College basketball futures odds: Mid-major conference title races heat up before March Madness

There are still a few weeks of action remaining in mid-major conferences and you can still wager on the top four mid-major leagues at some of our favorite betting sites. 

Let’s handicap the odds to win the American, Atlantic 10, Big West, Mountain West and West Coast conferences.

Odds to win mid-major conference championships

Odds in this story reflect those to win the regular-season conference titles in each of the mid-major leagues. They are the latest, live college basketball betting odds.

AAC conference championship odds: Bulls charge to top under new head coach

Favorite

South Florida () has lost only one of its first 13 American Athletic Conference games to emerge as the team to beat in head coach Amir Abdur-Rahim’s first season at the helm. The Bulls started the season 2-4 and fell to the likes of Maine and Central Michigan before really clicking in December.

USF used a win over Florida State as a springboard to wins in 17 of its next 18 heading into Wednesday’s visit to a UTSA team it beat 89-72 on Jan. 27. The Bulls beat 2023 NCAA Tournament darling Florida Atlantic 90-86 over the weekend behind 25 bench points from Kansas State transfer Selton Miguel and have also picked up tight wins over Memphis and Charlotte.

Kennesaw State transfer Chris Youngblood, who followed Abdur-Rahim to Tampa, has scored 20 or more points in three of his last six games and is on a 27-for-44 run from beyond the arc.

Running Second

Charlotte () has USF coming into town on March 2, but still has to visit Memphis, so there are challenges ahead. The 49ers have had a great season despite losing former head coach Ron Sanchez in June when he opted to become Tony Bennett’s top assistant at Virginia, rallying around Aaron Fearne, who has since had his interim tag removed. Senior guard Lu’Cye Patterson and 6-10 bigs Dishon Jackson and Igor Milicic make up a physical trio that’s tough to stop.

Top Longshot

The winner of Thursday’s SMU-FAU clash would remain alive to realistically catch USF and Charlotte, though they’ll need some help. Southern Methodist () and Florida Atlantic () can each get hot, and SMU can actually help its cause in a way the Owls can’t since the Mustangs still have a date with the Bulls in Tampa on Feb. 25. SMU comes off a 106-79 dismantling of Memphis that marked its sixth consecutive win, so Rob Lanier has his veteran group playing its best at the right time.

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Atlantic 10 championship odds: Top four hold out hope of capturing title

Favorite

Thanks to the presence of star big man DaRon Holmes II, Dayton () has an elite defense, ranking in the top 20 nationally in points per game allowed (64.3). The Flyers were the preseason favorite and have been in the national rankings most of the season, bouncing back from a 49-47 loss at VCU with wins over Duquesne and Fordham.

The Flyers are one of three two-loss teams entering the week and have won 15 of 17, but must still go to Chicago to face Loyola and have a rematch with VCU to end the season, so even though Holmes is the A-10’s best player, it’s probably not worth it to back this group with other plus-money options out there.

Running Second

Richmond () defeated Dayton 69-64 on Jan. 27 and therefore holds a valuable tie-breaker since the teams don’t meet again in the regular season. Chris Mooney’s Spiders had an 11-game win streak snapped by VCU to open February and suffered a 69-59 loss to UMass on Valentine’s Day in a rare home loss. They rebounded by scoring 90 in a weekend win at George Washington and can theoretically run the table and since they also won at Loyola.

Loyola-Chicago () has rebounded from a 10-21 last-place finish last season and is a threat to make its third NCAA Tournament appearance in four years. The Ramblers have ridden a balanced offense all season but have seen Davidson transfer Desmond Watson really emerge of late. On a season-long six-game win streak, the Ramblers have Dayton coming to town on March 1, making them a really attractive option to buy in on at nearly 4-to-1.

Top Longshot

VCU () is two games back in the loss column but owns wins over the three teams covered above. The Rams are 9-2 over their last 11 despite losing at UMass on Tuesday and will look to get back on track on Sunday against Saint Joseph’s. A title likely requires running the table, but with that game at Dayton ending the season, it’s possible that VCU’s finishing kick could be enough if the dominos fall exactly right.

