English Premier League
For the most part, the conference winners in the SEC, Big Ten and American are all decided with Alabama, Purdue and Houston set to take home their respective regular season titles, barring an epic collapse. The race in the Pac-12, Big East and Mountain West are much tighter. So today, we're going to focus on the Mountain West and see if there are any teams that qualify as sleepers to win the conference's regular season title.
The first team that sticks out to me is New Mexico at +1200. With those odds, and a 6-3 record in conference play, the Lobos are in a prime spot to offer a big payout at the end of the regular season.
In just his second season as the head coach of New Mexico, Richard Pitino has done quite a bit to turn the program around. The Lobos finished last season with a 13-19 overall record and 5-12 in conference play. With nine games left to play this season, they currently sit at 19-3 overall, well surpassing their number of wins last year.
New Mexico is ranked third in the conference standings behind San Diego State and Boise State and sits just two games back from the top spot. The Lobos have two huge wins over both of those teams, with their victory over SDSU coming on the road. They'll face both Boise State and SDSU one more time this season. A win against either team would go a long way in improving their odds to win the conference.
The other two teams on New Mexico's schedule that could offer a challenge are Utah State and Nevada. Pitino's team lost at Nevada in a double-overtime thriller, so I would expect them to get revenge back on their home court. That leaves five of its last nine games against teams ranked in the bottom half of the conference. If they can win those games, and get a little help from some other teams, the Lobos will be in a great position to take the regular season title.
I especially like New Mexico's chances when you look at the remaining schedule for SDSU and Boise State. The Aztecs have to play Boise State twice, Nevada, Utah State and New Mexico. All but one of the matchups against Boise State are on the road, which is going to make it tough for them to come out unscathed. SDSU's defense has also taken a step back this season when comparing it to previous years. If it doesn't come ready to play in those road games, the Aztecs could fall pretty quickly in the standings.
Boise State's schedule isn't a whole lot easier with games at San Diego State, New Mexico and Utah State. Those are three of the toughest places to win in this league. While BSU's offense has been electric lately, they don't have a ton of size and I worry that could hurt them down the stretch.
With the conference's top two teams having tough remaining schedules, including meeting each other twice, I definitely see some shake-up in the standings over the final month of the regular season. Couple that with the fact that New Mexico has already beaten each team once and I think there is a ton of value for the Lobos to win the Mountain West at +1200.