Regular Season Finale Conference Tournament Betting Angles Feb. 26

By Adam Burke  ( 

February 26, 2022 09:47 AM

This week in Point Spread Weekly, I wrote about how conference tournament formats can impact your handicapping at the end of the regular season. With the first round of conference tournaments set to start early next week, I thought I would go through and for some games that fit what I’m talking about.

Some of these are from obscure conferences and are games on the “Added Board”, which should come as no surprise because the earliest conference tournaments are typically small conferences.

Here are a few games and the reasons why they’re on my radar.

Gardner-Webb Bulldogs (-4, 139) at USC Upstate Spartans - The top three seeds are already set for the Big South Conference Tournament, with Longwood, Winthrop and Gardner-Webb locked in. USC Upstate and Campbell are the teams looking to be the No. 4 seed, which is important because the top four teams get a bye to the Quarterfinals. Even though the 5/12 opponent is lowly Charleston Southern, it still means one fewer game. USC Upstate controls its own destiny. If the Spartans win, they are the No. 4 seed. Campbell is a small favorite at home against Longwood. USC Upstate getting points with what’s at stake would be of interest to me.

The Fighting Camels are also a good look against the Lancers, given that Longwood is already locked in and Campbell still has incentive to win.

Loyola Chicago (-2, 137.5) at Northern Iowa; Wagner at Bryant (-2.5, 152) - These two games will decide the winners of their respective conferences. The winner of Loyola Chicago and Northern Iowa gets the top seed in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament, which is a very big edge with the way that the tournament schedule is put together.

Wagner and Bryant are playing for the top seed in the Northeast Conference, where the higher seed has home-court advantage for the duration of the tournament. That conference tournament actually starts on Feb. 28 with the 8/9 game, so the winner here will await the winner in that one.

In games with such high stakes, I tend to look under, since both teams will look to play risk-averse, but Bryant runs at one of the fastest tempos in the country, so I’m not sure they’ll change. That said, I wouldn’t expect Loyola and Northern Iowa to be an 85-58 blowout in favor of the Ramblers, though they are the road favorites.

Tennessee State Tigers at Belmont Bruins (-16, 144) - There is a benefit to being the No. 4 seed in the OVC, because you get a bye to the quarterfinals. SEMO State currently controls that spot and is a big underdog against Murray State. Maybe Tennessee State can take advantage of a disappointed Belmont squad and play well. I’d be looking at the Tigers getting a big number here. Neither No. 4 contender will win today, but it wouldn’t be terribly shocking if both covered with something to play for.

We’ll find more spots like this next week, but you want to get in the habit of trying to identify these types of games.

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