2019 America East Tournament Betting Odds, Preview: Will UMBC Get Another Shot?
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: UMBC forwards Arkel Lamar (33) and Joe Sherburne (13)
- The America East conference tournament starts on Saturday with four quarterfinal games on ESPN+.
- Led by star forward Anthony Lamb, Vermont (-230) is the betting favorite to secure the automatic bid.
- Last year's cinderella UMBC is an intriguing option at +1150, but I think another team is the smarter futures bet.
The America East Tournament starts on Saturday with all four quarterfinal matchups. While the conference hasn’t won many tournament games this century, it has provided us with three of the more memorable March Madness moments since 2005:
- 2005: No. 13 seed Vermont upsets Syracuse (from the parking lot in OT)
- 2006: No. 16 seed Albany led UConn 50-38 with 12 minutes left
- 2018: UMBC became the first 16 seed to beat a No. 1 when it stunned UVA
Does the America East champ have more magic up its sleeve?
We will get to that on Selection Sunday, but let’s first focus on the conference tournament futures odds.
2019 America East Tournament Odds, Format
- Who: Top eight America East seeds (New Hampshire DNQ)
- Format: Single-elimination (no byes)
- When: March 9, 12, 16
- Where: Campus sites (higher seeds host with re-seeding)
- How to Watch: ESPN+/ESPN2
- Defending Champion: UMBC
Who Should Win?
Vermont (-230) is the clear favorite, as it seeks its fourth-straight championship appearance (1-2 record). The Catamounts have the league’s best player in Anthony Lamb (20.8 ppg, 8.0 rpg) and steady fifth-year senior Ernie Duncan in the backcourt. While Vermont has plenty of depth, everything goes through Lamb, who will get his against any America East team.
Vermont went 14-2 in league play, with both losses coming against UMBC. However, Lamb didn’t play in the first meeting — and Vermont shot a paltry 4-24 from deep in the second. Still, that’s three straight losses to UMBC, including last year’s title game. It might be part-mental at this point. The good news for Vermont is if the seeds hold, it couldn’t face UMBC until the final.
Bottom line, Vermont is the best team in the conference by a wide margin. It had the most efficient defense and second-most offense in conference play — and will play every game at home, where it will likely be favored by at least eight points vs. any opponent.
Let’s explore the rest of the field for any potential futures value.