MWC Betting Odds Preview
The New Mexico Lobos won the Mountain West’s regular season and conference tournament titles last season, but failed to do any damage in the NCAA Tournament after getting upset by Harvard in the first round. With Steve Alford departed to take the UCLA job, New Mexico will start a new era under long-time assistant coach Craig Neal.
Neal returns plenty of talent to work with. While first round pick Tony Snell is gone, Kendall Williams, Alex Kirk and Cameron Bairstow should be able to shoulder the load on offense and keep the team’s perennially stingy defense going as well. New Mexico is going off at +125 to win the Mountain West at 5Dimes.
The UNLV Runnin’ Rebels (+175 to win the Mountain West at 5Dimes) will need to replace five players from last year’s talented roster including the NBA’s No. 1 overall draft pick Anthony Bennett. Fortunately for the Rebels, plenty of help is on the way with a loaded recruiting class including some freshman and experienced transfers. Once the Rebels have their roster set, they should push for a Mountain West title.
Perhaps the team with the fewest question marks in the conference is the Boise State Broncos (+300), who return all five starters from last year’s NCAA Tournament team. Derrick Marks, Anthony Drmic and Jeff Elorriaga lead an offense that should be explosive and fun to watch this season. If Boise State can improve on the road where they were just 2-6 in conference play last season, the Broncos could emerge as the conference’s top team.
The San Diego State Aztecs (+800) will need to replace over 30 points per game of scoring with the losses of Jamaal Franklin and Chase Tapley. The Aztecs have a young group that may need a year or two to gel, but if things click right away there is enough talent here to get into the mix.
The Utah State Aggies (+1000) dominated the WAC for years, and should step right in as a contender in the Mountain West; but it may take some time to adjust to the more rigorous schedule.
Rounding out the Mountain West (with lines provided by 5Dimes):
Colorado State +1500
Fresno State +2000
Air Force +5000
San Jose State +7500