The Alabama Crimson Tide are defending national champions, but a mass exodus of talent to the NFL has Vegas playing it safe with Alabama’s chances to win the Southeastern Conference this season.
Alabama had 10 players selected in the 2021 NFL Draft, including six in the first round. With so much turnover coming to the roster, the Crimson Tide’s opening odds to win the SEC are at +120 with the Georgia Bulldogs not far behind at +325.
The loss of players to the NFL isn’t anything new for Alabama, but the team did lose a ton of key players on offense that may not be as replaceable, at least not at first, in 2021.
Here’s what Alabama lost on offense as it prepares to reshape the roster for the 2021 season:
QB: Mac Jones
RB: Najee Harris
WR: Jaylen Waddle, Devonta Smith
C: Landon Dickerson
LT: Alex Leatherwood
G: Deonte Brown
Harris, Waddle and Smith combined for 57 touchdowns for Alabama last season and Smith went on to win the Heisman Trophy. Jones, another first-round pick, threw for 41 touchdowns and just four interceptions.
While Alabama replaces great players every year, it’s hard to expect the same production as last year’s team given the number of quality upperclassmen they had at skill positions.
Still, the Crimson Tide are favored to win the SEC for a reason. Head coach Nick Saban’s team has not lost more than three games in a season since 2007, and they’ve gone undefeated in SEC play three of the past five seasons.
The record amount of turnover has led to Vegas giving the Crimson Tide less leeway in the odds, but it may be a chance to jump on the bandwagon before the reigning champs start to widen the gap between themselves and the rest of the conference.