Alabama is college football's cream of the crop. Period.
The Crimson Tide are fresh off a national title and have accounted for half of them since 2009. As long as Nick Saban's patrolling the sidelines in Tuscaloosa, his will remain the most-feared program in the entire country.
Both oddsmakers and the market have plenty of respect for Alabama in the 2021 conference odds. The Crimson Tide are -200 favorites to win the SEC, implying they ship it two out of every three tries.
Here's the full list of prices, as well as some teams I like and dislike off the bat.
Alabama teams are difficult to gauge in the preseason. The program typically sends a wave of players to the draft, starts over with a clean slate of five-star recruits, then goes about its business.
We're not completely acclimated to the updated roster, but there are still some leftovers from last year.
Wide receiver John Metchie III found a consistent role alongside DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle, hauling in 55 passes for 916 yards and six scores in 2020. On the opposite side of the ball, cornerback Josh Jobe enters the year with 39 games under his belt to fortify a stout secondary. Both prospects could be first-rounders when it's all said and done.
Quarterback Bryce Young is an unknown commodity with some big shoes to fill in the wake of Mac Jones, but he should flourish in an Alabama system that's become more quarterback-friendly over the years.
Young was the No. 2 player in the 2020 class and is rated as the No. 20 prospect of all time by 247. He's listed at +700 to win the Heisman, which is tied for the second-shortest price.
Overall, Alabama clocks in at No. 1 in SP+, ranking No. 4 in both preseason offense and defense rankings. I'll be buying the Tide at this short number.
A new coaching staff, a frenetic quarterback, and the second-toughest schedule in the nation: what could possibly go wrong for Auburn in 2021?
The answer is, a lot!
If we're looking for a player who can make a Joe Burrow-like leap this season and turn the SEC on its head, Bo Nix just isn't it. He looked lost on a weekly basis in his sophomore campaign, recording four fewer touchdown passes and one more interception than he had in 2019 despite playing two fewer games.
To make matters worse, the cupboard's essentially bare: his top three receivers from last year - who accounted for 1,755 yards of 2,415 receiving yards and 10 of his 12 touchdown passes - are gone. Running backs Tank Bigsby and Shaun Shivers give the Tigers one of the best one-two punches in the nation, but you aren't going to win the SEC by handing the ball off 40 times a game.
Bryan Harsin's a fine hire from Boise, and he could possibly inject some life into the fan base down the road. But right now, I see very little upside in a program that has a long way to go before competing with the Tide.
Texas A&M (+700)
This just feels like a program waiting to break out.
Texas A&M took a bit to get going under head coach Jimbo Fisher but finally found its footing last season. After getting trounced by Alabama in Week 2, the Aggies ripped off eight straight wins, seven by double digits.
A&M has recruited at a high level - three straight top-eight classes, according to 247 - and should reap the benefits sooner rather than later. They'll start over from scratch on offense (No. 120 in offensive returning production), but whichever quarterback takes the reins has two elite pass-catchers in wide receiver Ainias Smith and tight end Jalen Wydermyer.
The Aggies should shine defensively in 2021. They finished No. 13 in the country in DSP+ last season and are slated to have nine upperclassmen starting for the upcoming unit.
To top it off, nobody gets an easier schedule in the SEC West than A&M. This is the best value play on the board.
Alex Kolodziej is a betting writer for theScore. He's a graduate of Eastern Illinois who has been involved in the sports betting industry for 12 years. He can quote every line from "Rounders" and appreciates franchises that regularly wear alternate jerseys. Find him on Twitter @AJKolodziej.