Big West conference championship odds: UC Irvine has a chance to take control this week

Favorite

UC Irvine () has used sturdy defense to start 12-2 in league play despite losing top scorers Dawson Baker (BYU) and DJ Davis (Butler) to bigger leagues. Point guard Pierre Crockrell II does a great job getting everyone involved and graduate senior Justin Hohn has nearly doubled his scoring average.

A tough week awaits with games against UC Santa Barbara and at UC San Diego on tap, but if they get out unscathed, they’ll be tough to catch.

Running Second

UC-San Diego () nearly took down San Diego State and Cal and has won 11 of 14 entering Thursday’s trip to UC Riverside. They’ll have to avoid getting caught looking ahead to the weekend’s home date with the Anteaters but have lost only once in their gym – by a point to the Aztecs. Guard Bryce Pope has been one of the Big West’s best scorers over the past few years.

Top Longshot

Marcus Tsohonis is also one of the Big West’s top guards and gives Long Beach State () an outside shot at this title. The 49ers have gotten hot at the right time, winning four straight, which includes taking down upper-echelon teams UC-San Diego and UC-Davis. Dan Monson has another winner on his hands and has his team peaking.

They’ve still got games with UC Irvine and UC Davis, so continuing their run would give the Beach an opportunity to catch the teams in front of them. However, they have no room for error. 

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Mountain West conference title odds: Race remains wide open with Utah State sneaking ahead

Favorite

Utah State () became the first Mountain West team to notch 10 wins in a season that has been one of the most competitive of any conference this season. The Aggies took down San Diego State at home 68-63 behind clutch 3-point shooting from Darius Brown II, who finished with 25 points and dominated the game from beyond the arc.

There are seven teams separated by one game in the loss column, but the Aggies have a favorable slate playing ninth, 10th and 11th teams in addition to New Mexico at home, where they’ve lost only a single contest. 

Running Second

Boise State () can match Utah State atop the league with a road win at Wyoming in a game it will be favored in. The Broncos will close with a very challenging slate in March with home games against New Mexico, Nevada and at San Diego State and have been swept by the Aggies, so nothing will come easy, but Tyson Degenhart has been dominant in the post for weeks and St. John’s transfer O’Mar Stanley and Chibuze Agbo round out a frontcourt that’s been one of the Mountain West’s best. If those guys rebound and score efficiently, Boise can finish strong and win the league if Utah State trips up. 

Top Longshot

There are plenty of options to choose from since the race is so tightly packed, but New Mexico () has a schedule that allows it to control its destiny and arsenal of weapons that can snap out of a funk that has seen it go 2-3 over the last five games to slip back to the back.

Richard Pitino’s Lobos had won 17 of 19 prior to this stretch and host Colorado State on Wednesday before visiting Boise State and Utah State in their final few games, which gives them an opportunity to finish strong if they get back on track. Jamal Mashburn Jr. looks to bounce from a 1-for-10 effort in San Diego that helped contribute to UNM’s most recent loss.

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WCC title odds: Saint Mary’s perfect run has ‘Zags on the ropes

Favorite

Saint Mary’s () doesn’t have the West Coast wrapped up just yet, but moved to 13-0 with a hard-fought victory over San Francisco that was in doubt until the closing stages on Tuesday night. The entire Gaels starting lineup averages at least 9.5 points per game, with guard Aiden Mahaney leading the way at 13.9 and 6-10 center Mitchell Saxen imposing his will inside for Randy Bennett’s squad, which is closing in on repeating as WCC regular-season champs for the first time since 2011-12.

Running Second

Gonzaga () will need Saint Mary’s to lose one of its last two games to Pepperdine and San Diego in upset fashion since it will be heavily favored and will then need to go into Moraga and score what would be an upset win on March 2. A 64-62 loss in Spokane on Feb. 3 and a 77-76 loss at Santa Clara on Jan. 11 have put the Zags squarely in second place for weeks. While they’ve played better of late – including winning at Kentucky – they may end up on the bubble if they don’t close strong in tough road games against San Francisco and Saint Mary’s.

Top Longshot

San Francisco () had its shot to remain in the league race but lost to the Gaels and is now likely to finish as the No. 3 seed in the WCC Tournament.

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