College Basketball Mid-Major Odds, Futures | Favorites & Sleepers for 12 Leagues
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Here at Action Network, we'll have full college basketball conference previews for 20 of the 32 Division I men's hoops leagues before the season tips off on November 6.
But what about the other 12 mid-to-low major leagues?
We certainly didn't forget about them, as there are some intriguing races and betting value further down the odds board.
Odds from Caesars
Favorite: Eastern Kentucky (+240)
Eastern Kentucky brings nearly everyone back — including four starters — from its third-place ASUN squad a year ago. That team ranked in KenPom’s top 150, the program’s best mark since 2015.
Gone from the conference is powerhouse Liberty, and last year’s darling Kennesaw State waved goodbye to its coach — Amir Abdur-Rahim — clearing a path for the Colonels.
Led by ASUN Player of the Year favorite Devontae Blanton and fueled by one of the most exciting styles in all of college basketball, EKU is a force to be reckoned with and the rightful leader in the preseason clubhouse.
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Sleeper: Bellarmine +1000
Bellarmine is still in D-II to D-I transition purgatory, but the Knights are very much threats to steal the ASUN crown — and a fantastic value at their current odds.
Not even two years removed from an ASUN tournament championship, Bellarmine returns a ton of production from an injury-ridden 2022-23 squad, and has arguably the toughest offense to prepare for in the league.
Head coach Scott Davenport is a legend in his own right and a sure bet to have the Knights competing in every contest.
Favorite: Weber State (+190)
Second-year head coach Eric Duft exceeded expectations in Year 1 at the helm after replacing long-time head man Randy Rahe. His Wildcats finished third in the Big Sky behind a surprising Eastern Washington squad and a dominant Montana State outfit.
MSU’s head coach departed for Utah State and Eastern Washington lost its three best players.
Meanwhile, Weber returns a legitimate pro prospect and the preseason Player of the Year favorite in Dillon Jones. Plus, it has a robust supporting cast.
Sleeper: Sacramento State (+1500)
If you want to swing for the fences, you could do worse than Sacramento State, a team that hit the reset button with transfers, as head coach David Patrick is known to do.
Patrick is known for his ability to accumulate talent, and his Hornets will be among the biggest and most athletic teams in the Big Sky this season.
While a championship is certainly a long shot, the talent is here to make it interesting at the current price.
Favorite: UC Santa Barbara (+260)
The Gauchos are the odds-on favorite to win the Big West following an excellent season in which they tied for the regular season league crown and punched a bid to the NCAA tournament.
Reigning Big West Player of the Year Ajay Mitchell is the best player in the conference and arguably a top 100 player in the nation.
But this is a fierce league at the top, with UC Irvine (+375) and Long Beach (+400) having legit paths to a title.
Sleeper: Hawaii (+700)
Hawaii is being priced at a tier below UCSB, UC Irvine and Long Beach State, and that simply doesn’t reflect reality.
The Rainbow Warriors return two all-conference performers in JoVon McClanahan and Noel Coleman — arguably the best 1-2 guard punch in the league — and a roster rich in experience and age.
Throw in a physical play style and one of the better home court advantages in the sport, and the Bows have a puncher’s chance at a Big West title.
Coastal Athletic Association
Favorite(s): Charleston (+240) & Drexel (+350)
Charleston was one of the most dominant mid-majors in the country last season and one of the most exciting to watch due to head coach Pat Kelsey’s up-tempo, 3-ball heavy style.
The Cougars lose a handful of key contributors from that magical squad, but a core trio led by 6-foot-10 forward Ante Brzovic should keep them in the mix at the top of the CAA.
Drexel doesn’t get the press clippings that Charleston does, but the Dragons have been quietly solid over the past three seasons, even making the NCAA tournament in 2021.
Head coach Zach Spiker could have his best team yet, as first team All-CAA and two-time Defensive Player of the Year Amari Williams and scintillating rising sophomore Justin Moore return to lead the charge.
Sleeper: UNC Wilmington (+500)
UNCW should be right with Charleston at the top of the standings, and head coach Takayo Siddle has been a juggernaut against the spread the past two years, going 40-24-2 over that span.
The Seahawks have the best home court advantage in the league, and they lose just three players from last year’s 12-6 squad.
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Favorite: Iona (+220)
Gone are Rick Pitino and 12 scholarship players. Some things don't change, though, and the Gaels should again be viewed as the MAAC favorites (though some might say Rider).
Iona brought in Tobin Anderson on the heels of his massive upset win over Purdue at Fairleigh Dickinson.
In turn, Anderson corralled an impressive group of newcomers to pair with the lone returnee, Osborn Shema.
Sleeper: Canisius (+1500)
The Golden Griffins return an impressive young nucleus, featuring likely MAAC superstar Tahj Staveskie at point guard (12.4 PPG as a freshman).
If coach Reggie Witherspoon can integrate big man Joe Jones (fun fact: Greg Oden’s brother) and cultivate development across the burgeoning roster, Canisius could compete in a league with a slight power vacuum at the top sans Pitino.
Favorite(s): Norfolk State (+150) & Howard (+220)
It’s no surprise to see Norfolk State and Howard getting the most love in the preseason — after all, they, along with NC Central, have been the class of the MEAC for the past few seasons.
Since Robert Jones took over at Norfolk in 2013, the Spartans are 113-39 (.743) in league play and have finished in the top two of the standings in nine out of 10 years. They will be a factor in the league race.
