The LSU Tigers finished 2013 on a 1-5 ATS slump despite going 4-2 SU over that six-game stretch.
They'll need to rely on their signature defense to compete in the SEC, going off at 13/2 to win the conference title.
LSU's offense was one of its strengths in 2013, averaging 35.8 PPG to lead the team to a 10-3 SU and 5-7-1 ATS season. The Tigers will have a whole slew of new faces on offense this season however with QB Zach Mettenberger, leading rusher Jeremy Hill and the team's top three wide receivers all departed to the NFL.
There are some great young players ready to step in at these positions, but there are likely to be some growing pains for the offense over the course of the season.
The Tigers also lost some key players on defense, but there are enough returning starters and prized recruits on that side of the ball for LSU to feel very confident on defense coming into the season. They get tiny Sam Houston State as a Week 2 tuneup.
LSU ranked 15th in the nation in total defense and 21st in scoring defense last year and should be as good or better again in 2014. After trending towards the OVER in 2013 at 8-4-1, LSU's current makeup could be more catered towards the UNDER.
The schedule doesn't do LSU too many favors this season. The Tigers have back to back road games against Auburn and Florida in the middle of their schedule and end the year with a pair of potentially tricky road games at Arkansas and Texas A&M.
LSU does get Alabama at home this season, but the Crimson Tide are 5-2 SU in their last seven games against LSU including a current streak of 3-0 SU and 2-1 ATS in the last three meetings between the two SEC rivals.
LSU is going off at 22/1 to win the national championship and 5/1 to win the SEC West.
The talent is here for the Tigers to find their way into the SEC title game, but trying to top both Auburn and Alabama in the SEC West with so many newcomers on offense will take a special kind of season.
The Florida State Seminoles were a perfect 14-0 SU and 11-3 ATS in 2013 en route to the final BCS National Championship.
The Seminoles are an 11/2 favorite to defend their title in 2014 with Heisman favorite Jameis Winston leading the way.
Florida State completely dominated the 2013 season on both sides of the ball. On offense, the Seminoles finished second only to Baylor in scoring with 52.4 points per game. On defense, the team allowed a nation-low 12.1 points per game. That translates to an average margin of victory of over 40 points per game.
The offense was led by breakout freshman sensation Jameis Winston, who cruised to a lopsided Heisman Trophy win after passing for 4,057 yards and 40 touchdowns while leading his team to an undefeated season and an ACC title.
Winston is the odds-on favorite to win the Heisman Trophy again this year, going off at 4/1 to do so.
The Seminoles are a big chalk play to win the ACC championship at 4/11, with the next closest teams in the division going off at 10/1 in Clemson, Louisville and UNC. To win the ACC Atlantic Division, Florida State is an even bigger favorite at 1/6.
The ACC had no answers for Florida State in 2013, and with most of the team returning, there doesn't appear to be much reason to expect otherwise this year.
No matter how many points bookmakers gave to Florida State's opponents, the Seminoles kept covering the spread. Florida State was a favorite of 30 points or more seven times last season and went 6-1 ATS in those games.
The Seminoles even covered as a 58-point favorite against Idaho, stomping the Vandals 80-14. Florida State didn't cover the spread against Auburn, but it did end the SEC's run of seven straight national championships in the 34-31 win.
It is hard to foresee a scenario in which this Florida State team isn't in the four-team playoff at the end of the year. At that point, Jameis Winston would have the chance to add to his legacy against two of the best teams in college football.
After going just 3-9 SU and 4-8 ATS in 2012, the Auburn Tigers bounced back with a sensational season in 2013 going 12-2 SU and ATS in 14 games.
The Tigers will try to repeat 2013's success going off at 9/1 to win the FBS Championship this season.
Gus Malzahn's offense worked wonders for the Auburn Tigers, transforming one of the SEC's bottom-feeders the previous year into one of the conference's elite teams overnight.
Auburn found itself as the betting underdog six times in 2013, going 6-0 ATS in those games with four outright upsets including two outright upsets as a double-digit underdog at Texas A&M and at home against Alabama.
Auburn shouldn't find itself as a double-digit underdog at any point in 2014. While most of the conference's top teams are tasked with breaking in a new quarterback this season, Nick Marshall returns for Gus Malzahn coming off a season in which he passed for 1,976 yards and 14 touchdowns and rushed for 1,068 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Marshall is going off at 16/1 odds to win the Heisman Trophy this season and should put up even better numbers in his second year in Malzahn's system.
The Tigers are going off at 6/1 to win the SEC, and the schedule shapes up nicely for the team over the first half of the season with challenging games against LSU and South Carolina both coming at home.
