Gonzaga Record and Gonzaga ATS (8-1 OVR, 4-4-1 ATS)
Gonzaga entered the ‘Battle For Atlantis’ as the 8th ranked team in the country and they left as the 9th ranked team in the country with their first loss handed to them by Michigan. The Zags are still at the mountaintop of all the mid-majors, and figure to be very much in the conversation for a top eight seed come March.
This week the Zags get a bit of a reprieve with a mid-week matchup against Texas Southern (2-5 OVR, 3-4 ATS) before tangling with in-state rival Washington (5-1 OVR, 3-3 ATS) on Sunday. In terms of the Zags efficiency against the spread so far this season, the Zags are about as much of a coin flip as any team in the country right now — going 4-4-1 ATS to begin the season. One thing to potentially keep an eye on? Six of the first nine Zags games this season have gone over the total.
December 4: vs. Texas Southern
December 8: at Washington
VCU Record and VCU ATS (6-2 OVR, 2-6 ATS)
They may not be the Shaka Smart VCU Rams of old, but the famed ‘HAVOC!’ attack of VCU is back at it to begin the season. The consensus favorites in the A-10 have begun the season with a 6-2 record, and their two losses came in the Emerald Coast Classic by a combined 6 points in losses to Purdue and Tennessee. VCU entered the 2019-20 season with one of the deepest rosters in the country and so far they haven’t shown much to dissuade anyone from that assessment. From a gambling perspective however, the Rams have had difficulty covering games as they are a paltry 2-6 ATS to begin the season.
This Saturday the Rams return to their home floor to host Old Dominion (3-6 OVR, 2-6 ATS).
December 7: vs. Old Dominion
Utah State Record and Utah State ATS (7-1 OVR, 4-4 ATS)
The Aggies suffered their first defeat of the season last Friday in an 8 point loss to St. Mary’s. The loss dropped the Aggies from 15th to 25th in this weeks AP poll, but the Mountain West favs still figure to be a mid-major team that can make a lot of noise in March.
Speaking of the Mountain West, a quirk in the scheduling of this year’s conference tourney has the Mountain West playing conference games this week. As a result we see the Aggies begin their conference schedule with a road game against San Jose State on Wednesday and a Saturday home affair against Fresno State.
Betting Nugget: Utah State was 10-11 ATS in Mountain West conference play in 2018.
December 4: at San Jose State (C)
December 7: vs. Fresno State (C)
Dayton Record and Dayton ATS (5-1 OVR, 4-2 ATS)
One of the bigger surprises so far this season is the play of Dayton. Dayton enters this week ranked in the top 25 for the first time in 4 seasons (#19 overall) following a strong performance at the Maui Invitational that saw them blowout Georgia and Virginia Tech before giving Kansas all they can handle in the championship game.
The Flyers have also begun the season strong from a gambling perspective as they have covered in 4 of their first 6 lined games of the year and have gone OVER the total in 5 of 6. This week they face Houston Baptist (0-5 OVR, 1-4 ATS) from the Southland Conference before a highly anticipated mid-major matchup against St. Mary’s (8-1 OVR, 3-5 ATS).
December 3: Houston Baptist
December 8: at St. Mary’s (CA)
St. Mary’s (CA) Record and St. Mary’s (CA) ATS (8-1 OVR, 3-5 ATS)
Randy Bennett appears to be pretty good at this whole coaching thing. St. Mary’s once again finds itself as a team that no school, large or small, will want anything to do with as the season goes on. An early shocker at the hands of Winthrop is in the rearview as the Gaels have run off 7 straight wins, including an eight-point win against 15th ranked Utah State.
In a potential lookahead spot, this Wednesday the Gaels host Northern Illinois (6-2 OVR, 2-5 ATS) before facing off against 19th ranked Dayton (5-1 OVR, 4-2 ATS) on Sunday.
December 5: vs. Northern Illinois
December 8: vs. Dayton
San Diego State Record and San Diego State ATS (8-0 OVR, 6-2 ATS)
The Aztecs find themselves in a familiar spot right before conference play preliminarily kicks off — on top of the Mountain West standings. The Aztecs enter this week fresh off winning the Las Vegas Invitational, where they blew the doors off Creighton in a 29-point rout on Thanksgiving Day before beating Iowa by 10 in the championship game.
The Aztecs have been just as great from a gambling perspective. They have covered the spread in 6 of their first 8 games. The Aztecs were 13-8 ATS in conference play last season.
