ASUN Tournament Betting Preview, Bracket & Odds: 3 Futures, First-Round Preview & More
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The Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament kicks off on Tuesday. With five teams finishing conference play with 10 or more league wins, this event is wide open.
The bracket is different than most of the other conference tournaments in college hoops. All 12 teams are featured and are divided into two divisions. The top two teams get byes into the quarterfinals, with the higher seed hosting each game.
But once we get to the semifinals, the divisions are done away with, and the four teams are re-seeded. The original seed number decides the re-shuffling, but the overall conference record determines the same-seed tiebreakers.
Here’s the current bracket:
ASUN Tournament Bracket, Schedule & Odds
ASUN Conference Tournament Odds
ASUN Basketball Tournament Overview
Liberty has won the last three conference tournaments, but Jacksonville State won the regular-season title and has secured home court advantage the entire way as the No. 1 overall seed.
The Flames will have home court — unless they meet JSU in the final — and despite being the second overall seed, they remain the betting favorite.
Also worth noting: North Alabama and Bellarmine cannot earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament by winning the conference tournament. Both teams are still in the four-year transition process from Division-II.
If either North Alabama or Bellarmine wins the ASUN Basketball Tournament, then Jacksonville State would be awarded the bid to the NCAA Tournament as the No. 1 seed.
ASUN Tournament Futures
Liberty has dominated the Atlantic Sun in recent years. Even when challenged by teams like North Alabama last year and Lipscomb in the two years prior, the Flames always came out on top.
Not being the No. 1 overall seed doesn’t change much for the Flames, either. They won in 2019 as a two-seed.
Can Jacksonville State, or anyone for that matter, end Liberty’s reign?
There are three teams in the ASUN that I feel can win the tournament, and I will be placing futures on.
The Gamecocks’ first year in the Atlantic Sun has been one to remember. After winning the regular-season title, they now look to keep the ball rolling in the conference tournament as the No. 1 overall seed.
The Gamecocks ended the regular season on a four-game win streak, and have been the best 3-point shooting team in the ASUN.
Three different Gamecocks average 10 or more points per game on the offensive end, but they’re led by Darian Adams (15 PPG). Those same three are also shooting 39% or better from 3-point range.
Jacksonville State is also second in the conference in rebounds — averaging 37.1 per game — and offensive efficiency.
Defensively, Jacksonville State ranks third in the conference in scoring, holding teams to just 67.6 points per game. It’s also third in the conference in defending 2-point shots.
But there are some glaring issues for this Jacksonville State team. It may have only lost three conference games the entire season, but all three of those games came against significantly inferior opponents.
The common denominator in all three losses was the Gamecocks shooting 31% or worse from deep.
The Gamecocks are also one of the worst teams at the free throw line in the conference. Ranking 10th out of 12 teams, the Gamecocks made just 67.5% of their attempts.
Securing home court for the length of the conference tournament might not be as big of an advantage from a wagering perspective either. JSU is just 6-5 ATS at home this season.
No team has won the ASUN Conference Tournament four times. Liberty will try to change that this season, and as the second overall seed and wagering favorite, many think it will do it.
The Flames have the most impressive non-conference wins in the ASUN, beating Missouri and Northern Iowa earlier this season. However, in their only meeting with the regular-season champion Jacksonville State, they lost at home, 77-67.
They are also coming off of a concerning end to the regular season, as they lost 82-72 in OT at home against FGCU and barely escaped Kennesaw State in overtime.
Regardless of whatever challenges it faced throughout the season, Liberty has excelled in the conference tournament year after year.
This year, the Flames rank first in ASUN play in both offensive and defensive efficiency. Led by the conference’s leading scorer in Darius McGhee, Liberty is a deserving favorite to win this event.
Like the Gamecocks, the Flames have struggled to cover the number at home (4-7 ATS as a home favorite).
However, Liberty has been profitable on the total this season. The over is 11-4 in Liberty conference games and 8-3 in home games. With home court secured in any game other than a potential final matchup with Jacksonville State, this is something I will be monitoring.
The Screaming Eagles were impressive in non-conference play — starting the season 10-4 — but they struggled in the first half of conference play, ending January at 3-5.
The Eagles flipped the switch in February, though.
FGCU went 7-1, beating teams by an average of 9.8 points per game, including a win over Liberty on the road.
The Eagles are hot at the right time, and can pull off some serious upsets in the conference tournament.
