2019 SWAC Tournament Betting Odds, Preview: Can’t Spell Grambling Without the Gambling

2019 SWAC Tournament Betting Odds, Preview: Can’t Spell Grambling Without the Gambling article feature image

James Snook-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Texas Southern guard Derrick Bruce

  • The 2019 SWAC tournament tips off on Tuesday when all eight teams that qualified will play in a quarterfinal game hosted by the higher seed.
  • The rest of the tournament will take place in Birmingham, Ala. on Friday and Saturday.
  • Top-seeded Prairie View (+140) does not enter the tourney as the betting favorite, as that distinction belongs to defending champion Texas Southern (+130).

The SWAC Tournament has a few format quirks to know. Only the top eight teams qualified for the postseason tourney and all eight will be in action on Tuesday for the quarterfinal games, each hosted by the top four seeds.

Those four quarterfinal winners will have a semifinal round on Friday, March 15, followed the championship on Saturday. While the quarters are played in the higher-seeded teams’ home arenas, the semifinals and championship are played in Bill Harris Arena in Birmingham, Ala.

Mississippi Valley State and Alabama A&M finished in the bottom of the SWAC Conference standings and will not participate in this tournament. Prairie View A&M, Texas Southern, Jackson State and Grambling will each host quarterfinal games against Alcorn State, Southern, Alabama State and Arkansas-Pine Bluff, respectively.

From a historical perspective, either Southern or Texas Southern has won this tournament every year since 2012.

2019 SWAC Tournament Odds, Format

  • Who: Top 8 SWAC teams
  • Format: Standard eight-team bracket (no byes)
  • When: March 12, 15, 16
  • Where: Campus sites for R1 then Birmingham, AL
  • How to Watch: ESPN+, ESPN+
  • Defending Champion: Texas Southern

Who Should Win?

Texas Southern +130

This tournament belongs to the Texas Southern Tigers until further notice.

They split home and home against the No. 1 seed Prairie View A&M (+140), but the advanced metrics show a bigger disparity between the top two seeds, in favor of TSU. Both teams do rank at the top of the conference in offensive efficiency, tempo, two-point field goal percentage and defensive steal percentage.

Prairie View A&M ranks eighth in offensive rebounding percentage and last in the SWAC in opponent offensive rebounds. The Panthers also rank ninth in block percentage and eighth in opponent two-point field goal percentage. In translation, Prairie View A&M doesn’t play a ton of defense.

Also, look at the difference in bench minutes for the two squads, as they are targeted to meet for a third game in five days scenario if the seeds hold. Texas Southern ranks 16th in the nation, getting almost 40% of its playing time from the bench. Prairie View A&M doesn’t have a glaring depth problem, but comes in much worse at 118th in that same measure, which could be an issue during the final.

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