2019 Patriot League Tournament Betting Odds, Preview: Can Colgate Finally Return to Big Dance?
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Colgate players celebrating earlier this season in a game at Syracuse
- We're diving into the 10-team Patriot League conference tournament field, which starts on March 5 on PLN, to find value in the futures market.
- Colgate (+120) enters the tourney as the betting favorite, but I actually see a team in the middle of the pack worth taking a shot on.
The Patriot League champion has treated us to three thrills in the NCAA tournament since 2005:
- Bucknell upset Kansas in 2005
- It backed it up the next year with an upset win over Arkansas
- And who could forget C.J. McCollum leading No. 15 seed Lehigh over Duke in 2012?
Bucknell, responsible for two of those three stunners, has won four of the past eight Patriot League conference tournaments, including each of the past two seasons. The Bison are seeking to become only the second team in Patriot League history to win three straight conference tournaments (Holy Cross did it between 2001 and 2003).
During Bucknell’s Patriot League dominance this decade, it has had a few teams that were clearly superior to the rest of the conference. However, that’s certainly not the case this season in a truly wide open league.
Even though Bucknell did tie for first in the regular season, it comes in as the No. 2 seed. It was actually Colgate that secured the top spot, which means home-court advantage. Colgate is looking to punch its first ticket to the dance since it lost (by only 9) to No. 1 seed UConn in 1996.
Let’s take a closer look at this year’s field to determine which program could potentially become the next Patriot League team to pull off a shocker in March.
2019 Patriot League Tournament Odds, Format
- Who: All 10 Patriot League teams
- Format: Single elimination (top six seeds get a bye)
- When: March 5-13
- Where: Campus sites of higher seed
- How to Watch: PLN/CBSSN
- Defending Champion: Bucknell
Who Should Win?
I have to say red-hot Colgate (+120) — which has won eight straight to close out the season. I do honestly believe the Raiders have the best roster, and they will benefit from home-court advantage. And even if they play in one of the smallest venues in college basketball (it seats 1,750), it’s still an edge.
Colgate features a very efficient offense that ranks in the top 25 nationally in effective field goal percentage and from beyond the arc. The Raiders can shoot — and they can rebound when they miss.
That said, the Patriot League is so wide open that I wouldn’t be shocked if Colgate lost its first game against the winner of the 8-9 game between Lafayette and Boston, who each split with the Raiders during the regular season.
Given the wide-open nature of the conference, I see no value in Colgate or Bucknell at under 2-1 odds. And I simply don’t believe in a Lehigh team that went 0-4 against the top two seeds this season. Lehigh also led the country in 3P% at a silly 43.4%, which I just don’t think it can keep up.
I also don’t think the bottom feeders can play consistent enough to make a run, but I do think a team in the middle of the pack holds a ton of futures value.