SEC Conference Tournament Betting Preview


The SEC is the definition of a college basketball power conference heading into the postseason, as it has at least six tournament teams, and more than a few of them have national title aspirations. Before we get to the big dance, we get the pleasure of watching these elite programs battle it out for conference supremacy in the SEC conference tournament.

(All odds are from DraftKings Sportsbook.)


The Blue Blood

Kentucky Wildcats (+190)

John Calipari has quite the roster this season and is poised to make a deep run in March. However, the roster differs from his usual construction as the additions through the transfer portal rather than the high school ranks have made Kentucky a contender once again. 

The biggest addition, both literally and figuratively, has to be Oscar Tshiebwe. The big man transferred over from West Virginia and became an absolute monster this season, averaging 17.3 points and 15.3 rebounds per game. His dominance has shot him up the odds board for National Player of the Year, and if he leads Kentucky deep into March, the award is all but his.

While Tshiebwe is tremendous, this Kentucky team is a title contender and the favorite to win the SEC tournament because it is sound in nearly every aspect. The Wildcats finished first in the conference in adjusted offensive efficiency, effective field goal percentage and rebounding rate. Their defensive metrics are not too far behind as they rank fifth in adjusted defensive efficiency. They have a challenging path as the three-seed in this tournament, but they are nearly certain for a finals appearance. 

The Real Favorite

Auburn Tigers (+260)

At first glance, Auburn is being disrespected by the books here. What more do the Tigers have to do to be considered contenders? They were the No. 1 team in the nation and rattled off the longest win streak of the season with 19 straight victories, and a majority of them came during conference play. 

Yes, they had some hiccups down the stretch, but there is no denying the talent and potential of this Auburn team. They have the potential No. 1 pick in the draft in Jabari Smith and a dynamic backcourt of Wendell Green and KD Johnson. Round that out with 7-foot-1 Walker Kessler down low, who has become one of the most imposing big men in the country. 

However, for all their talent, we have seen them go through swings and look phenomenal and then mediocre for stretches of games. Fortunately for them, the remarkable stretches greatly outweigh the bad ones as when this team gets rolling, they are hard to stop. With the second-best odds in this tournament, there is definite value on the most talented team in the conference.


The Middlemen

Tennessee Volunteers (+330)

The Volunteers have the potential to take down anyone in the conference as they are ranked third in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency. They put that to the test and passed twice this season against both Kentucky and Auburn. 

The question mark for this team lies on the offensive end. Their backcourt is made up of Kennedy Chandler, and Santiago Vescovi is the only consistent source of offense for this team. We saw the Volunteers struggle when matchup up with teams that are near equal on defense. Losses to Villanova, Texas Tech, LSU and Texas all show that the Vols need more production to make a run in the postseason. 

Arkansas Razorbacks (+750)

Eric Musselman had his men playing on another level for much of the season. The Razorbacks went from “OK SEC team” in December to “top-25 team” by the end of the season. Their success stems from excellent team defense. Arkansas was first in the SEC in adjusted defensive efficiency and non-steal turnovers. 

It also helps when you have a superstar to carry the load offensively night after night. JD Notae was and will remain a problem for any opponent as he is a pure scorer who can run away with a game by himself. Notae averages almost 19 points per game. 

Arkansas fits the profile of a team capable of thriving in this tournament. Tremendous defense and a talented star could take the Razorbacks a long way.


The Bracket Busters

LSU Tigers (+1000)

The ebbs and flows of the Tigers season are fascinating when you look at where they started to where they are now. LSU began the year undefeated and was the No. 1 team in the country. The Tigers got to that point through impeccable defense and converting their defensive play into offense. 

Then shortly after their first loss of the season to Auburn, the injures hit. They were without multiple key players for small but consecutive stretches. This caused a downward spiral in January as they would lose six of seven conference games. 

However, all that matters now is that the Tigers are healthy and are beginning to regain their form earlier in the year. Their aggressive style of team defense is what gives them the ability to beat any team in this conference and perhaps have the best chance of any team playing in the second round to reach the finals. 

Alabama Crimson Tide (+1500)

If you want a high-upside team, look no further. The Crimson Tide are the highest-variance team in the country due to their up-and-down style mixed with the green light anytime there is an open look from behind the arc.

Alabama played the most brutal schedule in the country without a doubt. Apart from battling the top of the SEC, they faced Gonzaga, Houston, Memphis and Baylor. Surprisingly, they won three of those four nonconference games. They have the potential to beat any team in the country and also lose to any team. The Crimson Tide are the perfect “boom or bust” you look for when betting futures. 

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