College Basketball Odds, Futures: 2023-24 Mountain West Betting Preview

College Basketball Odds, Futures: 2023-24 Mountain West Betting Preview article feature image

Photo by Jack Dempsey/NCAA Photos via Getty Images. Pictured: Lamont Butler (San Diego State)

The Mountain West was hyper competitive last season, ranking sixth overall in KenPom’s conference standings, the league’s highest mark since 2013. Four teams made the NCAA tournament, and the San Diego State Aztecs put on a dress, played Cinderella and danced all the way to the National Championship game.

This year promises to feature another strong crop of teams, with eight squads ranking in KenPom’s preseason top 101.

The Aztecs are once again the favorite, but plenty of others are capable of winning the league title.

Mountain West NCAAB Regular Season Title Odds

The Favorite

San Diego State Aztecs

At anywhere from even money to about +150, sportsbooks have christened SDSU as the heavy favorites to win the Mountain West in 2023-24.

SDSU has been a staple atop the league standings for the past two decades, and head coach Brian Dutcher has led the Aztecs to a 59-11 conference mark over the past four seasons.

Personnel-wise, SDSU has the goods to win its fourth MWC title in five years. Last year’s starting guard duo — Darrion Trammell and Lamont Butler — returns — along with forwards Jaedon LeDee and Micah Parrish — to give the Aztecs a solid base.

Dutcher also brought in two high-impact transfers in Reese Dixon-Waters (USC) and Jay Pal (Campbell).

We know SDSU will be good defensively – it has ranked in the top 10 in Adjusted Efficiency thrice in the past four seasons – and there’s enough offensive talent to be dangerous on the other end.

SDSU’s floor is a top three finish, making it by far the safest bet in the conference to win the title. But, at current odds, there’s better value elsewhere.


Boise State Broncos

Boise State has been one of the most overlooked programs nationally since Leon Rice took over back in 2010. All he’s done is lead the program to 10 20-plus win seasons and made four NCAA tournaments in 13 years.

Prior to his arrival, the program had seven 20+ win seasons and five NCAA tournament appearances since turning D-I in 1970.

Boise won the league in 2022 and it has one of the best players in the Mountain West this season in Tyson Degenhart. Throw in two other double-digit returning scorers, a talented transfer point guard and two Power Five transfers, and the Broncos look like contenders once again.

At +450, Boise is an intriguing option in the market.

New Mexico Lobos

Rick Pitino might be garnering all the headlines for his recent St. John’s hiring, but his son, Richard, has done excellent work at New Mexico, resurrecting the program from the ashes.

UNM won six games in 2020-21 under Paul Weir, leading to his firing. Pitino took over the following season, winning 13 games in 2021-22 and then 22 last year.

In 2023-24, he has the roster to make another improvement and compete for an MWC title.

There’s no better 1-2 guard duo in the conference than Jaelen House and Jamal Mashburn Jr. – and you’d be hard-pressed to find many better across the entire country.

The high-scoring guards lead a team chock-full of transfer talent. Pitino has four major transfer pieces, all of whom were key contributors at their prior stops. His top seven this season features six seniors and/or graduates.

New Mexico is talented, old and well-coached. At +475, the Lobos are worth a look.

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Dark Horses

Colorado State Rams

CSU is a prime bounce-back candidate after a down season in which it failed to finish over .500 in the MWC for the first time since 2019.

Point guard Isaiah Stevens is arguably the best player in the conference, and head coach Niko Medved is a wizard with the clipboard.

Prior to last year’s struggles, Medved led the Rams to a 28-8 league mark over a two-year span.

The Rams are much closer in strength to New Mexico and Boise State than their odds currently suggest. At 10/1, CSU is one of the better values on the board.

Nevada Wolf Pack

While CSU is a great value bet, there’s no better bet right now than Nevada, which is somehow 15/1 to win the conference despite ranking fourth in KenPom’s preseason Mountain West rankings.

The Wolf Pack are fresh off of an NCAA tournament berth and the program’s first 20-win season since 2019. Three starters are back from last year’s squad, in addition to four other players who logged over 13 minutes per contest.

Add in Tulane transfer Tylan Pope, and head coach Steve Alford has a big, deep, veteran group at his disposal.

Deep Sleepers

Fresno State Bulldogs

Frankly, it would be wise to ignore Fresno in the futures market. While the Bulldogs have talent and a very experienced roster, head coach Justin Hutson just hasn’t proven he can be a contender in this league since a surprising third-place finish in his first season back in 2019.

Since then, Fresno is 30-43 in league play with no higher finish than sixth.

Again, there's talent here. But there's no upside.

UNLV Rebels

UNLV has shorter odds than Nevada in the market, which simply shouldn't be the case. Kevin Kruger has been solid at the helm in his first two seasons, but his Rebels are still just 17-19 in MWC play under his tutelage.

UNLV’s best player — Elijah Harkless — is gone, along with several other key contributors. However, the Rebels do have a power-conference-caliber frontcourt with the Boone twins and Jalen Hill.

The guards are experienced, but they simply can’t stack up talent-wise with the top-tier MWC backcourts.

Utah State Aggies

Utah State’s pricing varies wildly in the current market. At +800, the Aggies are a firm “no bet." At 16/1, one should begin to consider.

The problem is we have no idea what to expect from this year’s USU squad. A brand-new head coach — Danny Sprinkle — takes over, and there are zero players on the roster who logged a minute in a Utah State uniform last season.

A roster full of transfers and no continuity makes the Aggies a highly volatile squad.

Wyoming Cowboys

The best “long shot” bet on the board is Wyoming at 60/1.

The Cowboys are coming off a dreadful season in which they stumbled to a 4-14 conference mark. Injuries plagued Wyoming, forcing head coach Jeff Linder to use a whopping 16 different starting lineups during the year.

A turnaround could be coming in 2023-24. Linder brought back three key pieces from last season – all with upside – and added three impact transfers.

Two of those transfers — Akuel Kot and Mason Walters — were All-Americans at the D-II and NAIA levels. If they can translate to D-I, Wyoming could be dangerous.

The Basement

San Jose State Spartans

San Jose State was a great story last year, with head coach Tim Miles leading the program to arguably its best season in ever. The Spartans won 21 games and finished 10-8 in the conference, blowing expectations clear out of the water.

Unfortunately, SJSU’s best player — MWC Player of the Year Omari Moore — departed this offseason. Without him, it’s hard to see the Spartans being anything more than an average offensive team.

SJSU simply doesn’t have the talent to compete for a conference crown.

Air Force Falcons

Air Force is slowly improving under head coach Joe Scott, finishing 147th in KenPom last season after finishing 269th in 2022 and 332nd the year prior.

Scott even led the Falcons to a Mountain West title all the way back in 2004, so there's technically precedent for Air Force to make a run to the top.

However, this year’s roster – while scrappy – doesn’t possess the requisite talent to win the league.

You can count on the Falcons to pull a couple major upsets, but they won’t have the consistency to do it on a nightly basis.

Mountain West Betting Recommendations

San Diego State is the “safest” bet on the board, but it naturally comes with limited upside. The Aztecs have the tightest window of possible finishes, making them a viable bet even at +150.

If you want to look past SDSU, Boise or New Mexico are enticing options at around +450.

Colorado State and Nevada are targets as the best “bang for your buck” bets on the board.

Utah State, UNLV, Fresno and the rest should likely be avoided.

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Jun 23, 2024 UTC