NCAA Basketball Picks: MAC Conference Championship Odds

Peter Loshak

Friday, March 7, 2014 7:04 PM GMT

Friday, Mar. 7, 2014 7:04 PM GMT

The 2014 MAAC Tournament has two frontrunners, Iona and Manhattan, both around 2-1 to win the tournament, and then 2 more second-tier choices, Canisius and Quinnipiac, both around 9-2 to win it.

The MAAC tournament does have a recent history of upsets of the #1 seed by the #4 seed in the quarterfinals; that has happened in each of the last 3 tournaments, and last year’s champ Iona was a #4 seed that upset the #1 seed and went on to win the whole thing.

So in light of that, perhaps we should be looking to one of the lower-seeded teams this year for value, and in fact, the #4 seed this year, Canisius, was also the team with the best record against the NCAA Basketball odds in the conference this year, at 18-10 ATS.

But Iona is looking like a very strong frontrunner this year. The Gaels were very consistent on the road, and had decidedly fewer road losses and stumbles than the other contenders this year.

Each of the top 4 seeds has its own unique strength this year. For Iona, it is their hyper-efficient, fast-paced offense. For Manhattan, it is their strong conference-leading defense. Canisius’ strength lies with their star guard Billy Baron, and Quinnipiac’s unique strength is rebounding.

But when everything gets turned up to full blast in the tournament, playing for an NCAA tournament berth, my sense is that Iona’s strengths will prove to be the most important, and that at the current odds, they have the best betting value.

Again, though, if Iona does pull it out, it will break the recent tradition in the MAAC tournament of #1 seeds losing, and if Iona had odds to win the tournament of worse than +100, the value would probably lie with one of the other teams to pull off the upset.

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