Conference Tournament Value Bets
LAS VEGAS, NV (The Spread) - This is the week where the mid-majors offer their conference tournaments.
In most of these tournaments, the winner gets the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament and everybody else goes home. In other words, even with 68 teams in the NCAA Tournament, most conferences are going to send just one team to the "Big Dance".
Before these tournament begin, take a look at the future bets, because you can find some great values.
One of those conferences who might end up sending just one team to the NCAA Tournament is the West Coast Conference (WCC). They hold their tournament from Las Vegas and while Gonzaga should be in, BYU has an opportunity to make it as an at-large. They can't afford to lose in the first round to the winner of Portland/Loyola-Marymount.
The BYU Cougars (21-10 SU, 13-5 WCC) have a strong RPI at 35 and beat Stanford, Texas and Gonzaga, but still might need to get to the final, which could be against Gonzaga. The Cougars are +200 to win the West Coast Conference Tournament from Sportsbook.com <" style="line-height: 1.4em;">http://Sportsbook.com> , while Gonzaga is the -125 favorite. BYU is a strong value as a future bet to win the WCC Tournament with so much on the line. It also helps that they have a great player in Tyler Haws, who averages 23.4 points per game. Haws is the type of player who can carry a team in the tournament.
San Francisco (21-10 SU, 13-5 WCC) is the real sleeper in this tournament. They are +600 to win the WCC and they have to win the tournament for them to get in the NCAA's. San Francisco is the third seed, as they open on Saturday against #6 San Diego and would likely face BYU in the semifinals. Unfortunately, the Dons were swept by Gonzaga and BYU this season, but motivation is a very strong factor in these tournaments.
The Colonial Athletic Association Tournament starts on Friday, March 7th with a play-in game. This is a tournament where there will be just one bid to the NCAA Tournament and they might have one team in the NIT (Delaware has an automatic bid for winning the regular season title). Drexel (16-13 SU, 8-8 CAA) looks like the real sleeper, but they have the same odds as Towson (22-9 SU, 13-3 CAA) at +300. Towson has won six straight games and the tournament has been moved to the Baltimore Arena, which is about 15 minutes away from their campus. The Tigers also have the best player in the conference in Jerrelle Benimon, a 6-8, 250-pound Georgetown transfer who could be in the NBA next season.
Another tournament that begins this week is the Horizon League, with Green Bay (24-5 SU, 14-2 HL, 52 RPI) as the favorite at -250. Green Bay (formerly Wisconsin-Green Bay) has an outside shot of making the NCAA Tournament as they do have a home win over Virginia. Cleveland State (21-10 SU, 12-4 HL) has won 10 of its last 11 games with the only loss coming against Green Bay. They have a very tough offense to defend because they have five players that average at least 9.6 points per game and four of those players have made at last 40 three-pointers on the season. Cleveland State is +400 to win the Horizon League and is the best value.
This is the time of the year where you roll up your sleeves and get to work on researching these teams. This is a great time of the year for basketball junkies and bettors alike. If you do the work, you can find some great values in these conference tournaments future bets.