Conference tournaments begin in a bigger way this week, with many of the smaller, lesser-known ones starting to fill in the automatic bids. For our sports betting, let’s take a look at the best and worst teams from an ATS perspective.
Yes, we love this time of year and while it still won’t be business as usual, we are anticipating March Madness to commence. This week whets our appetite with conference tourney action in the one-and-done format. All the conferences outside of possibly the Atlantic-10 are one-bid leagues and that is where the pressure is.
Under normal circumstances when a conference champion loses before the title game, there is a tremendous disappointment. However, with all the sacrifice needed for this season and to fall short after a terrific regular season, that would be painful.
Of course, there is the other side of the coin for those that also carried the burden without the same results, who could have a magical week and end up going to the Big Dance. That would make it all worth it!
Let’s take a close look at teams that have proficiently beaten the college basketball odds all season heading into tournament play and those who have not at top sportsbooks. Will their betting trends continue into the postseason season or will they drive us nuts and play differently? First, let’s take a look at the best ATS conference tournament teams to track this week.
Drake Bulldogs – 18-5-1 ATS
The Missouri Valley has its own name for their tournament, “Arch Madness”, which is in St. Louis. Drake finished second in the Valley with a 15-3 record in the league and 24-3 record overall. The Bulldogs have been thoroughly impressive all season, winning by 14 points a game and away from home are 10-2 SU and 8-3 ATS.
It would be a major upset if they don’t meet Loyola-Chicago for the championship and unfortunate if both teams don’t receive bids to the Big Dance.
Morehead State Eagles – 17-8 ATS
Those making NCAAB picks have frequently looked toward the Ohio Valley to find spread winners. Yes, Belmont was on everyone’s list, yet, as the season wore on, Morehead State made everyone take notice with their outstanding record against online bookies.
The Eagles were supposed to finish in the lower third of the OVC standings, but thanks to allowing only 63.4 PPG and ranked 44th in defensive efficiency, they finished second in their conference. Though Belmont is the OVC favorite, Morehead State is part of a group of four to six teams that could win it and cover numbers.
Cleveland State Vikings – 16-6-1 ATS
Cleveland State ended up co-champs with Wright State in the Horizon League. That gave the top-seed to the Vikings, who will meet the lowest-seeded opponent with the quarterfinal’s March 2nd. It’s been an incredible year for Cleveland State as most preseason publications had them 10th or 11th in the Horizon. With a 15-4 ATS record in the league, if the Vikings maintain focus, they will set sail for the next tourney.
Belmont Bears – 16-9-1 ATS
Not sure if Belmont was a little disinterested or what, as they lost twice last week on the OVC road to Eastern Kentucky and Morehead State, spoiling their perfect conference record. The Bears are still 24-3 and BookMaker (visit our BookMaker Review) and other sites will have them as heavy favorites to advance to NCAA’s again. Watch for how Belmont plays in their opening contest, it might be a tell-tale sign off of two setbacks.
Now, let’s go over the worst ATS conference tournament teams to track this week.
Portland Pilots – 4-12 ATS
Portland was picked last in the West Coast Conference and they didn’t disappoint with a 0-11 and 1-10 ATS record. The Pilots were 4th from the bottom in all of college basketball in defensive efficiency, while allowing 82.4 PPG. Can you say “one and done”?
Delaware State Hornets – 4-9 ATS
Many might not have heard of Delaware State playing in MEAC. Not many bettors follow that conference and with the Hornets 2-15 SU overall and 0-10 SU in conference action, why would anyone? Delaware State is being hammered by 15.6 PPG and it’s far worse when they are not home, at 23 PPG. They will have a puncher’s chance in their first game on March 7 to cover being large underdogs, but we wouldn’t bet on it.
Charleston Cougars and Towson Tigers: 5-11 ATS
This is the first of two squads from the Colonial Conference. Charleston had a winning record at 6-4 in conference play and 9-9 in all games played. The Cougars have one very distinct weakness that demands you pay attention to the point spreads of their tournament matchups. Charleston is a revolting 1-7 SU and ATS as an underdog, losing by 9.6 PPG. Now you know.
The Tigers from Towson were almost toothless at 4-13 SU and finished 9th in a 10-team conference. One could make the argument that Towson was not awful, with their ATS mark better than their standard record, nevertheless, backing these Tigers would play havoc to your wagering account. With a 2-6 ATS away record and falling by 11.5 PPG, backing them will take some Bill Raftery “onions”.