2020 Big West Tournament Betting Preview (March 12-14)

THE FORMAT

8 of 9 teams make the field.  All games played in Anaheim. The field is reseeded after the quarterfinals, which can make things tough to predict. They start on Thursday and end Saturday night. They start on Thursday and end with the Saturday night/Sunday morning 12 am EST, degenerate special. Watching the champ game late Saturday night with a buzz/blackout going knowing we’ll have an NCAA Tournament bracket in less than 24 hours is a great feeling.

The quarters and a semi are on ESPN3, one semi is on ESPNU, and the champ game is on ESPN2.

THE BRACKET

Big West

THE ODDS

Favorite

UC Irvine -110

Other Contenders

UC Santa Barbara +325

Darkhorse Candidates

Hawaii +650

Cal State Northridge +950

UC Riverside +975

UC Davis +1000

Unfortunately Irrelevant

Cal State Fullerton +2200

Long Beach State +4000

WHO TO BACK

NCAA Bracket Maximizer

Irvine has been the class of the league for the better part of a decade now. They beat Kansas State a year ago and nearly took down Louisville in 2015 in the two years they won the bid. Those were both 4/13 games. They’re the best team again. I can’t even really muster a case for anyone else.

Best Bet

CSUN +950 (0.1u)

This league is so unpredictable. It feels like Irvine always wins, but they’ve only done it twice in the recent past. I’ll take the surging Matadors who have the POY in Lamine Diane. This does mean we’re counting on Mark Gottfried to win three games in a row, which is admittedly dicey.

2020 WAC Tournament Betting Preview (March 12-14)

THE FORMAT

8 of 9 teams make the field. Cal Baptist still isn’t eligible for the postseason so they have to sit out, which sucks because they’re the only team remotely close to NMSU. Standard bracket otherwise, with games starting on Thursday and finished by Saturday in Las Vegas. First couple rounds are on ESPN+ with the championship being shown on ESPNU.

THE BRACKET

WAC

THE ODDS

(taken from MyBookie)

Favorite

New Mexico State -220

Other Contenders

None

Darkhorse Candidates

Seattle +600

UMKC +850

UT Rio Grande Valley +1200

Utah Valley +1300

Cal State Bakersfield +1500

Grand Canyon +2200

Unfortunately Irrelevant

Chicago State +9000

WHO TO BACK

NCAA Bracket Maximizer

It’s not even worth discussing because New Mexico State is the only team who matters in this tournament. If I had to pick a replacement, I’ll choose Seattle because Terrell Brown is a one-man wrecking crew. It can get very confusing because NMSU also has a Terrell Brown.

Best Bet

NMSU -220 (4.4u to win 2u)

There is not a better time to exemplify “anything can happen” more than this very moment…but this is a great price. The Aggies were 16-0 in the league. The second place team can’t even participate. That means the #2 seed in this tournament finished a full SEVEN (7) games behind NMSU in the standings.

The difference between NMSU and #2 seed UTRGV is 157 KenPom spots. Seattle is probably the actual biggest threat, but they still have to go through Utah Valley and probably UTRGV to even get a shot at the Aggies. They would be 10-14 point underdogs.

Just to drive the point home even more, not only have the Aggies been clearly the best team all year, this is the trend line map from Bart Torvik over the last month:

WAC map

UMKC is the only team that makes me slightly nervous on NMSU’s side of the bracket. They’ve played the Aggies tough this year, but they have to beat Grand Canyon just to have a chance.

Sometimes the favorite has the most value and I think this is one of those times. Aggies should be like a -500 favorite.

2020 AAC Tournament Betting Preview (March 12-15)

THE FORMAT

All 12 teams make the field, Top 4 get byes. Games are all played in Fort Worth. Games start on Thursday and end Sunday.

First round is on ESPNU. Second round is on ESPN2 and ESPNU. Semis on ESPN2. Final on ESPN.

THE BRACKET

AAC

THE ODDS

(taken from 5Dimes)

Favorite

Houston +180

Other Contenders

Cincinnati +325

Wichita State +400

Memphis +675

UConn +1100

Tulsa +1150

SMU +1500

Darkhorse Candidates

Temple +4500

South Florida +4500

UCF +4500

Unfortunately Irrelevant

Tulane +12500

East Carolina +22500

WHO TO BACK

NCAA Bracket Maximizer

Excluded: Houston

Both Wichita and Cincinnati are on the bubble and may reach the tournament without winning the AAC Tourney. They’re both fine teams, but I can’t say I’m dying to see either in the bracket. We’ve seen better from both programs.

