Mountain West Tournament Odds – Three to Buy at BetRivers

By Mike Rose

For the third time in the last four seasons, Brian Dutcher’s San Diego State Aztecs took home Mountain West Conference regular season bragging rights. Not bad for the guy that took over for the long tenured Steve Fisher! BetRivers Sportsbook expects more success for Matt Bradley and Co. with the Aztecs lined near even money favorites to win the MWC tournament when they hit the Thomas and Mack Hardwood. Much is still to be decided in the MWC in regards to NCAA tournament qualifiers. As it stands right now, SDST, Boise State, and Nevada are in according to the most recent Bracketology installment. Utah State likely needs to win it to punch a ticket regardless of clocking in with the second best record in-conference. A 1-4 Quad 1 record is largely to blame. Due to all but SDST and Boise needing to win this tourney to guarantee placement into the Field of 68, I think the MWC tourney is wide open which makes for some very interesting dart throws – Here’s three of them. Hopefully the end result isn’t another quick exit from the Big Dance unlike last season!


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BUY: Nevada Wolf Pack +625


The trio of Jarod Lucas, Kenan Blackshear, and Will Baker is arguably one of if not the best in the Mountain West. Though the Wolf Pack closed the season out terribly dropping back-to-back decisions at Wyoming and then back home against UNLV in overtime to absorb its first loss of the year in front of the hometown faithful, I simply can’t ignore Nevada’s overall body of work throughout the regular season. In that trio, Nevada boasts fantastic guard play and a two-way big that can clean up close to the rack or spot up from deep and connect at a high percentage clip. Nevada sports the most efficient offense in the Mountain West as well as the third-best defense in back of Boise and SDST.


It mopped the floor with San Jose State in both regular season standoffs, went 3-0 combined against Colorado State and Fresno State, and split the rivalry with the Aztecs. That’s what will stand in the Wolf Pack’s way of punching a ticket to the finals. it also split with both Utah State and Boise State. I don’t think Nevada laces up its dancing shoes unless it cuts the nets down on Saturday night. Nevada is a team college basketball bettors deserve to see in the Madness, and that’s something their traveling fans will be rooting on with gusto over the next few days!



BUY: New Mexico Lobos +950


At one point this season, the New Mexico Lobos were the toast of the MWC. Richard Pitino’s kids bolted out to a pristine 14-0 record to start the season, and went on to cover the closing college basketball odds in eight of those games. With the guard duo of Jamal Mashburn Jr. and Jaelen House along with big man Morris Udeze, the Lobos got a trio on par with the best teams in this conference. Throw Josiah Allick and his 7.3 rebounds per game into the mix, and UNM has a team at its disposal that could blaze a trail into the finals in the blink of an eye!


For that to occur, the team must forget about what’s transpired since the calendar turned to February and play with an enormous chip on its shoulder. The back half of the season can only be summed up as ugly with it dropping seven of its final nine games (2-5-2 ATS). But this tournament breeds new life, and I fully expect the Lobos to take full advantage of the opportunity in hopes of stealing an auto-bid to the Dance. It’ll be decided favorites to get by Wyoming, but will then be catching points the rest of the way provided all the chalk holds up. Even so, I’m bullish on this desperate team making a run in hopes of turning the conference on its head!


BUY: UNLV Runnin’ Rebels +1800


I find it very interesting that the homebased Runnin’ Rebels odds of winning this tournament isn’t more in line with the rates of return teams like San Jose State and Fresno State are currently offering up. That largely has to do with the way Kevin Kruger’s kids performed to close out the season. Though UNLV stands 18-12 with a 7-11 MWC record in tow, the improvement of the roster was noticeable at the tail end of the year with gritty efforts put forth at San Diego State, Boise State, and Nevada.


For one reason or another, this guard-oriented squad always seems to rise up against the best of the best on the road where it went 2-3 SU and 4-1 ATS versus New Mexico, Utah State, San Diego State, Boise State, and Nevada. If Elijah Harkless and his mates find a way to bring that competitiveness back to their home floor, we could be witness to an incredible Cinderella story come Saturday night!


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