NCAA basketball: Conference tournament trends

March 1, 2022 07:42 PM

March Madness is more than just the NCAA Tournament. 

In Part 2 of a three-part series on conference tournament betting systems, I offer up angles for tournaments in action over the next seven days (March 2-8), with at least one 60%-or-better angle from each conference. Next week I’ll focus on the remaining tournaments.

These angles focus on three key areas: byes, rounds and line ranges. As a general thought, bettors should understand that byes in conference tournaments are statistically significant, especially when the team on a bye is believed to be better than its opponent. In conference tournaments, favorites with the advantage of a bye are 474-159 SU and 298-254-16 ATS (54%) over the last eight years. Remember that stat anytime you think an underdog might have picked up some momentum from beating a lesser team in a play-in round.


— Round 2 favorites are 14-6 SU and 14-6 ATS (70%) since 2017. Interestingly, outright winners are 20-0 ATS in Round 2.

— Semifinal underdogs are 11-16 SU but 19-5-3 ATS (79.1%) since 2007.

America East

— Double-digit road underdogs in the quarterfinal round are 8-2-1 ATS (77.8%) in the last 11 games.

Atlantic Sun

— Since 2014, single-digit underdogs are 16-10 SU and 20-5-1 ATS (80%), while double-digit favorites are 28-2 SU and 17-12-1 ATS (58.6%).

Big South

— Since 2014, single-digit favorites are 44-13 SU and 37-18-2 ATS (67.3%), including 13-1 SU and 11-3 ATS (78.6%) in the opening round.

Big West

— Keep an eye on the numbers 7 and 7.5. Since 2014, favorites of 7.5 points or more are 15-0 SU and 9-5-1 ATS (64.3%), while underdogs of 7 points or fewer are 23-10-3 ATS (69.7%).

— Semifinal favorites are just 6-8 SU and 3-9-2 ATS (25%) since 2014, although UC Santa Barbara and UC Irvine won in that role last year.

Colonial Athletic

— This is a strange one with a tight requirement: In the last seven years, favorites of -2.5 to -3.5 are a perfect 18-0 SU and 17-0-1 ATS (100%).

— Semifinal favorites are 13-3 SU and 10-5-1 ATS (66.7%) since 2014.

Conference USA

— Favorites of 7 points or fewer are 31-13 ATS (70.4%) since 2014.

— The Under is 21-7 (75%) since 2018.

Horizon League

— In a surprising twist, underdogs of 6 points or more against teams off a bye are 9-4 SU and 10-3 ATS (76.9%) in the last 13 games.

— The last eight semifinal games have gone Under the total (100%).

Metro Atlantic Athletic

— In the last 13 games with a total of 154 points or higher, the Under has gone 12-1 (92.3%).

— Favorites of 2 points or fewer are 10-2 SU and 10-2 ATS (83.3%) since 2014, with the Under going 9-3 (75%) in those games.

Missouri Valley

— Underdogs of 6 points or fewer are 24-16-1 ATS (60%) over the last eight years, including 13-3 ATS (81.2%) in the quarterfinal round.

— Over the last eight years, the Under has gobe 26-11 (70.3%) on totals of 131.5 points or higher.

— Favorites in the championship game have won 10 straight outright (9-0 ATS since 2013).


— Underdogs in the championship game are 13-2 ATS (86.7%) in the last 15 games, including 11 outright upsets.

— Seven of the last eight quarterfinal games went Under the total (75.0%).

Ohio Valley

— Underdogs in the championship game are 10-1 ATS (90.9%) over the last 11 years.

— Eight of the last 10 semifinal games have gone Under the total (80%).

— Favorites of 3 points or more are 10-21-1 ATS (32.3%) over the last seven years.

Patriot League

— Double-digit underdogs are 15-7 ATS (68.2%) since 2012, although the last 13 have lost outright.

— Quarterfinal games are 19-9 (67.9%) to the Over in the last seven years.


— Single-digit favorites in the opening round are 18-7 SU and 18-7 ATS (72%) since 2011.

— Semifinal games are 11-5 (68.8%) to the Over in the last eight years.

Summit League

— Since 2014, totals of 154 points or more are 8-2 (80.0%) to the Under and totals of 130 or fewer are 9-2 (81.8%) to the Under.

Sun Belt

— Teams with the bye advantage are 28-6 SU and 21-11-1 ATS (65.6%) over the last eight years.

— Over the last six years, favorites are 27-10-1 ATS (73%) in early rounds (through the quarterfinals).

Western Athletic

— Favorites are 39-4 SU and 27-16 ATS (62.8%) over the last seven years, including 21-9 ATS (70%) on single-digit lines.

— Favorites in the championship game were on a 9-0 SU and ATS run before Grand Canyon (+ 1) won last year.

West Coast

— Underdogs of 20 points or fewer against a team that had a bye in an earlier round are 15-5-1 ATS (75%) in the last 21 games.

— Quarterfinal underdogs are 14-6-2 ATS (70%) since 2015.

— Favorites in the semifinal and championship rounds are 16-8 ATS (66.7%) over the last eight years.

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