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College Basketball Mid-Majors | 7 Futures to Target, Including James Madison & More (Jan. 30)

College Basketball Mid-Majors | 7 Futures to Target, Including James Madison & More (Jan. 30) article feature image
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Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images. Pictured: Terrence Edwards Jr. (James Madison)

Welcome back to our monthly Mid-Major State of Conference. In our first edition, Sean Paul broke down five teams to watch in March and five teams to buy low on.

Now Scott Schaeffer is taking the reins to cover a few of the more intriguing mid-major storylines, including giving out a few plus-money, mid-major futures bets to make.

Here's our latest breakdown of college basketball mid-majors.

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College Basketball Mid-Major Bets to Make

The focus of this article will be on truly superior teams not currently leading their conference that are worth a wager to win their respective leagues.

Princeton Tigers

Ivy League

First up is the Princeton Tigers.

Princeton reached the Sweet 16 last year as a 15-seed, defeating Arizona and Missouri in the process.

Coach Mitch Henderson has been leading the Tigers for over a decade now and has plenty of experience to draw upon to counter the tendencies of all Ivy League opponents.

Also, sophomore guards Xaivian Lee and Caden Pierce were part of the Sweet 16 run last season and now are arguably the best two players in the Ivy League this season.

Princeton ran into a buzzsaw offensive performance by Cornell on the road this past weekend, which resulted in the Tigers' first loss in conference play.

They'll face another difficult road challenge this Friday at Yale. However, if Princeton is able to escape that game with a win, its schedule gets much easier throughout February and March.

With the best backcourt and arguably the league’s best coach, I’d trust Princeton at +180 to win the Ivy League.

Pick: Princeton to Win Ivy League (+180)

James Madison Dukes

Sun Belt

The Sun Belt race is certainly a little more top-heavy than most.

James Madison has unfortunately dropped three conference games already, two of which came at the hands of App State — the current leader of the conference at 8-1.

The Sun Belt is exactly halfway through its conference schedule, meaning JMU will need to make up two games in the loss column over the remaining nine matchups.

James Madison and App State have separated themselves from a metrics standpoint in comparison to the rest of the Sun Belt, even if the separation hasn’t quite manifested itself in the standings yet.

Both teams are likely to be favored in every game for the remainder of the regular season, barring injuries.

The primary reason I’d still encourage you to consider backing James Madison (+220) to overtake App State in the standings is the offensive advantage the Dukes have.

While the Mountaineers struggle to score and stall for long stretches, James Madison has relied upon Terrence Edwards Jr. and T.J. Bickerstaff to carry the scoring weight.

The Mountaineers have struggled to score on the road, and have three consecutive road tests on deck that could allow JMU the chance to make up ground.

Pick: James Madison to Win Sun Belt (+220)

Other Mid-Major Bets to Make

  • Horizon League: Youngstown State (+280) (8-3, trailing 9-3 Green Bay)
  • Summit League: St. Thomas (+650) (4-3, trailing 5-2 South Dakota State)
  • ASUN: Lipscomb (+800) (4-3, trailing 7-0 Eastern Kentucky)
  • MAAC: Iona (+1400) (4-4, trailing 8-1 Quinnipiac)
  • NEC: Merrimack (+250) (6-2, trailing 6-1 Central Connecticut)

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