- Greg Ostendorf, ESPN Staff Writer
- 0 Shares
The SEC is no longer the king of college football. Or at least that's what everybody else is saying after the conference struggled during bowl season and fell short of winning the national championship for the second straight year. But Las Vegas begs to differ.
The Golden Nugget sports book posted the first college football opening lines this past weekend, and it still favors the SEC in some of the premier nonconference games early in the season.
Alabama (-10) and Auburn (-11.5) opened as heavy favorites in neutral-site games against Wisconsin and Louisville respectively. Texas A&M is favored (-3) over Arizona State while Tennessee has a slight edge (-3) at home over Oklahoma in Week 2.
But based on the parity in the conference this season -- no team is favored in every game -- the SEC might have a hard time reaching the College Football Playoff, let alone winning it.
Even mighty Alabama was given a pick 'em line for its game at Georgia in early October. This is not a huge surprise considering it's on the road against a potential top-10 team, but the Crimson Tide come into this season having been favored in 68 straight games -- a streak that dates back to the 2009 championship game. That streak might be in jeopardy this fall.
Alabama did open as a 3.5-point favorite over rival Auburn in the Iron Bowl, despite the game returning to Jordan-Hare Stadium this year.
Other SEC teams the Golden Nugget appears to be high on include Arkansas and Tennessee, two of the league's darkhorse contenders, as well as LSU, a perennial contender who is coming off a down year. The Tigers are favored in all but two of their games, at Alabama (+9) and at Ole Miss (PK).
The biggest surprise might be the Arkansas-Auburn line in which the Razorbacks opened as 6.5-point favorites at home against an Auburn team that many predict will make the playoff.
Click here to see more opening lines from the Golden Nugget.
19dDerek Tyson and Greg Ostendorf
38dDavid Ching and Edward Aschoff