Small Conference Title Odds: AAC, A10, Mountain West, West Coast
In college football, it is not hard to guess who some of the top teams in the nation are going to be. All you have to do is pick out the best teams out of the Power conferences. But in basketball, it is not that easy.
A West Coast Conference (WCC) team held the No. 1 spot in the nation longer than any other team to date. Five of the top ten teams in Week 12 come from conferences other than the Power 5 (SEC, Pac-12, Big 12, Big Ten, and ACC).
It might seem frustrating to need to follow so many conferences to keep up on the best basketball teams in the country. But then again, it also means there are at least four other conference title chases to follow and potentially bet on (all odds via Draft Kings; odds, stats, and records as of Saturday night, 1/25):
Best Sportbooks 2020
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American Athletic Conference Title Odds
The AAC standings currently have teams bunched together at the top with similar conference records—Tulsa (5-1), Houston (5-1), Wichita State (5-2), SMU (5-2), and Cincinnati (5-2). Yet, there is a 3-3 team with the shortest odds to win the conference (Memphis, +225).
Many people had Houston (+400) at or near the top of their conference predictions in the preseason. Except for a six-point loss to Oklahoma State, their losses were close ones to good teams (Oregon, Tulsa, and BYU).
If you take out a five-game stretch where they lost four games, Tulsa looks like a potential conference contender but one with long conference odds (+4000). Wichita State will likely be the conference favorite soon (+250) after the 40-point loss Tulsa handed Memphis.
Last year’s conference runner-u, Cincinnati, shouldn’t be forgotten either (+425).
Atlantic 10 Conference Title Odds/A-10 Title Odds
The A-10 was expected to be a competitive division this season, and so far, it is. Dayton leads the way as the only undefeated team in conference play (7-0) and is the favorite to win the conference (-125). VCU (5-2) is a solid, veteran squad that is going to make it hard on Dayton or anyone else to win the conference (+275).
But the odds take a big jump after VCU. Rhode Island has the third-best odds at +800 (6-1) followed by George Mason (+1300, 2-5) Duquesne (+1600, 5-2), and Richmond (+2500, 5-2). Dayton is the obvious choice here, but it would be foolish to overlook a quality unit like VCU or Duquesne.
Mountain West Conference Title Odds
Like the A-10, the Mountain West has a definite leader, the San Diego State Aztecs (-134). Not only are they undefeated in conference play (9-0), but they are undefeated overall (20-0) and the No. 4 team in the nation.
Utah State has the second-best conference odds (+225) but are 5-4 in conference play and would need a lot of help to win it. UNLV currently ranks second in the standings at 6-2, but with an overall record of 11-10 and conference odds of +6000, it is hard to imagine them making a push either.
Barring an epic collapse or several injuries, the Mountain West appears to belong to the Aztecs. But keep an eye on New Mexico (+700), Boise State (+1000), and Nevada (+1500).
You know—just in case.
West Coast Conference Title Odds
Gonzaga has finished the regular season on top of the WCC in every season since 2001 but one. So, to say the Bulldogs are the class of the WCC would be an understatement—hence, being the favorite to win it at -335.
But they haven’t lost a conference game since the 2017-18 season. With the No. 1 scoring offense in the country, it is going to be hard for the other top teams in the conference to take the Bulldogs down. Saint Mary’s has the second-best odds in the conference (+450) and get to play the Bulldogs twice.
However, with two conference losses already (5-2), Saint Mary’s would have to beat them twice. While one win is possible, it is hard to imagine the Gales recording two. However, with the way unranked opponents have beaten many top-ranked teams, nothing can be ruled out this year.