Basketball Picks by KY - Conference Tournament Best Bets


We are now just three weeks aways from the official start of March Madness. I have decided to change things up a bit for the article for the last couple of weeks. Instead of doing analysis on four to five games, I’m going to pick who I think will win the conference regardless of odds and my favorite team with great odds but not the favorite. I will continue to stick to the small conference tournaments for now but if we start hot, I may even delve into the power conference tournaments. I am only going to write about conferences that have good odds and not heavy dominate winners like the Patriot League where Colgate is -260.


Atlantic Sun Tournament 2/27-3/5

Winner: Liberty -225

Favorite Bet: Kennesaw State +400

I got this before this weekend’s game where Kennesaw won the league outright and since then it has dropped to +300. Do I think Kennesaw State can beat Liberty at Liberty? No. Good thing they won’t have to since Kennesaw State is the highest seed.

Also, Kennesaw State is the massive favorite if Liberty were to slip up before getting to their game. In the ASun the top seed gets home court advantage throughout, and this is a great opportunity to capitalize for the Owls.


Missouri Valley Tournament 3/2-3/5

Winner: Drake +150, Bradley +200

I feel like this is a toss-up between these two teams and I don’t even love any of the long shots because of their away records. If I was forced to pick one it’d be Indiana State at +550 but I really do think Drake and Bradley are the superior teams.


Sun Belt Tournament 2/28-3/6

Winner: Any of the top four Marshall, James Madison, UL Lafayette, Southern Miss

Favorite Bets: Southern Miss +550, Louisiana +425

I know I didn’t give much clarity above but that’s because I wish I could put money on the fact that one of the top four teams will win the Sun Belt tourney. The most interesting fact about these odds are the top two teams in conference regular season have the lesser odds of the four. I’ll take that all day when looking at a conference that could go in any direction. These teams are ranked so closely in Kenpom as well, which gives me more confidence chasing the larger odds teams. In order of worst odds to best, Marshall ranks #79 in Kenpom, James Madison #95, Louisiana #97 and Southern Miss at #92.

None of these teams will be at home for this which is located in Pensacola so their chances are all about the same to me with Marshall of course having a very slight edge as the favorites.


Horizon League Tournament 2/28-3/7

Winner: Youngstown State +150

Favorite Bet: Northern Kentucky +350

This is one of my favorites leagues to follow each year because it is almost always close and 2023 was no different. Three teams held 14-6 records while one, Youngstown State (hit that +850 future), finished 15-5.

I agree Youngstown State is the best team in the conference so I’ll stick with them as my pick, but my bet will be on Northern Kentucky. Northern Kentucky is the second-best team in this conference according to KenPom and the final two games are set to be played in Indianapolis where the Norse are less than a two-hour drive away. I expect the fans to show up to the semifinal and finals game which gives them the slight edge in my opinion.


Big South Tournament 3/1-3/5

Winner: UNC Asheville +240

Favorite Bet: Winthrop +1200

First things first, I know it’s easy to just write in the conference winner as the tournament winner, but Asheville won the conference by four games and still has the second-best odds to take the tournament and that’s without mentioning they’re only two hours away from the venue.

That being said, my favorite bet is Winthrop at +1200. The Eagles ended up finishing sixth in conference while being picked to finish second pre-season. They’re hitting their stride at the right time winning four straight which should increase their confidence heading into the tourney. Another piece is that they’ll be a half hour drive away from the games in Charlotte, making these essentially home games.


Summit League Tournament 3/3-3/7

Winner: Oral Roberts -225

Favorite Bet: South Dakota State +340

The only reason this is a write up is because the tournament is a fifty-minute drive from the Jackrabbits campus. Oral Roberts went 18-0 in conference so they’ve deserved to be the heavy favorite but South Dakota State just made it a game with the Golden Eagles this week at home losing by four. They could easily pull out an upset in a home type atmosphere and these odds aren’t bad for taking that chance.


As of the morning of Sunday, February 26th, these were the only odds available to me. Please feel free to reach out to my Twitter @PicksbyKY if you have odds I don’t have yet and want my opinion on any other conference tournaments. I plan to do another 1-2 write ups this week as the other tournaments become available (Northeast, OVC, CAA, SoCon, and WCC start Wednesday and Friday).