Memphis obviously has the young exciting talent, but they haven’t been very impressive away from home.

I’ve enjoyed watching UConn lately despite their injuries. They have a certain toughness that makes them fun to watch and the guard play’s decent.

Best Bet

UConn +1100 (0.1u)

I just really like this team at this price when you can poke holes in all of the top teams. The offense has made major strides lately and they’re a guard-dominated team. Obviously it sucks that they have to play the first round and that the quarters and semis will likely be played against the two teams on the bubble right now. But this Huskies team has proven itself to be good enough to play in the tournament and I think they smell blood in the water right now. They’ve gone 9-3 down the stretch with the only losses being nailbiters on the road. FWIW, no fans can only help an East Coast team playing a “neutral” tournament in Texas.

2020 C-USA Tournament Betting Preview (March 11-14)

THE FORMAT

12 of the league’s 14 teams make the field, Top 4 get byes.

The tournament is in Frisco, Texas and they’re still doing that thing where they play two games simultaneously in the same building like an AAU Tournament. Part of this is because they hold the women’s tournament at the same place and you can’t really play eight games in the same day in one venue.

The other part of it is the C-USA being the most hipster, trendy conference out there with the tournament setup and the whole podding thing they do at the end of the regular season.

Anyway, they start Wednesday and finish on Saturday.

The first round is on ESPN+, the quarters are on Stadium/Facebook and the last two rounds are on CBS Sports Network.

THE BRACKET

CUSA

THE ODDS

Favorites

Louisiana Tech +195

North Texas +215

Other Contenders

Western Kentucky +330

Darkhorse Candidates

Charlotte +1425

Marshall +1425

FIU +2300

Old Dominion +2500

UAB +2500

UTEP +2500

FAU +5000

Rice +6000

UTSA +6500

Unfortunately Irrelevant

None

WHO TO BACK

NCAA Bracket Maximizer

Any of the Top 3 would be a good addition to the field. North Texas took their lumps with a really difficult non-con schedule and it paid off with a league title. Grant McCasland has dug his claws in after the uptempo Johnny Jones and Tony Benford eras and turned this team into one of the most deliberate offensive teams in the country. It’s worked. They’re the most efficient offense in C-USA and they have the best player in the league.

LA Tech only plays one guy over 6’8″, but their guards are tough and have a ton of experience together. They’re good enough to at least win a game.

WKU’s done well for themselves after losing Charles Bassey early in the season and had Camron Justice in and out of the lineup.

Best Bet

North Texas +215 (0.6u)

It physically pains me not to take LA Tech, but when there’s better return on the Mean Green and they likely have to meet WKU in the semis, my hands are tied.

Charlotte did just beat North Texas to finish the Mean Green’s season, but I don’t think you can put much stock into it. NT had already wrapped up the conference championship and the 1 seed. They had nothing to play for. Charlotte’s quite a different team away from home anyway.

 

2020 SEC Tournament Betting Preview (March 11-15)

THE FORMAT

All 14 teams make the field, Top 10 get byes, Top 4 get a double bye. Starts on Wednesday, ends on Sunday. All games played on a neutral floor in Nashville. I will not make another joke this year about that being an advantage for Vanderbilt before laughing and pointing out the Dores are terrible. They at least won a game this year.

All the games are on SEC Network or ESPN.

THE BRACKET

SEC

THE ODDS

(taken from MyBookie)

Favorite

Kentucky +125

Other Contenders

Auburn +375

LSU +550

Florida +600

Darkhorse Candidates

Mississippi State +800

Arkansas +1800

Alabama +2500

Tennessee +2200

South Carolina +3500

Unfortunately Irrelevant

Texas A&M +7500

Missouri +7500

Ole Miss +7500

Georgia +10000

Vanderbilt +50000

WHO TO BACK

NCAA Bracket Maximizer

Excluded: Kentucky, LSU, Auburn, Florida

There’s been several teams around the fringes of the bubble lately, but the clear answer for me here is Arkansas. It’s the Muss Bus, what else is there to say? They play nobody over 6’8″, the guards are really good, and a healthy Isaiah Joe means we get to see Isaiah Joe launch threes at a prolific rate.

Alabama is a fairly close second, provided they’re healthy. They fly up and down the court, Kira Lewis leads a great backcourt, and Herb Jones is one of the best defenders in the country.

Best Bet

Auburn +375 (0.4u)

Took a long look at Kentucky, but I’ll roll with the defending champion Tigers. Auburn can lay some duds, but here’s hoping going back to this venue will give them some good vibes. Part of the hope is that maybe playing in the same arena every day will get them in to a shooting comfort, unlike one-off road games that have led to some woeful shooting efforts.

