I’m also grabbing Bama to win the title, which you can find at +190 on BetMGM. That beats +180 at FanDuel as well as smaller odds at the other major sportsbooks.

Where To Bet: Alabama to win the National Championship | +190 at BetMGM

SEC Football Predictions: Sleepers & Longshots

I find it to believe that anyone can challenge Alabama in the SEC West, so your best betting value for a longshot comes in the SEC East.

There are a few interesting teams to consider, but Kentucky stands out as my preferred choice. The Wildcats won 10 games last year – getting as high as No. 11 in the AP Poll – and they return plenty of talent on both sides of the ball. That includes Heisman-hopeful Will Levis at quarterback, who led the team to a borderline top-10 offense last year. Overall, this is probably the most talented Kentucky squad in recent years.

Kentucky also draws a favorable schedule. They’ll play Mississippi State and Ole Miss from the SEC West (meaning they’ll avoid Alabama) along with Texas A&M, LSU, and Arkansas. It doesn’t get much easier than that.

Finally, the odds on Kentucky are way off to win the conference on PointsBet. You can grab them at +6000, but they’re as low as +4000 at other locations. That’s a ton of potential value. If the Wildcats can actually win the East and make it to the SEC Championship, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to hedge that number.

Where To Bet: Kentucky to win the SEC Championship | +6000 at PointsBet

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