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In the wake of Duke's loss to SFA, bettors should watch out for these mid-major monsters


Mid-major monsters

In the wake of Duke's loss to SFA, bettors should watch out for these mid-major monsters | News Article by

College basketball bettors were given the shock of the century Tuesday night when the Duke Blue Devils lost to mid-major program Stephen F. Austin, 85-83 in overtime as 28-point favorites.

The Lumberjacks are no strangers to Power 5 programs, having been a fixture in the NCAA tournament out of the Southland Conference for a few years, but Tuesday’s win snapped Duke’s 150-game winning streak inside Cameron Indoor Stadium – a stretch that went all the way back to 2000.

Stephen F. Austin will be circled on everyone’s bracket this March –as bet sportsbook– if the Lumberjacks can advance to the national tournament. Here are some other mid-major monsters to keep an eye on as you bet the NCAA basketball odds and roll towards tournament time.

Liberty Flames, Atlantic Sun Conference
The Flames are off to an 8-0 start to the season, having gone 5-2-1 ATS in that stretch. Liberty made waves last March by knocking off Mississippi State in the Round of 64 and fighting hard in a second-round loss to Virginia Tech. The team returned eight of its top 10 scorers from last season, including Caleb Homesley and Scottie James, and plays a methodical pace and lockdown defense – very similar to Tony Bennett’s system in Virginia.

While the Flames schedule doesn’t include many elite tests, Liberty does have upcoming games versus SEC schools Vanderbilt and LSU. Bettors may want to look hard at the Flames in those matchups.

East Tennessee State Buccaneers, Southern Conference
The Buccaneers caught the eyes of the betting public with a hard-fought loss to blueblood Kansas earlier this month, battling the Jayhawks to a 75-63 finish at Allen Fieldhouse and covering as 15-point underdogs. East Tennessee State retuned four starters from last season and its six top scorers, including last year’s super sixth man Tray Boyd III and forward Jeromy Rodriguez. The next best chance to capitalize on the Bucs versus a power program will be a December 18 matchup with LSU.

Vermont Catamounts, America East Conference
The start to the 2019-20 season has been spent on the road for the Catamounts, who have played all but one of their first seven games away from home – including a 61-55 loss to defending national champion Virginia in Charlottesville. Vermont covered as a 15.5-point underdog in that game. It also picked up a win over St. John’s and suffered a recent loss to Rider – another respected mid-major program. Vermont continues its non-conference tour with upcoming games against Yale and Cincinnati, trying to beef up its resume before AM East play begins.

Bowling Green Falcons, Mid-American Conference
Bowling Green has jumped right into the fire this fall, taking on a slew of power-conference opponents. The Falcons’ biggest feather in their cap was a 91-84 overtime win against Cincinnati, in which Bowling Green was pegged as a 6.5-point underdog. The team has faced and lost to Nevada and Louisiana State, but has proven it can run with many major-conference contender. Bowling Green’s stiffest competition will be the grueling MAC schedule and if can withstand that nightly grind.

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