Betting Arch Madness Quarterfinals: Can You Expect Low-Scoring Games?
Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Bradley Braves guard Darrell Brown (5).
The whole month of March should be a national holiday, as today marked the first occasion with weekday afternoon conference tournament games. But they aren’t slowing down anytime soon, with the Missouri Valley Conference tipping off a pair of quarterfinal contests early on Friday.
Many bettors will hit the under for oddly scheduled games, looking to take advantage of slower-starting teams. But Arch Madness has been kind to that side of the total — no matter when the action begins.
According to our Bet Labs data, the under has gone 85-44 (65.9%) in MVC tournament games since 2005. It’s also 38-18 (67.9%) in the quarterfinals alone.
Plus, postseason games on a neutral court have hit the under in 52.1% of those affairs (2,044-1,878) since ’05, per Bet Labs.
Let’s breakdown the two early games on Arch Madness’ docket — Loyola Chicago-Indiana State and Missouri State-Bradley — to discover if that trend should apply to these matchups.
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Loyola-Chicago Ramblers vs. Valparaiso Crusaders
- Spread: Loyola-Chicago -7.5
- Over/Under: 120.5
- Time: 1:05 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN+
The under has gone 17-13 (56.7%) for the first-seeded Ramblers this season, including a 9-9 (50.0%) mark during its league slate. The trigger for their success is the unit’s sixth-lowest Adjusted Tempo (62.3 possessions per 40 minutes) in the nation.
Loyola-Chicago’s defense grinds down its opponents to the fourth-highest average possession length (18.9 seconds). Despite presenting the third-highest Adjusted Defensive Efficiency (101.1 points per possession) in league play, Porter Moser’s bunch thrives off keeping opponents off the free-throw line by closing up gaps in the lane.
The total went under in both of its duels with the ninth-seeded Crusaders, as their biggest advantage comes via the MVC’s highest 2-point scoring rate (56.9%) while the Ramblers are letting up the lowest 2-point scoring percentage (46.2%). The Arch Madness favorite allowed a combined 47.6% 2-point scoring rate in its those games with Valpo, so this one is set up for a similar result.
Loyola has even manufactured the highest defensive rebounding rate (21.0%) in Division I, which limits its opponents from collecting additional opportunities in the paint.
The 6-foot-4 Lucas Williamson, the Ramblers’ premier defender (3.6% steal rate), returned to the starting lineup for their final two regular season games after missing the previous 10 contests with a broken hand. He’ll be in position to slow down the Crusaders guard Javon Freeman, who tallied 17 points in their opening-round win over Indiana State.
Valpo boasts the league’s top AdjD (98.6 opponents’ points per 100 possessions), and their sound interior defense will put up a fight against Loyola’s similarly oriented offense.
With an early tip-off — and Valparaiso coming off a quick turnaround — expect this one to provide another low-scoring affair.
THE PICK: Under 120.5
Betting Odds: Missouri State Bears vs. Bradley Braves
- Spread: Missouri State -1
- Over/Under: 125
- Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN+
The under has gone 34-26 (56.7%) in the Bears and Braves’ respective contests this season, along with hitting that side of the total in each of their meetings.
Missouri State’s below-average Adjusted Tempo (65.6 possessions per 40 minutes) stems from its sluggish offense, generating the 46th-highest average possession length (18.7 seconds) in college basketball. Dana Ford, who played under Moser at Illinois State (2002-06) aims for his attack to create a shot with under 12 seconds left on the shot clock.
The fourth-seeded Bears’ early false-action offense, intertwined with their extended defense, played a role in fifth-seeded Bradley losing both games outright, combining to notch just 83.5 PPP.
The Braves rely on their second-ranked 3-point clip (39.1%), along with the third-ranked perimeter scoring rate (32.9%), yet Missouri State is yielding the third-lowest scoring percentage (28.0%) from that vicinity. Look for Brian Wardle’s squad to struggle in half-court sets.
At the other end, Bradley has stymied its league foes to the third-highest average possession length (19.2 seconds), which is the prime formula for a low-possession battle. The Bears should control the tempo, guided by the league’s second-highest scoring rate (20.1%) from the line.
The Braves are letting up the fourth-highest percentage (20.1%) from that area, too.
THE PICK: Under 125