Maui Invitational Odds, Picks: Bets to Make in First Round & Beyond for This Week’s MTE
Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
- The Maui Invitational is back, being played in Las Vegas, Nevada, this year.
- With Houston, Oregon, Wisconsin, and St. Mary's taking part, this year's tournament is stacked.
- Tanner McGrath breaks down the tournament below and shares his top bets for the first round and beyond.
How to Bet the 2021 Maui Invitational
Another spectacular MTE takes place with the Maui Jim Maui Invitational, which is being held in Las Vegas this year.
However, the location of the tournament doesn’t take away from the excitement of the basketball. From Division-II Chaminade to No. 12 Oregon, there’s a wide variety of talent and teams playing for this trophy.
So, let’s preview the tournament at large and try to target in on some betting value.
2021 Maui Invitational Bracket & Tipoff Times
Top of the Bracket
Texas A&M vs. Wisconsin Preview
This game is weird.
I’m quite low on both teams, as they’re essentially in rebuilding mode with totally remodeled rosters. TAMU won just six games last season, while Wisconsin has returned only one player who recorded significant minutes for the team last year.
I lean Texas A&M in this game. The Aggies are likely to be catching points in a low-scoring rock fight. Plus, they play good defense.
However, if Wisconsin were to advance, I like its chances better against Houston. The Aggies don’t have the size or the style of play to compete with the Cougars. But the Badgers are anchored by a seven-footer and can shoot, which is how you can hang with Houston.
Butler vs. Houston Preview
Like Wisconsin, Butler has length and likes to shoot a lot of 3s. In fact, the Bulldogs have taken over 52% of their shots from deep, good for ninth in the country.
Hofstra ranks just ahead of Butler, at eighth, and the Pride managed to take Houston to overtime as 19-point underdogs.
My point is, I believe Butler can hang on and keep this game within double digits.
Houston is a great basketball team and Marcus Sasser brings its offense to another level. However, Butler has the advantage in experience and minutes continuity and I believe its style of play matches up well with the Houston defense.
Houston’s defense is predicated on forcing long, exhausting offensive sets that result in long shots. Well, Butler already takes over 19 seconds per offensive possession on average (323rd nationally) and, as mentioned, loves to chuck it from deep.
Plus, the Bulldogs are generally stout defensively and both teams play at a slow tempo. So, all-in-all, I think Butler covers against Houston in the first round.
Bottom of the Bracket
Oregon vs. Chaminade Preview
This game is stupid. Chaminade has a zero percent chance to win this game — KenPom literally gives Oregon a 100% chance to win the game and move on.
It’s worth talking a little bit about Oregon, however.
The re-built and re-loaded Ducks have high expectations again this season. Dana Altman is a wizard and he’s assembled a roster that, albeit new, has immense talent and a high ceiling.
The additions of Jacob Young (Rutgers) and Quincy Guerrier (Syracuse) replace a good portion of what Chris Duarte and Eugene Omoruyi did last season. Add those two in with returning starters Will Richardson and Franck Kepnang, and Oregon has another dangerous inside-outside roster.
However, the Ducks’ game vs. BYU proved this roster is still a work in progress. I’m low on Oregon in this tournament and I believe there will be value in fading it after this layup of a first-round game.
Saint Mary’s vs. Notre Dame Preview
This is easily my favorite first-round matchup and my favorite two value teams to win the tournament.
Both Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame return over 70% of their minutes played from last season while also featuring experienced rosters. That is especially the case for Saint Mary’s, whose 2.28 average years of experience ranks top-80 nationally.
Moreover, both these teams play slow (both outside top-200 in tempo) and like to muck up games defensively. Saint Mary’s has allowed one of the lowest assist rates in the nation, while Notre Dame has ranked top-two nationally in defensive free-throw rate in four consecutive seasons.
Finally, both teams excel at rebounding.
All-in-all, these two have all the tangibles to keep every game close and cash often as underdogs.
And while I don’t really have a lean in this game, I will absolutely be betting both teams in their second-round matchups and will be taking a small future on both to win the Invitational.
Maui Invitational Betting Insights & Predictions
Before I recap where I personally see value in this MTE, it’s important to recognize how much of a grind this tournament will be.
The Maui Invitational starts next Monday…current KenPom tempo rankings for every team in the event:
(plus non-D1 Chaminade)
It's going to be a GRIND
— Jim Root (@2ndChancePoints) November 16, 2021
With so many slow-tempo teams playing each other, prepare for rock fights with low totals. Generally, that places value on underdogs catching a lot of points. I’d keep that in mind for every matchup in this tournament.
Anyway, let’s quickly recap where I see value for the Maui Invitational.
I like Butler to cover the spread against Houston in its first-round matchup because its style of play matches up well and there will be value in the big number for a low-tempo matchup.
Houston is obviously the big favorite to win the tournament. I don’t see much value in the Cougars at +200 but I don’t see much value in fading them either.
I love Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame in this tournament and will be taking a small future on both. The matchup between the two is a toss-up, so I will absolutely be targeting both teams in the next round.
I especially want to fade Oregon following its first-round matchup. I hate how the Ducks match up with both the above teams and the spread will likely be inflated following Oregon’s demolition of Chaminade.
- Notre Dame to Win Maui Invitational (+400 at WynnBet)
- Saint Mary’s to Win Maui Invitational (+1000 at WynnBet)
- Bet Butler ATS vs. Houston in first round
- Bet both Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame ATS in second round vs. either Chaminade or Oregon
- Lean Texas A&M ATS vs. Wisconsin in first round
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