2023 Conference USA Tournament Betting Preview, Bracket & Odds
Photo by Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Alijah Martin (FAU)
The Conference USA Championship returns to the Ford Center in Frisco, Texas.
This conference tournament tips off on Wednesday and usually features some upsets.
In the past 12 C-USA Tournaments, the regular season champion has failed to win eight times, including three of four in this unique setting.
Florida Atlantic is aiming to buck that trend this season. FAU finished the regular season with a 28-3 record and an 18-2 mark in league play.
The other side of the bracket holds the two primary challengers in UAB and North Texas, but as we’ve seen in the past, there's always the possibility of a surprise in the C-USA Tournament.
This tournament has been held at the Ford Center in the previous four seasons, and it's one of the weirder atmospheres for a conference tournament. The C-USA Women’s Championship is held at the same location, with a drape separating the two tournaments playing games at the same time.
Let’s take a deeper look at some betting strategies for the Conference USA Championship.
2023 Conference USA Tournament Bracket
2023 Conference USA Tournament Odds
Conference USA Favorites
Florida Atlantic Owls
After racking up the most conference wins in C-USA history, the Owls are rolling into the tournament as the worthy favorite. Their 28 victories are the most in program history, but head coach Dusty May has his team set to add to that total in postseason play.
Not only did May’s squad earn a bye with the No. 1 seed, but it's also on the other side of the bracket of the two other favorites.
The Owls' run will begin with the winner of WKU and UTEP in their first game before taking on either Middle Tennessee or Charlotte in the semifinal round.
One of FAU’s two losses in conference play did come against the Blue Raiders, but I really like Florida Atlantic's path to make the championship game.
The Blazers won this tournament a year ago, and you could argue they have the best talent in the conference.
UAB boasts the third-highest scorer in the country in Jordan “Jelly” Walker, who averages 23.2 points per game.
Meanwhile, coach Andy Kennedy has taken a team to the NCAA tournament on three occasions during his tenures at Ole Miss and UAB. He's also won the conference tournament twice.
Kennedy’s program was one of two that knocked off the top-seeded Owls in conference play, which should give them confidence heading into the tournament.
In my opinion, it comes down to the Blazers and Mean Green in the bottom half of the bracket, and I wouldn’t talk anyone off backing UAB in that matchup.
North Texas Mean Green
Before you go placing those Blazers’ futures tickets, I do need to point out that North Texas won both meetings in the regular season.
However, the Mean Green claimed the first win in a game Walker missed, and the other came in a dramatic double-overtime victory that could have gone either way.
Regardless, this program is no stranger to making a run in this tournament under coach Grant McCasland, who won this event in 2021 by winning four straight games.
North Texas gets it done on the defensive end of the floor, ranking inside the top 40 in AdjD (32nd), EFG% (13th) and opponents’ 2-point (16th) and 3-point shooting (33rd), according to Bart Torvik.
The Mean Green are also 63rd in turnover percentage, and the defense keeps them in every contest they play.
C-USA NCAA Tournament Teams
The last time the C-USA was a multi-bid league was all the way back in the 2011-2012 season, when Southern Miss and Memphis both qualified for the Big Dance.
Neither of those programs are in the league anymore, but FAU’s regular season gives the conference a shot at ending that streak.
The Owls are ranked 15th in the NET and are slated as a nine seed in ESPN’s Bracketology and Bracket Matrix. If Florida Atlantic makes it to the title game, I believe the program is set to receive an invite to the NCAA tournament.
The only other program that might consider itself in the hunt would be whoever wins the game between UAB and North Texas, assuming they meet in the semifinal. A victory there would likely cement the winner in the top 50 in the NET, and a loss to FAU shouldn’t hurt the resume too much.
Neither school is named on the bubble — the Blazers are the only other C-USA program listed by Bracket Matrix — but I believe either would be a tough out in March.
C-USA Betting Recommendations
When I look at betting futures in conference tournaments, I start by seeing which side of the bracket has the clearest path to the title game. The best selection in the C-USA is Florida Atlantic at anything plus money.
If the Owls face UAB or North Texas in the final, they will — at worst — be listed at a PK on the spread for -110 odds on the moneyline. I just have a hard time seeing them falling before the championship game.
For a longer shot, it would either be Charlotte (+1300) or Middle Tennessee (+1600), but I believe you have better value at just betting the winner of that game as an underdog against FAU in the semifinal and rolling over the winnings to the final.
If you like either the Blazers or Mean Green on the bottom side of the bracket, I would take this same rollover method for the semifinal and final.
I believe UAB gets revenge in this tournament, but I’ll wait to bet those games individually.