2019 Missouri Valley Conference Tournament Betting Odds, Preview: Betting Against History
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Marques Townes
- The 10-team Missouri Valley conference tournament starts on Thursday night with two first round matchups in St. Louis, MO.
- Defending champion Loyola Chicago (+180) is the favorite to repeat in what has has historically been a very chalky tournament.
- We will take a look at Loyola's chances and examine a long shot possibly worth betting — despite what history says in the Valley.
The Missouri Valley conference tournament — aka Arch Madness — will tip off on Thursday night in St. Louis when the four bottom seeds battle it out in the first round.
Historically, this tournament has been very chalky; 39 of the 42 previous winners have been a top three seed. However, this was a down year in the Missouri Valley and feels more wide open than usual. In fact, this was the first time ever that the regular season champion lost six conference games.
Let’s take a look at the bracket and see whether or not it might be worth going against history and taking an MVC long shot.
2019 Missouri Valley Tournament Odds, Format
- Who: All 10 MVC teams
- Format: Top 6 seeds get a bye
- When: March 7-10
- Where: St. Louis, MO
- How to Watch: CBS/CBSSN/ESPN3
- Defending Champion: Loyola
Who Should Win?
Loyola-Chicago (+180), which won both the MVC regular season crown and Arch Madness title last season, returns as the No. 1 seed and favorite once again.
Although the Ramblers (19-12, 12-6) don’t present much futures value, I give them the edge because of their sound defensive traits. Led by 6-foot-9 Cameron Krutwig, they own the highest defensive rounding rate (20.9%) across college basketball. Their defense grinds down the opposition, as their opponents average the nation’s fourth-highest possession length (19.0 seconds).
Moreover, guard Lucas Williamson — their best on-ball defender — returned for their final two games after missing the previous 10 with a broken hand. Loyola really missed the 6-foot-4 sophomore’s tenacity on the defensive end. His presence will loom large as the tournament progresses.
At the other end, Loyola wing Marques Townes (15.9 points per game) — the conference player of the year — has developed into one of the most underrated all-around playmakers in college basketball.
The Ramblers will start with a very beneficial scheduling spot, as the winner of the 8/9 game on Friday night will have a quick turnaround to play Loyola at noon ET on Friday. The No. 1 seed is 28-0 in that game in the 28 MVC tourneys held in St. Louis.
The No. 1 or 2 seed has won six of the past seven Arch Madness titles — a streak the Ramblers are in prime position to continue.