The odds for division and conference champions have been released for the upcoming college football season and a few teams in the Mountain West conference have caught my eye. When betting futures, there are three types of teams you can back:
The first are favorites. These teams will likely have even or negative odds, but are considered to be the best team in the conference with the best chances to win. These are safer picks who will likely win unless something unexpected happens.
The second are value picks. These are upper or middle-tier teams who are not the favorites but could win the conference if a couple of things break their way. These teams usually provide excellent value for their talent.
The third are longshots. These are teams projected to finish in the middle or even near the bottom of their conference. The experts often overlook these teams, resulting in huge odds. If you catch lightning in a bottle, you can earn a huge payday with longshot bets.
I will offer up one favorite, one value, and one longshot bet for the Mountain West conference that I have a good feeling about this year.
The Favorite – Boise State
Finishing with a 7-1 conference record and a title game victory over Fresno State in 2017, Boise State is primed to repeat this year. At -175 odds, bettors will not have to lay a huge amount, making the Broncos an enticing pick.
The team is returning ten starters from a defense that was stellar in 2017, holding conference opponents to 14 points or less six times, the most in the conference.
On the other side of the ball, the Broncos trot out senior quarterback Brett Rypien, the current FBS passing yards leader. This veteran started slow in 2017, but found his rhythm as the season progressed. Expect big things from Boise State in 2018.
The Value Pick – Fresno State
Handing Boise their only conference loss in 2017, Fresno State also finished 7-1 in MWC play and then lost the title game rematch by just three points. Fresno bettors will receive +500 odds this season, an incredible value for a team that hung with the top dog last year and is expected to improve.
The Bulldogs boasted a great defense in 2017, ranking first in the conference in points allowed and second in yards allowed.
Just like Boise, the Bulldogs feature a senior quarterback coming off a solid season. Transferring to Fresno shortly before their first game, Marcus McMaryion put up big numbers in 2017 without preseason reps with the offense. With an entire offseason of preparation, expectations are sky-high in Fresno.
The Longshot – Wyoming
At +2000 odds, Wyoming could qualify as a second value pick, but I will use them as my longshot. Finishing 8-5 overall and 5-3 in the MWC, Wyoming is one of the nation’s best teams that no one talks about.
Head Coach Craig Bohl is a quarterback wizard, turning both Carson Wentz and Josh Allen into high first-round NFL picks. This year he has two quarterbacks competing for the starting spot. It is safe to say that whichever wins will put up big numbers under the guidance and tutelage of Bohl.
The Cowboy defense was extremely disruptive in 2017. The unit led the FBS in takeaways while ranking second in the MWC in both sacks and points allowed.
With a couple of big wins, Wyoming could shock the conference and take the title. Remember, this team was in the conference title game as recently as 2016. Do not sleep on the Cowboys.