The Mountain West title has been won by four different teams over the last five years, and this year’s conference championship will once again be hotly contested. While a handful of teams are in the running this year, excitement is building in Las Vegas around the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels.
UNLV enters the 2012/13 season as a +130 favorite to win the Mountain West Title at 5Dimes. Coach Dave Rice enters his second year with the program, and his fast-paced run-and-gun offense should be in full effect this season. Mike Moser (14 PPG and 10.5 rebounds per game) leads a talented group of returning starters, and with a Top-10 recruiting class joining them the future and the present both look bright in Nevada.
The San Diego State Aztecs aren’t far behind on the betting board at +200 at 5Dimes to win the Mountain West. The Aztecs won the conference tournament in both 2010 and 2011 and finished runner-up in 2012. Four starters return from last year’s 26-8 squad including the Mountain West Conference Player of the Year Jamaal Franklin. Three transfers and Top-25 recruit Winston Shepard give Coach Steve Fisher plenty of talent to work with.
The Nevada Wolf Pack (+550) return arguably the conference’s best backcourt in point guard Deonte Burton (14.8 PPG) and shooting guard Malik Story (14.1 PPG). After a 28-win season in the WAC last year wasn’t enough to get into the NCAA Tournament, the Wolfpack should be particularly motivated come tournament time to earn a guaranteed spot.
Of course, the defending Mountain West champion New Mexico Lobos don’t plan on going down without a fight at +600 to win the conference at 5Dimes. The Lobos will miss Drew Gordon and A.J. Hardeman in the post, but the backcourt should be sound with Hugh Greenwood, Kendall Williams, and Tony Snell all returning. If the Lobos can develop some solid play down low they should be able to stay in the mix.
Colorado State (+850) has four starters returning from last year’s 20-12 team and a pair of talented transfers joining the squad as well. If the Rams can find a way to play better on the road (3-9 last year) under new head coach Larry Eustachy, they could compete.
Wyoming (+1350), Fresno State (+2500), Boise State (+3000), and Air Force (+6000) round out the Mountain West Conference odds entering the 2012-13 college basketball betting season.
Odds to Win Mountain West at 5Dimes
San Diego State +200
New Mexico +600
Colorado State +850
Fresno State +2500
Boise State +3000
Air Force +6000