But the second half will show what Auburn is made of with road games against Ole Miss, Georgia and Alabama lined up in the month of November.
Auburn is perhaps the most interesting of the top contenders coming into the 2014 season. Some bettors may write off last season as a fluke with wild finishes over Georgia and Alabama propelling the Tigers into the National Championship Game.
Others could argue that those wins just prove that Auburn knows how to win, and that the team could be even better this year in its second year under Malzahn.
Time will tell what 2014 holds for the Tigers, but if last year is any indication, they'll be comfortable in the underdog role if they find themselves in it.
The Ohio State Buckeyes, winners in their last 24 regular season games, will start the 2014 NCAA Football season as heavy 10-11 favorites to emerge as Big Ten champions and a solid 12-1 bet to claim their first national championship since 2002.
After a perfect regular season last year, the Buckeyes fell short of their goal of a conference championship, falling to the Michigan State Spartans, 34-24, in the Big Ten title game. But that victory has not helped the Spartans eclipse the Buckeyes in NCAA Football odds this year.
The Buckeyes are pegged as heavy 2-5 favorites to win the Big Ten East title, edging the Spartans, who sit at 13-5 to win the Big Ten East division. The Spartans also trail the Buckeyes in odds to win both the 2014 conference title with odds of 15-4, and are well back of the pack in College Football FBS Championship futures wagering, with odds of 25-1.
The Wisconsin Badgers start the year looking to rebound from a disappointing 2013 season, which ended with a pair of 31-24 losses to Penn State and South Carolina.
The Badgers, winners of three of the last four Big Ten conference titles, open their season as 6-5 favorites to win the Big Ten West division and a respectable 9-2 to once again claim the conference championship.
The Badgers are closely followed by the Nebraska Cornhuskers, who own odds of 3-2 to win the Big Ten West and 11-2 to win the Big Ten championship. But things don’t look quite as bright for Nebraska in national championship online betting, where they are pegged as distant 66-1 longshots to be crowned national champs for the first time since 1997.
The Michigan Wolverines, who struggled to a 7-6 record in 2013, are an intriguing 9-1 bet to win to the 2014 Big Ten title, while the Iowa Hawkeyes round out the list of favorites with odds of 14-1.
The Northwestern Wildcats top the list of longshots in Big Ten football betting with odds of 40-1, while the Minnesota Golden Gophers sit at 66-1.
The Indiana Hoosiers and Maryland Terrapins are well back of the pack at 100-1, but ahead of the Illinois Fighting Illini, Rutgers Scarlet Knights and Purdue Boilermakers, who round out Big Ten futures betting, each with odds of 200-1, per Bovada.
South Carolina has been impeccable at home in recent seasons with an 18-0 SU and 12-6 ATS record over its last 18 home games.
The No. 9 Gamecocks will take on the visiting No. 21 Texas A&M Aggies on Thursday night in marquee college football odds action.
The Gamecocks are a 10.5-point favorite for Thursday night's SEC matchup against Texas A&M, and Kenny Hill will be making his first start at quarterback for the Aggies as Johnny Manziel has departed for the NFL. Texas A&M has gone 8-2 SU over its last 10 road games.
The Georgia Dome will play host to a game on Thursday night between the Boise State Broncos and the No. 18 Mississippi Rebels. Boise State enjoyed a 92-12 SU record under head coach Chris Petersen over the last eight seasons, but they move into a new era with Brian Harsin this year.
The Broncos are a 10-point underdog against Ole Miss.
On Saturday, the Georgia Dome will host another big game between the No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide and the West Virginia Mountaineers. When this game was scheduled years ago, it was projected to be a game between two college football powerhouses.
But here in 2014, it looks more like a tuneup game for the Crimson Tide. Alabama is a 25.5-point favorite.
Two ranked teams take to the field on Saturday when the No. 12 Georgia Bulldogs host the No. 16 Clemson Tigers. All eyes are on Clemson's offense as the team is tasked with replacing last year's starting quarterback and two top running backs and wide receivers. Georgia is favored by 7.5 points at home.
The No. 14 Wisconsin Badgers and the No. 13 LSU Tigers meet at NRG Stadium in Texas for what looks on paper to be one of the best matchups of the week. Wisconsin's Heisman hopeful Melvin Gordon could make an early statement by leading his team to an upset win over LSU. The Badgers are a 4.5-point underdog.
No. 1 Florida State begins its national title defense as a 17.5-point favorite against Oklahoma State at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. Florida State was 14-0 SU and 11-3 ATS in 2013.