We’ve previewed two other conferences, the Big Ten and ACC. Now, we move onto the SEC where there are big-name schools, some great teams, and solid coaches. This should be a more competitive tournament than I think the Big Ten will be.
Let me start this right off by saying I really like the Alabama team. I am not an Alabama fan by any means, but I think they are an underrated basketball team. I just hope they can pull it together and be consistent enough for the tournament to make a run. The problem here is that they need to beat (if all goes chalk) Kentucky, Tennessee, and Auburn. That’s a rough run to get the championship. I do think they have the capability to do it, but it is also highly unlikely. Even at +1600, I’m still sitting on the fence of pulling the trigger.
Now, as far as the other schools. Kentucky is the favorite. Is it because of Coach Cal? Is it because of the school’s name and public betting? I’m not sure, but at only +200, I think they have too hard of a path to victory so I’m not getting my money’s worth here. They could arguably be a pick’em against Tennessee or Auburn so really no need to bet them if you think they win.
Tennessee has had a great season so far and closed it out with a four-game win streak. They easily beat Kentucky at home and beat Auburn at home so why shouldn’t we think they have a chance here? Well, probably because their losses come as a road team or on a neutral site. They lost at Kentucky (by almost 30!) and at Alabama, and then in two of their three neutral site games, they lost. Until they prove they can win away from their home, I can’t justify backing them with confidence. Now, I will grab a ticket to hedge and lock in some profit, because I think it is either Kentucky or Tennessee that makes it out of the lower portion of the bracket. So, at +370, it is worth it to me to grab and see what options are available if they play Kentucky.
Auburn has been rough on the road this year as well. I think they are probably the best team in the conference, but they are beatable as well. They sit at +270 and of the tournaments I’ve covered so far, I think they are the best #1 seed with the most likely chance of winning the entire thing. I’m going to take them to win and do think it is the correct play. I don’t think they lose to anyone in the top half of the bracket. They’ve lost to Florida and Arkansas on the road already so it is possible. I just don’t expect it to happen twice and on a neutral court. (Though the tournament is in Florida, so the Gators could get a nice turnout.)
So my tickets I’ll take are Auburn at +270 (I think they win) and Tennessee at +370 as I think they make it to the championship and we can hedge if not. Still am not sold on Alabama, but I definitely would not be shocked if they made some noise.