We’ve got four conference tournaments starting up this weekend, with the Southern Conference on Friday, the Colonial Athletic Association and the Summit League on Saturday and then the America East Conference on Sunday.
We’ve got a lot of conference tournament coverage going on right now at VSiN, including my Blurbs from earlier this week on those that have already started or will start on Thursday. The NEC, Patriot, Horizon and A-Sun are well underway, while the Big South started on Wednesday and the Sun Belt, West Coast and Missouri Valley start Thursday.
Check out our running best bets article, as well as some trends from Steve Makinen and my five tips for betting conference tournaments.
Let’s look at four more and some very interesting tournaments.
SoCon – The Southern Conference is affectionately known by the SoCon moniker and this is often one of the most exciting mid-major conference tournaments. In past seasons, we’ve had talk of multiple bids from this conference, but that will not be the case this season. It is still a good league, but the top teams aren’t as good as past iterations.
No. 1 Chattanooga leads the field into the Harrah’s Cherokee Center in Asheville, NC, followed by No. 2 Furman and No. 3 Samford. Bart Torvik and Ken Pomeroy do have Furman ranked higher than Chattanooga, but the Mocs won both head-to-head meetings and even won the second one 64-58 despite a 3-of-20 showing from 3.
The Mocs are the best defensive team, but Furman is the best offensive team and ranks in the top 40 in 2P% and top 15 in 3P%. Wofford and VMI are also efficient offensive squads. Wofford only went 10-8 in conference play, but the Terriers were 2-5 in games decided by six or fewer points. They just weren’t a good defensive team.
Usually, you would shy away from the No. 2 seed because of the downside of playing a No. 3 in the semifinals, but Samford or UNC Greensboro would be a better draw than Chattanooga’s likely matchup with Wofford. Not surprisingly, Furman is the + 140 favorite at DraftKings, with Chattanooga second at + 200. The + 500 price on Wofford isn’t good enough, with dog roles against both Chattanooga and Furman. A moneyline rollover would work better there.
While I think Furman wins, UNC Greensboro is a good candidate for a moneyline rollover. The Spartans split with Furman and Chattanooga and should be favored by a point or so in the 6 vs. 3 matchup with Samford. The + 1500 price is likely to be more profitable on a rollover with the Spartans probably + 8 or 9 against Furman and + 6 or 7 against Chattanooga.
A rough rollover might look like:
$100 to win $90 (Samford, around -110)
$190 to win $760 (Furman, around + 400)
$760 to win $1900 (Chattanooga, around + 250)
With some rough math, you’re probably getting UNC Greensboro around 19/1 or 20/1 on a rollover as opposed to the 15/1 on the DraftKings odds.
Colonial – DraftKings has No. 1 Towson priced as the even-money favorite to win the lone bid out of the CAA. The conference tournament is back in Washington D.C. in a 4,200-seat arena, so this one should be pretty neutral for the shooters.
The Tigers secured the No. 1 seed via tiebreakers over UNC Wilmington, who is the luckiest team in the country per Ken Pomeroy. The Seahawks are 12-3 in games decided by six or fewer points, which is a major part of the “Luck Factor” for KenPom. They’re ranked more like the sixth-best team in the conference, but are the No. 2 seed here.
Not only is Towson a deserving favorite here, but the Tigers could be a very dangerous mid-major in the NCAA Tournament if they can win this conference. With a dominant team in the top half of the bracket, the bottom half is where to look for some value. No. 3 Hofstra is a really good team and one I’d pick to beat UNC-Wilmington. The Pride take outstanding care of the basketball and are a very efficient 2-point offense. Their biggest issue is defending the 3, but the best 3-point teams are all in the top half of the bracket.
Towson vs. Hofstra for the auto bid is my projection. If that game comes to fruition, my guess is Towson -3 or -3.5. Hofstra is + 350 at DraftKings, which is a much bigger price than they’ll be in the title game and I think they match up well in the quarters and semis. I think the Pride are worth a look with a chance to possibly guarantee profit with Towson’s short ML favorite price in the title game.
Summit – There may not be much to talk about in the Summit League. Max Abmas has averaged 23 points per game for Oral Roberts, but the team simply hasn’t been the same without Kevin Obanor. As a result, the major story in the Summit is No. 1 South Dakota State, who went 18-0 during the regular season. The Jackrabbits lead the nation in eFG% offense and 3P%.
This is a conference full of high-scoring offenses and next to no defense. No. 2 North Dakota State is the best defensive team in the conference by a decent margin and lost by four in each of the games against South Dakota State. No other teams have a chance to win this conference tournament in my estimation.
SDSU’s dominance leaves very little futures value, though. DraftKings has the Jackrabbits at -175, with Oral Roberts the second favorite at + 500 and North Dakota State at + 550. South Dakota State was -3 on the road against NDSU and -9 at home, so they’ll likely be -6.5 or maybe -7 in a potential title game. Rather than mess with NDSU and Oral Roberts in the semifinals, you could just take the ML price for the title game if you like the Bison. Otherwise, options are limited here besides laying the -175 on South Dakota State.
America East – The America East Conference is known for two things – Vermont basketball and UMBC in the 16 vs. 1 upset of Virginia. It would be a complete shocker if a team other than Vermont won this league. The Catamounts are dominant in every way in this league and also have home court advantage throughout.
The seeds aren’t quite set because UMass Lowell and Hartford play on Thursday. Stony Brook is changing conferences, so they aren’t playing in the conference tournament. Vermont will be priced as a very heavy favorite here, but the price still may not be high enough.