The “O” word is popular in Knoxville as the Volunteers start spring practice for the 2022 season. That word being “optimism” following a seven-win showing last year. Still, Tennessee faces a tough challenge according to the latest odds for the SEC championship, which show the usual suspects as favorites.
Caesars Tennessee lists last year’s national champion Georgia and runner-up Alabama as the overwhelming favorites to capture the most elite conference in college football. The Bulldogs are +120 and the Crimson Tide are -140. Essentially, oddsmakers at Caesars view the SEC as a match race.
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A lot of good things need to happen for the Vols to elbow their way into the conference title picture, with Alabama and Georgia, as is typical, loaded as almost NFL-lite teams. Tennessee will host Bama at Neyland Stadium in October. They draw the difficult task of going to Georgia to face the Dawgs in November. A winning $100 wager on Tennessee to win the SEC with Caesars would pay a whopping $5,000.
Sometimes futures odds are widely varied among Tennessee sports betting apps this far away from the season.
2022 SEC Championship Odds
- Alabama -140
- Georgia -+120
- Texas A&M +1600
- Ole Miss +3000
- LSU +4000
- Kentucky +4000
- Tennessee +5000
- Arkansas +5000
- Florida +5000
- Auburn +10000
- Mississippi State +10000
- South Carolina +10000
- Missouri +50000
- Vanderbilt +100000
Not since 2010 has a school other than Alabama, Georgia, or LSU won the SEC. In 2010, Conan O’Brien was still the obliviously happy host of The Tonight Show, current Vols quarterback Hendon Hooker was a 12-year-old in North Carolina, and Tik Tok was just a sound a wristwatch made.
If a team other than the SEC’s “Big Three” is going to win the conference this year, Caesars thinks the longshot Volunteers well down the list. But why would anyone think that’s possible?
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Vols Look To Build On First Year Under Josh Heupel
When the school brought Josh Heupel in as the 27th head coach in Tennessee football history, it was assumed that the program would evolve into a quick-strike offense. That’s Heupel’s M.O., built in his stints as a quarterback savant at Oklahoma and the University of Central Florida. But few could have seen what would happen in Year No. 1 of the Heupel Era.
In 2021, the Vols ranked ninth in college football in total offense with 474.4 YPG, and seventh in scoring offense at 39.3 PPG. Both of those statistics, and Hooker’s 31-to-3 TD/INT ratio were school records. And if that weren’t enough, Tennessee set school records for total points scored (511), total yards (6,174), touchdowns scored by the offense (67). and total first downs (316).
That’s remarkable considering the team had a new quarterback who didn’t even begin the season as the starter. Hooker’s 181.4 passer rating was tops in the SEC and third in college football, which is one reason Tennessee fans are allowed to daydream about beating Bama and the Dawgs and reclaiming the conference title for the first time since 1998.