They lost their best players from last year, but they still have five seniors and included in that is an actually healthy Austin Wiley this year. Isaac Okoro should be fully healthy now and he’s a physical, defensive force that can make a big difference for this team.

They were 0-2 against Mizzou and A&M this year, so that quarters game will be no walk in the park. Anybody could meet them in the semis (except Vandy), but offense-only LSU doesn’t really make me nervous, Arkansas would be on their fourth straight game, and South Carolina just isn’t very good. At that point, you just hope UK’s already lost. If not, they split the series this year, so it’s certainly a winnable game, but the crowd will certainly be heavy in the favor of BBN.

2020 Big 12 Tournament Betting Preview (March 11-14)

THE FORMAT

All 10 teams, Top 6 get byes, starts Wednesday, ends Saturday, and it’s in Kansas City (aka the second home of the Kansas Jayhawks). All games will be on ESPN, ESPN2, or ESPNU.

THE BRACKET

Big 12

THE ODDS

(taken from DraftKings)

Favorite

Kansas +100

Other Contenders

Baylor +300

West Virginia +400

Darkhorse Candidates

Texas Tech +800

Oklahoma +1800

Texas +4000

Unfortunately Irrelevant

TCU +5000

Oklahoma State +15000

Kansas State +15000

Iowa State +20000

WHO TO BACK

NCAA Bracket Maximizer

Excluded: Baylor, Kansas, West Virginia

Texas Tech is somewhat suddenly on the bubble with a four game losing streak. The tournament needs Chris Beard. Oklahoma is probably going to be in even if they lose to WVU and I’m not going to be outraged if they get in, but I’m not dying to see it either.  Texas wouldn’t be terrible because they’ve been playing well late in the season and Matt Coleman is a delight to watch when he’s in control of a game. But in order to get in, they very likely need to beat Tech and I’d rather see the Red Raiders.

Best Bet

Kansas +100 (1u)

On a bit of a run with favorites, but I just can’t pass on the Jayhawks at even money when they’re playing at the Jayhawk Invitational. Not since 2012 has KU missed the championship game without a major injury involved. A few years ago they got upset by TCU in the first round when Josh Jackson sat out. Years before they lost in the second round when Joel Embiid got hurt late in the year.

Assuming they don’t ban the fans last minute, playing in Kansas City is always a big advantage for Kansas. It’s just so hard not to take them when their main competition — Baylor and WVU — have been fading late in the season.

 

2020 Southland Tournament Betting Preview (March 11-14)

THE FORMAT

Only 8 of 13 teams make the field, which I love. The Top 4 get byes and the Top 2 get double byes, which I also love. All games are played on a neutral floor in Katy, TX. Starts Wednesday and is done by Saturday.

First three rounds are on ESPN+ and the championship is on ESPN2 Saturday night.

THE BRACKET

Southland

THE ODDS

(taken from MyBookie)

Favorite

Stephen F. Austin -175

Other Contenders

Abilene Christian +300

Nicholls State +575

Darkhorse Candidates

Sam Houston State +1000

Lamar +2500

McNeese State +3000

Northwestern State +5500

Texas A&M CC +6000

Unfortunately Irrelevant

None

WHO TO BACK

NCAA Bracket Maximizer

SFA, obviously. They were a bucket away from running the table in league play and beat Duke. It’s tough to give much of a compelling pitch for anyone else.

Best Bet

SFA -175 (1.75u to win 1u)

If Abilene was fully healthy, I’d probably be more likely to take them, but they’re not and they just lost on senior day to the Lumberjacks when SFA really didn’t have anything to play for.

SFA is 28-3, they’ve won 15 straight, they beat Duke, and they only have to win two more games to finish this off. Kevon Harris is the best player in the league. The Jacks will only have to play one of the Top 3 in what’s largely been a three-team league.

2020 Big East Tournament Betting Preview (March 11-14)

THE FORMAT

All 10 teams, Top 6 get byes, games start Wednesday and end Saturday. Games are played in Madison Square Garden. Hard to beat.

First three rounds are on FS1, championship game is on Saturday night on FOX.

THE BRACKET

BE

THE ODDS

Favorites

Villanova +270

Other Contenders

Creighton +340

Seton Hall +340

Butler +525

Providence +675

Marquette +850

Darkhorse Candidates

Xavier +1600

Unfortunately Irrelevant

St. John’s +4000

Georgetown +7000

DePaul +12500

WHO TO BACK

NCAA Bracket Maximizer

Excluded: Creighton, Villanova, Seton Hall, Butler, Marquette, Providence

Xavier is the obvious choice because they’ve been the best and Naji Marshall only hits big shots. But St. John’s also has some talent that can be explosive. Georgetown has been marred by departures and injuries and has beat really good teams at times.

