College Basketball Betting Advice: Mid-Major Teams with Betting Value
When it comes to mid-majors, everyone knows how good Gonzaga is this year, and the hype around Nevada is intense as well. But that is pretty much it - or at least the amount of attention teams get beyond those two falls off a cliff. But there are more than just two mid-majors worthy of attention. And paying attention to these teams now when casual bettors aren't not only can give you an edge now but also in the tournament when the teams are more than just a name on a bracket to you and you can make informed decision in a pool of fish.
Here are three mid-majors that are certainly interesting at this point:
Buffalo: This isn't a team that has snuck up on us by any means. After winning the MAC Tournament last spring, the team headed to the NCAA tournament and promptly stunned No. 4 Arizona in the first round. Massacred them, really - Buffalo beat the team with the soon-to-be No. 1 overall draft pick by 21. The magic didn't last long, though, as they were beaten up by Kentucky next time out. But they had served notice.
And they have kept the ball rolling this year. They were 11-point underdogs in their second game at West Virginia, and the matchup against a feisty Mountaineers team and their relentless press was a big test. Or so you would think. But Buffalo won it in overtime and looked very good doing it. They have won their other two games this year nicely as well.
The centerpiece of that West Virginia win was C.J. Massinburg, the senior guard who is the spark plug of this squad. Against the Mountaineers he erupted for a ridiculous 43 points and 14 boards. He and juniors Jeremy Harris and Nick Perkins form a veteran core that is far from a team you can overlook.
This is a dangerous squad. They entered the Top 25 with the West Virginia win, and they have the schedule to pile up some wins until they face two more chances to make some real noise - at Syracuse and Marquette in consecutive games right before Christmas. This is a team that could be ranked all year. I'm on the Bulls bandwagon.
South Dakota State: The Jackrabbits are riding a three-year tournament streak, and have made five appearances since 2012, so they are not an unfamiliar team for college basketball fans. The common thread through their success the last three years has been Mike Daum, the senior who averaged a double-double last year and will likely eclipse last year's stats this season. He's an exceptional player with more than 100 starts to his credit already, and he makes this team dangerous just by his presence.
They are again the class of their conference, so they will again be well poised to return to the dance - and perhaps to finally get a win. Daum doesn't have to do all the work alone, either. Sophomore guard David Jenkins has a very nice scoring touch and could fit in with bigger programs nicely. And guard Skyler Flatten, who is actually in his sixth year with the program due to past injuries, is an excellent leadership presence.
T.J. Otzelberger is in his third year running the program after a lot of time at Iowa State as an assistant and a stint at Washington. He's very good and only 41 and will be in demand if he can put together another season like he did last year when they went 28-7. It's a good bet he will with Daum leading the way.
Marshall: The Thundering Herd made their first trip to the tournament in 31 years last year, and they made the most of it, beating Wichita State in the first round as a No. 13 before losing to rival West Virginia in their second game. It was a breakout effort for the team coached by Mike D'Antoni's older brother, Dan, for the last three seasons, and there is a good chance it won't be an isolated season.
The driving force here is senior guard Jon Elmore, who has never met a three-point shot he is unwilling to take. He's a dynamic player and a very good scorer who plays a much more well-rounded game than your average 6-foot-3 combo guard from an obscure school. And if you like Elmore then you also like his backcourt mate, C.J. Burks, another high-scoring, dangerous, multi-talented guard.
Few teams in the country can do more offensive damage from the back end, and that makes them very tough to play for. And they know that their window is now - the two guards are seniors and D'Antoni is 71. They should be motivated and dangerous.
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