Florida Gulf Coast has averaged 82 points a game over the last month and held teams to just 73.7.
The Eagles also have a favorable draw in the tournament — first against North Alabama, who they beat by 32 earlier this season, and then Bellarmine, which beat FGCU in their only meeting this year, but has struggled overall.
FGCU is 14-13 ATS on the year, but 5-3 over the last month.
The Eagles are also another profitable team on the over (17-11 for the year). The over is also 10-6 in FGCU conference games, and 3-1 when the Eagles are an away underdog.
Other Teams To Watch
One team I won’t be wagering on myself, but I feel requires some recognition, is North Florida. Much like FGCU, the Ospreys seem to have turned a corner in the last month. They beat all three teams I mentioned above in the month of February.
In conference play, North Florida has been the best team in defensive efficiency and 2-point defense. But the Ospreys are +12000 for a reason. They own the second-worst offense in the ASUN, which was put on display in their 71-39 loss to Jacksonville this past week.
Also, they have a tough draw. If they advance past the first round, their second game will be against the two-seed and betting favorite Liberty.
Jacksonville is third in the odds, but I think it has benefited dramatically from wins over the league’s bottom half and late-game variance against genuine contenders.
Like North Florida, the Dolphins are an excellent defensive team with a seriously lacking offense.
I don’t see them making it past the semifinals.
Make sure to shop around on conference tournament future odds, as there can be serious line variance.
Liberty +130 (DK) 2 units to win 2.6 units | Would bet Liberty as low as +110
Jacksonville State +200 (Wynn) 1 unit to win 2 units | Would bet as low as +150
FGCU +2500 (DK) 0.25 units to win 6.5 units | Would bet as low as +1400
Other Betting Angles
Jacksonville and North Florida have been the two best teams ATS in conference games. The Dolphins cover at a rate of 75% by an average of 3.4 points.
Meanwhile, the Ospreys cover at 73.3% by an average of 3.9 points per game.
In contrast, North Alabama and Eastern Kentucky have covered the spread in just three conference games — both at 18.8%.
Liberty has consistently gone over the total this season, as I mentioned earlier. The Flames surpass the total 73.3% of the time, and do so by an average of nine points.
In comparison, Eastern Kentucky and Bellarmine are both cashing the under 62.5% of the time in conference games.
First-Round Game Angles
Stetson vs. Central Arkansas
Stetson scored 113 points in a win over EKU and beat No. 1 seed Jacksonville State this season. Both were terrific high points for a Hatters team that has struggled consistently this year — outside of those achievements.
Central Arkansas joins Stetson as one of the very few teams in the conference that have beaten the Gamecocks this year. They also defeated the Hatters, 79-75, when they hosted the lone meeting this season.
The Bears run at the fastest tempo in the conference and are 8-2 ATS at home.
The Bears’ defense is second-worst in the country, but with how inadequate the Hatters’ offense is, I’m not sure if Stetson can even take advantage of the lacking UCA defense.
I expect the Bears to open as a slight favorite, and I will be backing them at -3.5 or better.
Eastern Kentucky vs. Kennesaw State
These two teams refused to give up in their only regular-season meeting, but Eastern Kentucky finally came away with the one-point win after three overtimes.
Despite these two only hitting 120 total points in the first meeting (before OT), I think we’re in for high-scoring affair.
Kennesaw State is one of the best 3-point shooting teams in the conference, and its offense has been even better on its home floor. Meanwhile, EKU has one of the worst defenses in the ASUN and takes more field goal and 3-point attempts than any team in the country.
I’ll be waiting to see where the numbers open, but I plan to back Kennesaw State as a six-point favorite or better. Also, a total of 155 or lower would pique my interest on the over.
North Alabama vs. Florida Gulf Coast
North Alabama will have plenty of motivation against FGCU, which handed the Lions their largest loss in the ASUN this year (32 points).
But I don’t think that will be enough for the Lions, as they were the worst team in the ASUN this season at 2-14.
I expect a big win for the Eagles, and I will look to back them as a favorite of 12 or less.
North Florida vs. Lipscomb
North Florida fell to Lipscomb in their meeting earlier this season, but I think it can get its revenge in the conference tournament.
Lipscomb is just 4-7 ATS at home, and I believe North Florida keeps its hot streak from the past month alive for at least the first round.
North Florida likely opens as a slight dog on the road at Lipscomb, and I’ll look to back it at +2 or better while making a small wager on its money line, as well.