December 4: at Colorado State (C)
December 8: vs. San Jose State (C)
Vermont Record and Vermont ATS (6-3 OVR, 4-4 ATS)
The Catamounts are the overwhelming favorite in the America East conference yet again, and despite a recent stumble in games against Rider and Yale, they appear poised to once again make a run to go dancing in March. The Catamounts have already added a win over St. John’s to their resume this season and gave defending champion Virginia fits in a 6 point loss. This week finds Vermont traveling to face unranked Cincinnati (5-2 OVR, 1-6 ATS) before returning home on Saturday to host Towson (3-4 OVR, 4-2 ATS).
December 3: at Cincinnati
December 7: vs. Towson
ETSU Record and ETSU ATS (7-1 OVR, 4-3 ATS)
It’s Steve Forbes 5th season at ETSU and yet again the Buccaneers look poised to make a deep run in the Southern Conference. While ETSU’s non-conference schedule has largely been filled with cupcake opponents, the Bucs did fare well in a road matchup against Kansas where they lost by 12 but covered a 15 point spread.
ETSU begins conference play on Wednesday with a quick road trip to Citadel, before resuming their non-conference slate on Saturday with a roadie against North Dakota State.
December 4: at Citadel (C)
December 7: at North Dakota St.
Western Kentucky Record and Western Kentucky ATS (6-2 OVR, 2-5 ATS)
Western Kentucky was considered the heavy favorite to win Conference USA a season ago before everything came apart for them and they did not reach the postseason at all. This season, most of that team is back and initially the Hilltoppers look like they are on the right path to realize their expectations from a year ago. The Hilltoppers enter this week following a tough 17-point loss at the hands of now #1 Louisville. This weeks schedule looks noticeably lighter as the Hilltoppers will have a road trip to see Wright State before hosting Arkansas on Saturday.
December 3: at Wright State
December 7: vs. Arkansas
New Mexico Record and New Mexico ATS (7-2 OVR, 3-4-1 ATS)
A bevy of transfers has New Mexico dreaming of making a run in the Mountain West after a string of disappointing seasons. The Lobos entered 2019 coming off one of their worst seasons in school history and thus far they look significantly better from a season ago as they have won 7 of their first 9 games including victories over rival New Mexico State and Big Ten power Wisconsin.
Just like their MWC brethren Utah State and San Diego State, the Lobos find themselves with two conference games on the slate this week. The Lobos will host conference foe Boise State (4-2 OVR, 3-2 ATS) on Wednesday before traveling to Laramie to face Wyoming (3-5 OVR, 4-4 ATS) on Saturday.
December 4: vs. Boise State (C)
December 7: at Wyoming (C)
Furman Record and Furman ATS (7-1 OVR, 4-1 ATS)
The Paladins are coming off an incredible 2018 season that saw them win 25 games and spend a few weeks in the AP Top 25 poll, and they look to be inching ever closer to reaching their first NCAA tournament in 40 years. But first, they’ll have to overcome another difficult season in the SoCon that figures to once again be top heavy. 2019 has been good to the Paladins thus far though, as Furman has won 7 of their first 8 games and have covered in 80% of those. Their lone blemish of the year so far was an 8 point road loss against Alabama.
This week Furman has a very busy week with three games on the docket, including a road affair against 14th ranked and undefeated Auburn on Thursday.
December 2: at South Florida
December 5: at Auburn
December 8: vs. SC Upstate
Rhode Island Record and Rhode Island ATS (5-3 OVR, 3-5 ATS)
While VCU is the clear favorite in the A-10, the other Rams from Rhode Island also figure to make some noise before all is said and done. The Rams caught fire at the end of last season before running out of steam in the A-10 championship game and this season they bring virtually everyone back. A very difficult non-conference schedule with games against Maryland, Alabama, LSU and West Virginia leaves the Rams with a 5-3 record to begin the year, but this team is definitely one to keep an eye on as we enter conference play.
This week, the Rams play against in-state rival Providence (5-4 OVR, 3-6 ATS).
December 6: vs. Providence
Bowling Green Record and Bowling Green ATS (6-2 OVR, 4-2 ATS)
It’s been 52 years since Bowling Green last won the MAC and made an NCAA Tournament. This season has BGSU faithful thinking it could be 1968 all over again, as the team projected to finish at the top of the MAC is off to a 6-2 start in 2019. The Falcons scored a big road win over Western Kentucky before knocking off Cincinnati on their home floor and now have the luxury of only playing one more road game before conference play begins.
This Saturday the MAC favs host Oakland (4-4 OVR, 4-3 ATS) on their home floor.