Howard returns three starters from its NCAA tournament team that went 11-3 in MEAC play. Head coach Kenny Blakeney brought in a star-studded transfer class led by former Ohio State Buckeye and Ivy Player of the Year (Harvard) Seth Towns.
Sleeper: NC Central (+425)
Like Norfolk, NC Central has been a perennial MEAC contender for the past several years. Under LeVelle Moton, the Eagles have been to four NCAA tournaments (five including the canceled 2020 iteration) and won the regular season title four times.
NCCU underwent major roster turnover this offseason, but Moton brought in a talented transfer class led by Austin Peay’s Guy Fauntleroy and a couple of High Point imports.
Favorite(s): Sacred Heart (+300) & Merrimack (+240)
Sacred Heart dealt with a cadre of injury issues last year, torpedoing any chance of battling for the league crown.
But three MAAC transfers and arguably the league’s best player (Nico Galette) put the Pioneers squarely in the title picture.
Merrimack is also a force; Joe Gallo’s tricky zone defense has helped the Warriors to two championships in four D-I seasons.
Sleeper: Wagner (+650)
The Seahawks opened at a staggering 22/1 but have since been bet sharply down into the single digits. Donald Copeland enters his second year in charge, and his changing defenses take after his predecessor, Bashir Mason – who won the league three times from 2016 to 2022.
The difference-maker could be Melvin Council Jr., an extremely talented JUCO transfer who ended up in the NEC partially due to past legal issues.
Favorite: Morehead State (+200)
The Eagles are the reigning champions — they won the league by three games last year — and bring back OVC Player of the Year Mark Freeman.
Preston Spradlin has thrived with a crawling pace in one of the fastest leagues in the country, dominating the paint with bigs like Johni Broome and Alex Gross.
Xavier transfer Dieonte Miles is next in line there, and NAIA import Riley Minix could be a sneaky star.
Sleeper: Little Rock (+1500)
Little Rock’s defense was a disaster last year, lacking rim protection and getting torched from the perimeter.
Enter three terrific down-transfers: Makhel Mitchell (Arkansas), Jamir Chaplin (South Florida) and KK Robinson (Texas A&M), all of whom should bolster the Trojans’ efforts on that end.
That trio should also complement returning scorers DeAntoni Gordon (13.7 PPG) and Jordan Jefferson (8.0 PPG).
Favorite: Colgate (-250)
This one is pretty simple. Including tournaments, Colgate is 53-4 against Patriot foes over the last three seasons.
The Raiders return three starters — including likely All-Patriot honorees Keegan Records and Braeden Smith — and have arguably the best player development track record in the league.
Oh, and the brilliant Matt Langel is still holding the clipboard.
Sleeper: American (+2000)
One of five Patriot squads with a new boss, American is undergoing an intense stylistic shift from Mike Brennan to Duane Simpkins.
The additional freedom could unlock a guard-heavy attack, though, with the trio of Elijah Stephens, Colin Smalls and Geoff Sprouse all possessing some breakout potential in the new scheme.
Matt Rogers (14.3 PPG, 6.3 RPG) is also back to anchor the paint.
Favorite: McNeese State
The Cowboys haven't finished above .500 in league play since 2011-12.
But this is a new era.
Will Wade arrived in Lake Charles this offseason, and though he's suspended for much of the non-conference slate, his revamped roster – one loaded with staggering down-transfer talent – could overwhelm the Southland.
Sleeper(s): SE Louisiana or New Orleans
The preseason poll actually selected SE Louisiana as the favorite (somewhat shockingly). Admittedly, coach David Kiefer and the Lions return impressive production from a 12-6 squad.
Meanwhile, New Orleans boasts the nation’s most accurate 3-point shooter in Jordan Johnson (48.2%) and three other returning starters.
Unfortunately, the Privateers suffered through a nine-game losing streak in Southland play last year and must learn to take care of the ball.
Favorite(s): A Logjam of Teams
Jackson State, Texas Southern, Grambling State and Alcorn State all have SWAC title aspirations this season, and separating the foursome in the preseason is a challenge.
Mo Williams brought in a ton of talent to go along with a core group of returnees at Jackson State, but unfortunately, it lost Ole Miss transfer Daeshun Ruffin for the year to injury.
Texas Southern has finished in the top three of the SWAC standings in four of its five years under Johnny Jones, and the Tigers have also represented the league in the past three NCAA tournaments.
Grambling is coming off arguably its best season ever and brought in a boatload of talent to replace the sizable production walking out the door.
Alcorn brings back three starters from last year and is a sterling 29-7 in SWAC play over the past two seasons under Landon Bussie.
Sleeper: Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Solomon Bozeman enters Year 3 at the helm of Pine Bluff with arguably his most talented squad yet.
He loses first team All-SWAC performer Shaun Doss but brings in a transfer class overqualified for the SWAC.
Favorite: Grand Canyon
Bryce Drew has awoken the sleeping giant in Phoenix, capitalizing on the Antelopes’ immense basketball budget to earn two NCAA tournament bids in three years.
This edition might be his best squad yet, featuring a dynamite backcourt duo — Ray Harrison (17.8 PPG) and Jovan Blacksher Jr. (15.8 PPG in 2021-22) — to pair with an army of talented frontcourt athletes.
Sleeper: Seattle or UT Arlington
Stephen F. Austin is the WAC’s second-best team, but that hardly qualifies as a sleeper.
So, we’ll look at Seattle, a terrific defensive team that also features incendiary perimeter gunner Cam Tyson (formerly at Houston).
UT Arlington has its own sleeper potential with a new coach (K.T. Turner, from Kentucky’s staff) and a bevy of incoming transfers.