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Spring practice has wrapped up for some SEC football teams, while others are putting the final touches on their work. Even though we are still four months away from the start of fall camp, Vegas has already released their future win projections for the SEC East. Georgia, Tennessee and Kentucky lead the way in these early betting odds.
This could be a wild season for the division, so some of these totals are worth placing some money on, especially if you think your team will beat the early odds. These futures were set by WynnBet.
Georgia (O/U 11.5 projected wins)
The Bulldogs are looking for another national championship in 2022 behind quarterback Stetson Bennett. Georgia lost a good amount of talent on the offensive side of the ball, including playmakers Georgia Pickens, James Cook, Jermaine Burton, Zamir White and Justin Shaffer. TE Brock Bowers, though, is returning and will most definitely help the Dawgs in 2022, along with WR’s Ladd McConkey and Adonai Mitchell.
Will their defense play up to the standards set last season? It’s very tough to tell at the moment. Georgia replaced DC Dan Lanning with co-DCs Will Muschamp and Glenn Schumann, but the Bulldogs return a nice amount of talent. The number of projected wins is interesting, so bet away.
Tennessee (O/U 8.5 projected wins)
The Josh Heupel era in Knoxville got off to a nice start in 2021. Under QB Hendon Hooker, the Vols offense broke multiple school records last season, and I don’t expect much to change in 2022.
The return of Hooker and WR Cedric Tillman gives Tennessee a foundation. The offensive line and the RB group should also improve this season if they stay healthy. Heupel has a weapons on offense that could play a significant role next season, including Jalin Hyatt and Jaylen Wright, along with a potential transfer WR.
My biggest concern is again the defense. The linebackers need to take the next step, but a good chunk of the secondary missed spring practice due to injury. If DL coach Rodney Garner can get production from his group, especially Tyler Baron and Byron Young, then they could take the next step.
Looking at the projected win total, I don’t disagree with what Vegas is thinking right now. This feels like an 8-win team or better, though the defense is still questionable. But throw some money on this future. It could work out.
Kentucky (O/U 8 projected wins)
The return of Will Levis and Chris Rodriguez will go a long way for this group, as will new OC Rich Scangarello. But they need to replace Wan’Dale Robinson, who was such a problem for defenses in 2021. I believe this group can build off of last season, but they need the defense to continue to make strides.
In 2021, the Cats lost to Mississippi State and Tennessee and still managed 10 wins. So if they can avoid stubbing their toe in winnable games next season, then they should exceed this win total. I like the Wildcats and expect them to win more than 8 games in 2022.
Florida (O/U 7 projected wins)
The program went through a complete overhaul this offseason, beginning with the hiring of Billy Napier. The Gators program was in pretty bad shape, so it could take a little time to rebuild. The Gators have talent, but whether they have enough is the question.
QB Anthony Richardson emerged to give a solid performance on an offense that otherwise sputtered in 2021. The defense was also bad in 2021, so they almost have nowhere else to go but up in 2022. It will take some time, but Florida should get back into the mix at some point.
They have playmakers on both sides of the ball, but I am very curious to see whether they have enough to eke out seven wins. Maybe don’t throw your whole bank account on this future.
South Carolina (O/U 6 projected wins)
The first year under Shane Beamer brought South Carolina fans some fun moments, but also proved that they have a ways to go. The quarterback situation was rough with so many different guys having to play. Now with Spencer Rattler and the return of Luke Doty, they have stability at the position. Austin Stogner, a TE transfer from Oklahoma, will also help on offense, along with running back Juju McDowell, as Kevin Harris and ZaQuandre White moved on to the NFL. I am excited to see what Josh Vann can do this season at wide receiver, after 43 receptions in 2021.
This team has playmakers on the offensive side, but we need to see more out of the defense. I think the Gamecocks are capable of winning six games. I’ll even go one step further and say they beat the projected total and grab seven.
Missouri (O/U 5 projected wins)
The Eli Drinkwitz experience at Missouri could’ve gone pretty badly last year if it weren’t for running back Tyler Badie. Tigers quarterback Connor Bazelak struggled and has since moved on to Indiana. Which means there will be a battle for the position between Tyler Macon, Brady Cook and incoming freshman Sam Horn. This offense will have to replace a lot of yards now that Badie has gone pro. The running backs and the offensive line will have to respond, but I think they probably will.
The defense is a whole different story. They’ve got work to do, but hopefully for Missouri fans, they can’t get any worse than last season. Five wins seems about right at the moment, but we’ll see what happens with the quarterback position. Maybe they can spring six wins?
Vanderbilt (O/U 2 projected wins)
Second-year head coach Clark Lea has his hands full again in Nashville. Vanderbilt struggled out of the gates last season with ETSU and never recovered. I know they have work to do along the offensive and defensive line, but consistently moving the ball down the field should be a priority.The Dores will have Mike Wright and Ken Seals returning at QB, while also adding three newcomers at the position. I believe they do enough to win three games in 2022. I mean, they should be able to beat Elon, NIU and Hawaii, you would think.
Stay tuned for more coverage of the SEC as spring practice wraps up for all teams around the conference.