December 7: vs. Oakland
UTEP Record and UTEP ATS (5-0 OVR, 2-0 ATS)
Of all the mid-majors to crack this list, UTEP may be the most surprising team to see on here. In 2018, the Miners were nothing short of miserable as they went 8-21 overall and just 3-15 in conference play. This year they are already more than halfway to that win total and have handed losses to I-25 rivals New Mexico and New Mexico State. However, 4 of the 5 games UTEP has played this season have been against schools from the state of New Mexico, with another matchup against New Mexico State coming Tuesday evening in Las Cruces.
We will surely find out a lot more about this UTEP team in the coming weeks, but for now they should not be forgotten given their perfect record overall and ATS.
December 3: at New Mexico State
December 7: vs. Arkansas Pine Bluff
Richmond Record and Richmond ATS (6-1 OVR, 4-3 ATS)
The Spiders entered this season with hopes of contending for the A-10 championship and so far, so good. Richmond has begun the season with a 6-1 record highlighted by wins over Wisconsin and Boston College, with their lone defeat being a 14-point loss to Auburn.
This week the Spiders draw two cupcakes with a quick road trip to face Hampton (3-4 OVR, 1-3 ATS) on Tuesday before returning home on Sunday to face South Alabama (5-3 OVR, 3-3 ATS).
December 3: at Hampton
December 8: vs. South Alabama
Liberty Record and Liberty ATS (9-0 OVR, 5-3 ATS)
The Atlantic Sun has provided us mid-major darlings like Florida Gulf Coast and Lipscomb in recent years and Liberty may be the next in line to carry this torch. The Flames are a perfect 9-0 to begin the 2019 season, but have yet to face a true test as their most noteworthy win to date was a 12-point win over Rice.
This week doesn’t figure to reveal much about Liberty either, as Monday evening they host NCCAA member Trinity Baptist before a road trip on Sunday to face Grand Canyon. Nonetheless, the Flames appear to be the clear favorite in conference so keep an eye on this Liberty team going forward.
December 2: vs. Trinity
December 8: at Grand Canyon
Northern Iowa Record and Northern Iowa ATS (7-1 OVR, 6-1 ATS)
The Panthers are back in the fold to contend for a Missouri Valley Conference championship following three disappointing sub .500 seasons in a row. 2019 figures to be a different story for Northern Iowa however as they return 6 of their 7 leading scorers from last years team. So far, this has been the case as the Panthers have raced to a 7-1 overall record and are 6-1 ATS.
Keep an eye on this Northern Iowa team as we inch closer and closer towards full blown conference play. This week will not showcase their talents, but this is a team that can be a covering machine thanks to their senior leadership and tenacious style of defense.
December 2: vs. Luther College
Belmont Record and Belmnt ATS (5-3 OVR, 4-4 ATS)
For the past decade, Belmont has been a staple when discussing any mid-major basketball programs to keep an eye on. Despite the Rick Byrd era, 2019 should be no different for Belmont, as once again the Bruins are among the favorites to win the Ohio Valley Conference. So far this season, the Bruins have stumbled a bit out of the gate with losses to Illinois State and Eastern Washington, but they did manage to land road victories at Boston College and MTSU.
When the OVC kicks off, that is when you should really begin to see the value of this deep and sophomore laden Belmont team.
December 3: vs. Lipscomb
Duquesne Record and Duquesne ATS (6-0 OVR, 3-3 ATS)
Don’t look now but Duquesne is projected by Ken Pomeroy to enter 2020 as an undefeated basketball team. The Dukes have started the year 6-0, thanks in large part to a Charmin soft non-conference schedule, but they are still 6-0! As a result of their torrid start, Duquesne finds themselves on the mid-major sleeper report, but should we expect to see them hang around into February? We shall see.
December 4: vs. VMI
New Mexico State Record and New Mexico ATS (4-4 OVR, 2-5 ATS)
The Aggies have almost turned getting a free ticket to the NCAA tournament every season into a science by dominating the hapless Western Athletic Conference for the last decade. However, the WAC has gradually been catching up to New Mexico State and this year may be the first season they are truly pushed for the crown as this isn’t the same Aggies team we have grown accustomed to seeing in recent years. This season the Aggies have already stumbled against rivals New Mexico and UTEP, in addition to a tough loss last week at the hands of George Mason.
The Aggies look to start to turn their season around this week with a rematch against rival UTEP (5-0 OVR, 2-0 ATS) before heading to Pullman to face Washington State (3-4 OVR, 2-5 ATS) on Saturday.
December 3: vs. UTEP
December 7: at Washington State
Louisiana Tech Record and Louisiana ATS (5-2 OVR, 3-4 ATS)
The last time Louisiana Tech made it to the NCAA tournament, they played in the now-defunct American South conference and the calendar read 1991. Nearly 30 years later, the Bulldogs look to take a junior/senior laden team dancing and to the top of Conference USA. If there’s a Bulldog team capable of breaking the tournament drought, it’s the 2019-20 version.
