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Three college hoops conference sleepers bettors shouldn't overlook


Conference sleepers that could contend for their league crown

Three college hoops conference sleepers bettors shouldn't overlook | News Article by

The college basketball schedule rolls into conference play as 2018 tips off. The next two months of NCAA hoops basketball betting online will set the stage for the national tournament, and these upstarts could throw a wrench in the plans of their conference rivals.

Here are few conference sleepers that could contend for their league crown and shake things up come Selection Sunday:

Minnesota Golden Gophers (12-3 SU, 7-7 ATS)
The Golden Gophers are a bit of an afterthought in the Big Ten, behind favorites like Michigan State and Purdue. But Minnesota will very much hold its own when conference play begins. Its three losses have come against some tough competition, losing at Nebraska and Arkansas as well as a home stand against a very tough Miami team.

The Gophers can fill up the scoresheet, putting up 83.8 points per game to start the 2017-18 campaign, and returned almost all of their key players from a 24-10 team last year. The Minnesota frontcourt is deep and talented enough to bang with any Big Ten rival and Nate Mason, who has missed time with an ankle injury, is one of the best point guards in the conference when healthy. There is experience here, along with solid coaching from Richard Pitino, and many analyst are projecting a Sweet 16 appearance from Minnesota come March.

Virginia Cavaliers (12-1 SU, 7-3 ATS)
In the ACC it’s tough to get overlooked, what with basketball powers like Duke, North Carolina, and Syracuse drawing most of the eyeballs. That’s just fine with Virginia head coach Tony Bennett, who has made the Cavaliers into consistent contenders in the ACC – thanks in large part to his vaunted defense that is giving up only 52.8 points per game, which ranks tops in the country.

Virginia plays one of the most controlled paces in college basketball – a big reason why they allow so few points. The Cavaliers average only 64 possessions per game – also lowest in the land – and score only 71 points a night. The Cavs can find themselves in tough if they fall behind on the scoreboard early, and are trying to fill the void left by point guard London Perrantes. But don’t knock defense-first teams that can put those high-octane ACC opponents on ice.

West Virginia Mountaineers (12-1 SU, 4-5 ATS)
This was a Sweet 16 team last march and they took the fight to Gonzaga in that game, narrowly losing to the No. 1 seed. The Mountaineers have some question marks with a very young frontcourt, looking to a number of sophomores to mature quickly before Big 12 play begins. So far, so good. West Virginia is one of the best balanced squads in the country, scoring 84.8 points per game (27th) while allowing only 64.6 points against (34th).

Bob Huggins is a master of getting his teams to peak at the right time and will lean on guard Jevon Carter to lead this squad on both ends of the floor. Carter is a proven scorer but also a terrific defender. The Mountaineers already have a win over Virginia and will really make a statement if they can knock off Big 12 frontrunners Kansas and Oklahoma, as well as Kentucky in a non-conference home stand in late January. Bettors may want to grab stock in WVU’s futures odds now – currently sitting at +4,000 to win the NCAA tournament – before those games, as victories will slim the value on the Mountaineers.

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