2019 Pac-12 Tournament Betting Odds, Preview: Chasing the Huskies
Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Washington guard Matisse Thybulle
- The Pac-12 conference tournament will get underway on Wednesday, March 13 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
- This year's Pac-12 is historically weak for a major conference, making Washington (+250) the heavy favorite.
- Mike Randle offers his best bet to win the conference, as well as a scorching hot sleeper to consider as well.
For the first time since 2013, the Pac-12 regular-season champion was not Arizona or Oregon. The Washington Huskies (24-7, 15-3) dominated the conference, finishing three games clear of runner-up Arizona State.
Having received criticism all season, the Pac-12 is faced with the possibility of being a one-bid league in the NCAA tournament. No major conference has sent only one team to the dance in the past 25 years, but this is a historically bad power conference that was absolutely atrocious during the non-conference schedule.
That said, this is the perfect opportunity for a lower-ranked team to make a run and guarantee a spot in March Madness.
Let’s take a look at this year’s Pac-12 tournament field to try to identify a sleeper that could possibly challenge Washington’s supremacy at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
2019 Pac-12 Tournament Odds, Format
- Who: All 12 Pac-12 teams
- Format: Top 4 seeds receive a bye
- When: March 13-16
- Where: Las Vegas, Nev.
- How to Watch: Pac-12, ESPN, ESPN2
- Defending Champion: Arizona
Opening Round Bet
USC +1 over Arizona: These two teams met on Jan. 24 in Los Angeles, and the Trojans blitzed the Wildcats, 80-57. USC’s interior scorers Bennie Boatwright (18.1 ppg) and Nick Rakocevic (14.9 ppg) combined for 39 points and 24 rebounds in the Trojans win.
USC is also shooting second best from the three-point line in conference play. Its 38.7% efficiency will be valuable against Arizona’s fourth-worst Pac-12 defense from beyond the arc. The Trojans shot 50% (10 of 20) from deep in their first matchup.
The Wildcats offense has been stagnant all year. They are coming off a 29-point loss at Oregon, followed by a 72-64 home loss to in-state rival Arizona State. In its last seven Pac-12 road games, Arizona is only 1-6.
It has been a very disappointing season for the Trojans as well, but this is a shot at new life and I think they are the more talented team. Look for USC’s interior to overwhelm Arizona and eliminate the two-time defending Pac-12 tournament champion.
Most Likely Champion
Washington (+250) is the autopick for the most likely champion. The Huskies always control tempo with their tough zone defense. They are led by two-time conference Defensive Player of the Year in Matisse Thybulle (3.5 spg, 2.2 bpg), and this year’s Pac-12 Player of the Year in sophomore Jaylen Nowell (16.3 ppg).
The Huskies have enjoyed a comfortable lead in the conference all season, jumping out to a 13-1 start. While teams have seen more success against their zone the second time, they still possess the most experienced and talented roster. Seniors David Crisp (12.6 ppg) and Noah Dickerson (12.9 ppg) provide a dual threat on both the perimeter and interior.
Washington defeated every team in the conference except Arizona State, which it only faced once on the road. With a strong head coach in Mike Hopkins, the Huskies are the clear favorite.
The hottest team entering the tournament also provides the best betting value.