While LA Tech does not have a notable win to date this season, they did give Creighton and Indiana all they could handle and have the arsenal to compete with anyone in their conference. This is another mid-major team to keep an eye on when conference play begins.
December 5: at Mississippi State
December 8: at Sam Houston State
San Francisco Record and San Francisco ATS (7-1 OVR, 4-3 ATS)
The WCC isn’t just for Gonzaga and St. Mary’s! Ok, for the most part it may be, but don’t count out the Dons just yet. San Francisco is off to a great 7-1 start, albeit with no real eye popping victories to date. However, if there’s one thing the Dons appear to be really good at, it’s scoring points. The Dons have failed to score less than 75 points in a game this season and have topped 80 points in 6 of 8. We’re not saying the Dons will topple Gonzaga and St. Mary’s to win the WCC crown, but this could be a very fun team to bet on throughout the season.
Up next for the Dons is the rare back-to-back Pac-12 double feature with games against Arizona State and Cal on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Betting Nugget: The OVER is 7-0 this season in all San Francisco lined games.
December 3: vs. Arizona State
December 4: vs. Cal
Buffalo Record and Buffalo ATS (5-2 OVR, 2-4 ATS
The Bulls were one of the more imposing mid-majors a season ago as they won the MAC in convincing fashion, won 32 games and made it to the round of 32 in the last two NCAA tournaments. However, 2019 figures to be a bit of a transitional period for Buffalo as coach Nate Oats is now at Alabama and the entire class from the last four years is now gone.
With that said, the Bulls are still a team to keep an eye on in the MAC just in case they are able to reload quickly. Buffalo’s lone impressive game on its schedule to date so far was an 11-point road loss to UConn. Besides that, there is still much to learn about this Bulls team. Their upcoming road swing against Vandy and DePaul will surely begin to reveal some truths.
December 3: at Vanderbilt
December 8: at DePau
Delaware Record and Delaware ATS (8-0 OVR, 6-1 ATS)
Blue Hen Fever! Catch it!
Picked to finish 7th in the CAA, Delaware has started the season a perfect 8-0 with an eye-popping 6-1 ATS record. The Blue Hens haven’t posted a winning record since their last NCAA tournament appearance in 2014, but their quick start is propelling them quickly towards ending that drought.
Without a truly noteworthy win on their schedule to date, it’s hard to glean too much from their 8-0 start, but with a 6-1 ATS record to begin the year, don’t forget about the little state in the northeastern U.S.
December 2: vs. Columbia
December 7: at George Washington
George Mason Record and George Mason ATS (8-1 OVR, 6-3 ATS)
This isn’t 2006 George Mason but they’re definitely a team to keep an eye on. A season ago, George Mason was expected to ascend back to their NCAA tournament caliber heights, but instead they underperformed and finished 5th in the A-10.
This season, George Mason returns a bulk of last years team but with one big piece missing – PG Otis Livingston. With that said, Mason is still very capable of making noise throughout the season and they’re not very far off from having it all come together for a deep run in the A-10 tournament and a potential NCAA tournament berth. To date this season, Mason has won 8 of their first 9 and covered in 6 of those. Their lone defeat of the season was a 23-point loss to #3 Maryland, with wins over Nebraska and New Mexico State.
December 3: vs. Jacksonville St.
December 7: vs. American
Stephen F. Austin Record and Stephen F. Austin ATS (6-1 OVR, 4-1-1 ATS)
Stephen F. Austin delivered the biggest stunner to come from Steve Austin since Wrestlemania 17 when they knocked off #1 Duke at Cameron last week. But if you’ve followed this program the last several years, the surprise wasn’t as big as it appeared to be at the time. This is a program that has steadily grown for the last several seasons, with 4 NCAA tournament berths in their last 5 years.
This week offers another opportunity to gauge if this SFA team is for real, as they travel to Tuscaloosa on Friday to face Alabama.
December 2: vs. Arlington Baptist
December 6: at Alabama
Tennessee State Record and Tennessee ATS (5-3 OVR, 7-0 ATS)
We’re not ready to christen Tennessee State as a mid-major sleeper in waiting, but that perfect 7-0 ATS record will get you mentioned no matter what your school’s name is. Tennessee State’s biggest win to date was a 1-point victory over Lipscomb, but their covers against Texas Tech and San Diego State earned them a mention on our list this week. For Tennessee State to go 8-0 ATS to begin the season, they will need to cover the spread against hapless Chicago State (3-6 OVR, 1-5 ATS).
December 6: vs. Chicago State
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