After going 2-1 ATS with our NCAA conference tournament best bets on Friday, I only liked one as a best bet Saturday as it was a relatively easy winner with Memphis covering as a 16.5-point underdog in its 70-60 loss to Cincinnati in the AAC semifinals.
I also had a lean on St. Joseph’s plus 7.5 against Rhode Island in the Atlantic 10 semifinals, but chose not to include it as a best bet (though I hope maybe some readers bet it anyway as St. Joe’s led most of the way and only lost 90-87 to also cover). Note: both games again illustrated what I wrote in Point Spread Weekly on halftime hedge bets as both underdogs were leading and it was a ready-made situation to bet at least some of your game wager back on the much-superior favorite in the second half (and both games ended up middling with the faves rallying to win and cover the second half but not cover for the game).
As for Sunday, we have five conference title games with two being from one-bid conferences (Sun Belt and Ivy League) and two with both teams securely in the NCAA field (AAC and SEC), but that leaves us with one (hopefully) live underdog.
Atlantic 10 championship game
1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT, CBS
Davidson (plus 2.5) vs. Rhode Island: Even with bid thieves like Marshall and San Diego St. bursting the hopes of some bubble teams, Rhode Island is safely in the field of 68. However, Davidson lurks as the last potential bid stealer if it can knock off Rhode Island in the A-10 title game. As mentioned above, Rhode Island barely survived to get past St. Joe’s, so there’s certainly no reason why Davidson – 7-1 SU & 6-2 ATS in their last eight games, including avenging the only loss against St. Bonaventure – can’t do the same. That streak started after a 72-59 loss at Rhode Island on Feb. 9, which they also avenged with a 63-61 win at home a week ago Friday. What gives Davidson a puncher’s chance is its 3-point shooting, averaging just under 11 per game (10th in the nation). Their first 14 shots were from long distance against St. Bonnie’s on Saturday and they went 16-for-29 (55%) from outside the arc. We’re going with the hot hand(s) as they seven players hitting better than 37% from long range. Best Bet: Davidson plus 2.5.