Olympic Sportsbook has released divisional odds for the SEC, the ACC, and the Big 10. Of interest to Gamecocks fans will be that Carolina is a co-favorite with Georgia to win the SEC East. Here are the odds:
South Carolina +150
My impression is that the national media views Georgia as the best team out of Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida, with South Carolina and Florida being viewed as roughly equal. However, the odds are against Florida because the Gators have to go on the road against LSU and South Carolina in addition to playing Georgia at a neutral site, and South Carolina is given the same odds as Georgia because Georgia draws LSU from the West while South Carolina enjoys a beneficial cross-divisional slate and the home game against UF. I would assume that the oddsmakers think that if South Carolina wins head-to-head against UGA, the Gamecocks will have an easy road to the division title, and that even if Carolina loses that game, it will still have a chance to get back into the thick of things if Georgia falls to LSU and Florida. Thus, the same odds for the two teams despite the assumption that Georgia is better.
Whether the Dawgs really are better remains to be seen. Georgia likely has the better offense, but while both teams lose some key defensive talent, Georgia loses a ton. With the game early in the season, Georgia's youth may be a serious liability against our offense, and while the game will be a test for our defense, too, we do have Clowney. I also think that prognosticators are assuming that Georgia has been the better team the past two years despite the head-to-head results, and I'm not convinced that's the case. Yes, Carolina enjoyed an obscene advantage on special teams and in turnovers in 2011, and Georgia didn't play its A-game last year in Columbia. However, the results outside those games have been more neck-and-neck between the two programs than many pundits want to acknowledge. You'll see people say that South Carolina's close wins over Tennessee and Vanderbilt show its inferiority to more traditional power programs, but those same people won't acknowledge that Georgia struggled with Tennessee and Kentucky. Georgia gets a lot of credit for playing Alabama close, but Carolina might have been able to do so, too. In any event, the two programs will settle it on the field against in September, and the final score of that game will be the stat that really matters in the series for the following year.