2019 Ohio Valley Conference Tournament Betting Odds, Preview: Belmont’s Kryptonite
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Murray State guard Ja Morant
- We're analyzing the 10-team Ohio Valley conference tournament, which starts on March 6 on ESPN+, to find value in the futures market.
- Belmont (+120) enters as the betting favorite, while Murray State has the best player — but it's another team that poses matchup problems for both.
The Ohio Valley Conference Tournament will tip off in Evansville, Ind., on Wednesday — it’s been played at a neutral site since 1992.
This is one of the most highly-anticipated mid-major tourneys, as it features one of the best offenses in the country in Belmont and one of the nation’s best players in Murray State’s Ja Morant. The conference is very top heavy, but both top seeds have to worry about legit threats in Austin Peay and Jacksonville State.
Let’s take a closer look at the field before closing out with the only future I would recommend.
2019 Ohio Valley Tournament Odds, Format
- Who: Top 8 seeds of 12 total OVC teams
- Format: 1/2 seeds get double bye; 3/4 seeds get single bye
- When: March 6-9
- Where: Evansville, Ind.
- How to Watch: ESPN+/ESPN3/ESPNUESPN2
- Defending Champion: Murray State
Who Should Win?
You always have to focus on the top two OVC seeds since they get double byes into the semifinals. No. 1 seed Belmont (-130) has the best overall roster, led by senior guard and NBA prospect Dylan Windler, who averages 21.1 ppg and 10.3 rebounds. The Bruins also have the criminally underrated Rick Byrd, who has remarkably been head coach at Belmont since 1986.
Byrd’s motion offense is a beautiful sight. Belmont really doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses, especially on offense, where it ranks in the top 20 in Adjusted Efficiency and turnover rate. The Bruins are excellent and worthy of at least at-large consideration if they fall short here.
Speaking of pro prospects, No. 2 seed Murray State (+155) is led by projected lottery pick guard Ja Morant — a walking triple-double. The Racers are a one-man band in my eyes, but Morant is one heck of a solo act. Murray State won this tournament last year, but no team has gone back-to-back in the OVC this century.
While most anticipate seeing a Belmont-Murray State final, there is one OVC team that neither wants any part of.