By Dan Kilbridge | | 4 mins
SEC Basketball 2021 Conference Odds & Betting Tips
Kentucky remains the top draw for SEC hoops, but it is looking up on the conference championship betting board to start the season. Tennessee checks in as the favorite with +190 odds, just a hair ahead of the Wildcats at +200. The Vols were co-champions with Auburn in 2018 and looking to reclaim the throne. As for Auburn, the Tigers are serving a self-imposed one-year postseason ban due to rules violations.
That leaves the Vols and Wildcats as the clear-cut top two in the SEC, but we’ve already seen plenty of surprises early in the 2020-21 season. Here’s how fans of college basketball betting should approach the SEC this season.
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The Vols return four of five starters from a team that finished 9-9 in conference play last season. Rick Barnes & Co. will definitely look better this year behind senior forward John Fulkerson, one of the best bigs in the conference.
Tennessee also added key freshmen in guards Jaden Springer and Keon Johnson, both of whom have skills and size at 6-foot-4 and 6-foot-5, respectively. They’ll help pace a Vols team that has already had numerous games called off due to COVID-19 and beat Colorado, 56-47 in its first and only game of the season so far.
The Wildcats are still the near-favorites at +200 odds despite a rocky start to the season. Kentucky trounced Morehead State to open the year but then lost three straight to Richmond, Kansas and Georgia Tech.
This is a typical John Calipari team featuring the No. 1 incoming recruiting class in the nation, led by 6-foot-7 guard Brandon Boston Jr. He and fellow 6-foot-7 freshmen guard Terrence Clarke are a matchup nightmare, and we’ve seen plenty of young Kentucky teams struggle in November and December before gelling in time for an SEC title push and Final Four appearance.
The Tigers bring in another loaded recruiting class and have plenty of offense, with three-double digit scorers returning from last season. Freshman guard Cameron Thomas has been the main guy so far with 22.3 points per night, and the Bayou Bengals have been solid on the defensive end as well. If they can keep it up on that end of the floor, they’ll make things really difficult on SEC opponents all season long and perhaps some noise during March Madness.
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The Gators haven’t won a conference title since they took three of four from 2011-2014. That could change in 2020 thanks to junior forward Keyontae Johnson, an SEC Player of the Year candidate. He’s been filling it up with 19.7 points and six rebounds through early December.
Florida returns most of its core roster from last season, when the Gators finished tied for fourth at 11-7 in the SEC. They don’t have the star freshmen like Kentucky or the recent success of Auburn and Tennessee, but this is a solid roster with veterans and enough key pieces to make a run.
Other Teams to Consider
Arkansas: The Razorbacks looked like serious title contenders before Isaiah Joe decided to declare for the 2020 NBA Draft at the 11th hour. Now they’ve lost almost every key contributor from a year ago and need to rebuild with a talented freshman class under Coach Eric Musselman.
Alabama: The Tide haven’t won an SEC hoops title since 2002 and went 8-10 last season. But there’s optimism with most of that core coming back and Villanova transfer Jahvon Quinerly becoming eligible this season. This team should execute well on both ends and surprise a few teams throughout the year.