Basketball Picks by KY - Conference Tournament Bets Part II


Heck of a week for the betting article, in fact, that may have been the most exciting week of the year. If you followed along last week, we’ve already hit UNC Asheville at +240 to win the Big South, Kennesaw State at +400 to win the ASun, and Louisiana plays for the Sun Belt championship tonight at +425. We still have Northern Kentucky +350 alive in the horizon (this is still only at +325) and South Dakota State +340 in the Summit. I will try to be more transparent about which bets I’m taking this week, I didn’t bet on Drake or Bradley because anything under +200 doesn’t seem worth it to me, tournaments are a very difficult guessing game.


Big West Tournament

Winner: UC Irvine +250 (Personal choice, coin flip between them and UC Santa Barbara)

Favorite Bet: CS Fullerton +450 OR Hawaii +800

This one is an extremely tough conference and I think anyone in the top five could win. I am taking the bet on UC Irvine, and the reason I put OR above my favorite bet is because Fullerton and Hawaii play one another on Thursday, so I wouldn’t take both.

Remember, these odds are purely analytics driven. If you look at KenPom and compared to odds, they almost always lineup. Yet, sometimes they don’t make the most sense, seeing as third place finishing UC Riverside is +1000 and Hawaii who finished in fifth is +800. I’d be on Riverside if not already being on Irvine, although there’s nothing wrong with taking both, I just decided to go a different direction since they’ll have to play one another if they advance. If you like Santa Barbara, go Riverside as your longshot.

The main reason I am choosing Hawaii over CS Fullerton is I believe the likelihood of CS Fullerton’s six game win streak being extended to nine games is extremely low. This is just a math play for me more than anything, so please make you own decision but I will have UC Irvine and Hawaii for the Big West tournament.


Conference USA Tournament

Winner: Florida Atlantic +140

Favorite Bet: UAB +240

It’s hard to go anywhere outside the top three here where FAU, UAB, and North Texas combined for a 48-12 conference record. You could make arguments for any of the three and because I like to rhyme, I’m going with UAB. Just above I talked about how CS Fullerton riding a six-game winning streak wasn’t for me but here we are with UAB on the same six game streak. The difference here is UAB beat up on the bottom portion of Conference USA whereas CS Fullerton was beating the best of the best in the conference and now they’re going to have to repeat that which is more difficult in my opinion.

UAB found a new gear in the second half of conference play, finishing 10-1 with a double overtime loss at North Texas and a huge win against Florida Atlantic at home.

Here’s the three things that really put them at the top for me: First off, Jordan “Jelly” Walker is one of the best mid major guards in the country averaging 23.2 points per game and shooting 39.1% from three on ELEVEN attempts per game while averaging 33.3 minutes in each contest. Second, Andy Kennedy is a very experience Power Conference coach spending twelve years at Ole Miss and considered a top coach in the mid majors. Last but not least, they shoot 72.8% from the free throw line and we all know that these contests are going to be close and dependent on this stat at some point.


MAC Tourney

Winner: Kent State +150, Toledo +165

Probably not betting on this but just sitting back and watching how this plays out. It’s going to be a battle of opposites if they do end up in the championship against one another. According to KenPom Kent State’s adjusted offense is #132 while their defense is #39 where as Toledo’s adjusted offense is #8 and adjusted defense is #276. For all our sake, I hope this is the championship game we get to see because it’ll be a great one.


WAC Tournament

Winner: Utah Valley +175

Favorite Bet: Southern Utah +700

Funny piece of information, as far as I can tell the WAC website currently has their own conference tournament seeding incorrect. They have Sam Houston as the #1 and they finished a game behind Utah Valley State, so, pay attention to that, I guess?

Anyways, my only bet here will be on Southern Utah at +700. I know they say defense wins championships but I’m riding the longshot with the offense in this case because the offenses of the two teams ahead of them are putrid. Sam Houston State has the #15 ranked defense and #156 ranked offense while Utah Valley has the #35 ranked defense and #137 Ranked offense. Southern Utah isn’t some great juggernaut, but they still have the #87 ranked offense which is much better than either of these two and will be by far the closest to home in Las Vegas.


SEC Tournament

Not picking a winner here, but just wanted to point out how sometimes you can get some really good odds if you look ahead. I have mentioned I am a Mizzou fan so I do pay close attention to the SEC and just two weeks ago I saw I could get some great odds-on Missouri and Vanderbilt.

I wanted Missouri odds because I know they had a cake schedule to finish the season and a double bye was very possible if they won out. Well, they did, and now they have the double bye and I have them sitting at +6500 and it’s all the way to +2500. I wanted Vanderbilt because they quite possibly the hottest team in the conference and the tournament is at home in Nashville. I got their odds at +20000!! They’ve dropped all the way to +3500, so my advice is if you know a conference well, look ahead with about two weeks remaining in the year for some nuggets and you just might get lucky.


One More Thing...

I want to go on a quick rant about analytics, which I do love, but they can be broken. Missouri proved this year that KenPom, Net rankings, etc. have no idea where to place a team that can absolutely crush good teams and also be absolutely crushed by good teams. Missouri currently ranks #55 in Kenpom and #48 in NET. This all while going 5-8 in quad one, UNBEATEN outside of quad 1 at 18-0, and finishing fourth in the SEC at 11-7. Can you say eye test?

They’re being punished for barely beating bad teams in November when they basically brought on an entirely new team outside of Kobe Brown along with a brand-new head coach. Just something to think about when you’re filling out your brackets this year, do your research, because if Missouri somehow lands on that 8/9 line, no #1 seed is going to want to face their offensive breakout potential in the second round where in any game they can shoot 50% from three and beat just about anyone.


Goodluck to all your bets this week and weekend!