Click on a team for their full betting preview and suggested picks
1. Florida Atlantic (40% Div WP, 29% Conf WP)
Win Division (-158), Win Conference (-103)
Apparently now everyone loves Lane. That wasn’t the case at Alabama, USC, Tennessee… Last season Lane redefined the Kiffin effect to have it be something positive. While we like the Owls to take the conference they are getting way too much love and their is no value in their futures lines.
2. Marshall (29% Div WP, 18% Conf WP)
Win Division (+330), Win Conference (+450)
While it’s difficult for a Herd to sneak up on people that just might happen here. While everyone is focused on Lane Kiffin and the FAU Owls, Doc Holliday has 18 starters back from a quality team last year. Marshall reached the CUSA title game in ’13 and won it in’14 and Holliday might just be able to get them to the title game again this year.
3. Middle Tennessee (19% Div WP, 11% Conf WP)
Win Division (+700), Win Conference (+1050)
An experienced head coach, a senior quarterback, and 17 starters back. Sounds like a formula for success for a team coming off of a winning season. While they aren’t the favorite in the East, the Blue Raiders are legit contenders.
4. Old Dominion (5% Div WP, 3% Conf WP)
Win Division (+2300), Win Conference (+4400)
The Monarch have 16 starers back and should be improved this season. However, improvement won’t be enough to propel them to the CUSA title game. While they do have an outside shot, the odds are not in their favor.
5. Florida International (3% Div WP, 1% Conf WP)
Win Division (+2700), Win Conference (+6600)
FAU, Marshall, and even MTSU have strong teams in CUSA and they are all in the East. The Panthers found their way to a winning record in 2017 but it’s something completely different to find your way to the top of the conference.
6. Western Kentucky (3% Div WP, 2% Conf WP)
Win Division (+3500), Win Conference (+8500)
The Hilltoppers fell off the top of the hill last season under first year head coach Mike Sanford Jr. This team won back-to-back CUSA titles in ’15 and ’16, but lacked the offensive fire power they had under Jeff Brohm and only scored 26 points per game last season. While Sanford should be settled in at his post, WKU only brings back 10 starters so this will be a rebuilding year for Hilltoppers.
7. Charlotte (<1% Div WP, <1% Conf WP)
Win Division (+13500), Win Conference (+50000)
In what amounts to buying a lotto ticket you’re better off buying the lotto ticket instead of picking the 49ers to win the conference. They do have 18 starters back, but last year their loan win came in overtime against UAB.
1. Louisiana Tech (32% Div WP, 12% Conf WP)
Win Division (+245), Win Conference (+1150)
We have La Tech, not North Texas, as the favorite in the West. With 15 starers back this looks like another quality Skip Holtz team.
2. UAB (23% Div WP, 9% Conf WP)
Win Division (+310), Win Conference (+1800)
The Blazers were on fire last year as they re-entered college football. After a two year hiatus, the UAB football program was back and posted an 8-5 record. While they are not our favorite to take the West, they certainly can win it. With FAU on the other side of the conference there is some value in taking the Blazers to win the conference as they might get lucky and not have to face FAU.
3. North Texas (20% Div WP, 8% Conf WP)
Win Division (+225), Win Conference (+1050)
After a few difficult seasons, including a 1-11 campaign in ’15, North Texas was the surprise team in the West last year. With 17 starers back it makes sense why they are the Vegas favorite to take the West for the second straight year. But last year was a bit of an anomaly and the Mean Green lost the conference championship game and their bowl game by a combine score of 47-91 which is much more reflective of this team’s ability. While they could win the West again, don’t expect it.
4. Southern Miss (15% Div WP, 5% Conf WP)
Win Division (+775), Win Conference (+4400)
Markets aren’t efficient and 5dimes proves it with these numbers. The division and conference futures imply Southern Miss has an 18 percent chance of winning the CUSA title game if they make it to that game. While it’s not likely the Golden Eagles will represent the West in the title game we doubt they’ll be 14 point dogs if they do.
5. UTSA (9% Div WP, 3% Conf WP)
Win Division (+925), Win Conference (+5500)
The best thing UTSA has going for them this year is that both Rice and UTEP are in their division. With only 10 starters back we’re forecasting a losing record for the Roadrunners. They do have an outside shot at taking the West, but it’s not likely.
6. Rice (1% Div WP, <1% Conf WP)
Win Division (+5500), Win Conference (+50000)
Mike Bloomgren sustained a successful run attack as the offensive coordinator at Stanford. But this year will be a difficult one for Rice, who was 1-11 last season and looked bad. After the spring game Bloomgren was quoted as saying, “We’re not where we need to be but thank god we’re not where we were.”
7. UTEP (1% Div WP, <1% Conf WP)
Win Division (+7500), Win Conference (+75000)
It’s amazing that anyone would post this play, but that’s what 5dimes does. How likely is it that the Miners will win the conference after not winning a game last season? Well, 5dimes is enticing action at 750:1 which means it won’t happen. In all fairness, our model gives the Miners a 1/10th of one percent chance of taking the conference, so in some realm of possibility it could happen, but it won’t.