NCAAB

Will Tennessee Hold Off Alabama in the SEC Title Race?

Skyler Carlin
Skyler Carlin@skyler_carlin

The SEC has been an ultra-competitive conference in college basketball all season, and time is ticking for teams to earn themselves a chance to win the regular-season title. With the NCAA Tournament rapidly approaching, winning the SEC could help a team have a better case when the committee decides the seeding in the big dance.

At the top of the SEC, we have teams like the Tennessee Volunteers, Alabama Crimson Tide, and Auburn Tigers leading the way. The South Carolina Gamecocks, Florida Gators, and Kentucky Wildcats are considered longshots to make a late-season push for the conference title due to the lack of games remaining on the schedule.

Ahead of the final portion of the regular season, here are the SEC winner odds -- via the college basketball odds at FanDuel Sportsbook -- followed by a breakdown of the top contenders.

SEC Basketball Odds

2023-2024 SEC Conference Regular Season Winner
Odds
Tennessee+105
Alabama+130
Auburn+430
South Carolina+4800
Florida+8500
Kentucky+11000

Tennessee (+105)

When I looked at this market nearly two weeks ago, Alabama was the favorite to win the SEC regular-season crown at +125 odds. Since that article was written, Tennessee has gone on a four-game winning streak, defeating the Arkansas Razorbacks, Vanderbilt Commodores, Missouri Tigers, and Texas A&M Aggies by an average of 26 points in that span.

Amid the team's recent stretch of success, the Volunteers have climbed to No. 5 in the AP Top 25 poll. Tennessee owns a 21-6 overall record and an 11-3 conference record, which has earned it the No. 6 spot in KenPom's ratings. They have +185 odds to be a 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Besides logging the 40th-most points per game (80.3), the Volunteers are averaging the 16th-most assists per game (17.3). While Tennessee has three players scoring double-digit points per game, Dalton Knecht leads the charge with 20.1 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per game on an efficient 40.3% shooting from three-point range.

The final four games remaining on the schedule for Tennessee are Auburn, Alabama, South Carolina, and Kentucky. If the Vols can go 3-1 or 4-0 in their remaining contests, they'll be in a fantastic spot to win their first SEC regular-season title since 2017-18 (when they tied with Auburn).

Alabama (+130)

Even though Alabama is still No. 13 in the AP Top 25 poll, it has two recent blowout road losses to SEC opponents across its last five games. The program's most recent game was a 117-95 defeat to Kentucky on the road, giving the Crimson Tide a 19-8 overall record and an 11-3 conference mark.

Despite boasting a 13-1 record at home this season, Alabama owns a combined 6-7 record away from home (including neutral-site contests). The away-from-home woes could prevent the Crimson Tide from winning back-to-back SEC titles.

There isn't a team better at putting the basketball in the basket than Alabama, who is producing a nation-best 91.1 points per game. On the other hand, the Crimson Tide have given up 92-plus points in four of their last five contests. They're tops in adjusted offensive efficiency, per KenPom, but are 97th in adjusted defensive efficiency.

Efficiency is the name of the game for Bama, indicated by the team having the seventh-best effective field-goal percentage (57.3%) in the country.

The Crimson Tide either need to run the table or the Volunteers need to slip up in the final four games of the season for the SEC regular-season crown to be obtainable.

Auburn (+430)

The team with the third-shortest odds (+430) to be the SEC regular-season winner is Auburn. The Tigers have the same overall record (21-6) as the Volunteers, and they are tied for the third-best conference record at 10-4.

All four of Auburn's conference losses have come in the team's last nine contests, losing to Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, and the Mississippi State Bulldogs -- all on the road. Unlike the Vols and the Crimson Tide, the Tigers don't have a 20-point scorer on their roster, but instead they rely on their depth, tallying the fourth-most bench points per game (34.78) in college basketball.

Aside from deploying a deep rotation, Auburn protects the rim well, registering the seventh-most blocks per game (5.9). The defense of the Tigers has been formidable in recent games, surrendering an average of 69 points per game across their last three contests.

Next up on the schedule for Auburn is a road matchup against Tennessee, which is a game that will have a big impact on this market. For the Tigers to make an improbable push for the SEC regular-season title, they'll likely need to go undefeated in their final four games.


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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.