Best Bet

Providence +675 (0.2u)

I can’t take anybody but the Friars here. This is going to be an absolute slugfest of a tournament and I can’t wait.

Providence opens with Butler. The Bulldogs have good guards and Kamar Baldwin is a killer, but they’ve lost a couple guys and the interior presence is lacking.

The likely semis matchup if the Friars make it is Creighton. I like the Bluejays, but Marcus Zegarowski is out for them and that’s a big blow.

If the Friars reach the finals, it’s not going to be an easy game at all. It’s likely to be either Seton Hall or Villanova, two teams that I really like. But Providence has beaten both of them recently and is playing as well as anybody.

2020 Big Ten Tournament Betting Preview (March 11-15)

THE FORMAT

All 14 teams make the field, Top 10 get byes, Top 4 get a double bye. All games played on a neutral floor in Indianapolis. Starts on Wednesday and is the last game played on Sunday before the selection show.

First three rounds are on BTN, with the semis and championship game being played on CBS.

THE BRACKET

B10

THE ODDS

Favorite

Michigan State +300

Other Contenders

Maryland +400

Wisconsin +575

Illinois +800

Ohio State +890

Michigan +925

Iowa +1050

Penn State +1300

Darkhorse Candidates

Rutgers +1650

Purdue +1750

Indiana +2750

Minnesota +3000

Unfortunately Irrelevant

Nebraska +50000

Northwestern +50000

WHO TO BACK

NCAA Bracket Maximizer

Excluded: Maryland, Michigan State, Penn State, Ohio State, Iowa, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Rutgers

There’s really not a lot to choose from with all the auto bids the league is likely already getting. You can also eliminate Nebraska and Northwestern because they have no chance and no one wants to see it anyway.

Both Purdue and Minnesota have flashes of greatness, but neither is super fun to watch. The Gophers have more star power though.

Best Bet

Michigan State +300 (0.5u) — DraftKings
Michigan +1000 (0.2u) — Sportsbook.ag

The Spartans are one of the hottest teams in the league, have one of the most talented teams, get a double bye, have probably the best coach, and have Cassius Winston. The role guys appear to be peaking right now. I’d be kinda shocked if they didn’t win this.

Michigan is my muse and I’ll never quit them. The bracket also sets up well nicely for them. Health has been up-and-down, but they should be good now. They’re the only team to win at Rutgers this year, their first round opponent. They recently lost at home to Wisconsin, but I like their ability to make tough shots and they’ll be more comfortable in Indy after playing a game than the Badgers will. Illinois is a tough matchup for them, but isn’t a lock to make the semis. I’d love them against Iowa.

2020 Pac-12 Tournament Betting Preview (March 11-14)

THE FORMAT

All 12 teams make the field, Top 4 get byes. All games on a neutral court in Las Vegas. Starts on Wednesday and concludes with a late Saturday night championship game.

Most of the games are on the Pac-12 Network, except one quarter, one semi and the championship are on FS1. On a related note, I hate Larry Scott with the fire of a thousand suns.

THE BRACKET

Pac 12

THE ODDS

Favorite

Oregon +200

Other Contenders

Arizona +350

Colorado +400

UCLA +700

Darkhorse Candidates

USC +1000

Arizona State +1400

Stanford +1400

Washington +4000

Oregon State +5000

Unfortunately Irrelevant

Cal +10000

Washington State +10000

Utah +10000

WHO TO BACK

NCAA Bracket Maximizer

Excluded: Oregon, Colorado, Arizona, Arizona State, USC

It’s insane that UCLA nearly won the league and is still not locked into the field. Times were tough the first two-and-a-half months of the season, but it’d be great to see them in the dance with the way they’ve played down the stretch.

Stanford is on the bubble. They weren’t very good for nearly an entire month, but the promise they showed in the non-con makes you think they might be able to at least win a game in the tournament.

Best Bet

Oregon +200 (0.6u)

I never thought I’d be here betting on the Ducks to win this, but this is another trust bet. I’ve been a doubter of Oregon — still am, by the way — but this is a league full of untrustworthy teams.

I think eight teams can legitimately win this thing, but no one outside of the Ducks have the best coach in the league and the best player in the league, who also happens to be a veteran guard that is at his best when the game is on the line.

Also working in the Ducks’ favor: I think they’re the only team that will play a game in the quarters against a team that doesn’t have the potential to win the whole thing.