College Basketball Odds & Picks: 3 Best Bets for Wednesday’s Late-Night Conference Tournament Games
Photo by G Fiume/ Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images. Pictured: KC Ndefo (Saint Peter’s)
In this article, our staff will touch on affairs in the MAAC, SWAC and WAC. These are all mid-major leagues in relatively early rounds of their brackets, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t value from a betting perspective.
So, check out our three top picks below!
Wednesday’s Late-Night Conference Tournament Best Bets
The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that our college basketball staff is targeting from today’s slate of games. Click the team logos for one the matchups below to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.
|Specific bet recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing. Always shop for the best price using our NCAAB Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.|
Fairfield vs. Saint Peter’s (MAAC Quarterfinal)
Saint Peter’s starts its tournament run as a small favorite against Fairfield.
The Peacocks own a stifling defense that ranks among the top-40 in the nation in efficiency. They hold opponents to 31% from deep (42nd) and 46% on 2-point field goal attempts (25th).
Senior forward KC Ndefo is one of the top rim protectors in the country, as he leads the MAAC with 2.5 blocks per game.
Fairfield has had a streaky season, but struggled mightily against the top three teams in the conference. The Stags went 0-5 against Iona, Saint Peter’s and Siena.
Fairfield’s perimeter defense is strong, but Saint Peter’s rarely settles for an outside shot. The Stags’ opponents have found 57% of their points from 2-point territory. That’s a recipe for disaster against a Saint Peter’s offense that lives in the paint.
These two teams matched up last week in the season finale. Fairfield led for only 14 seconds in that matchup, with Saint Peter’s defense holding the Stags to 35% from the field and 22% from deep.
We should see a similar result in this matchup, as the Peacocks’ defense will be too much for Fairfield to handle.
Pick: Saint Peter’s -3.5 (Play to -4.5)
Prairie View A&M vs. Alcorn State (SWAC Quarterfinal)
No. 1 Alcorn State (14-4 SWAC) tips off against No. 8 Prairie View A&M (8-10) on Wednesday in Birmingham, AL.
Separated by only a point in betting markets, this speaks to the competitive nature of the SWAC and every team being well into plus money to win the tournament.
These two programs have been very competitive all season, and split their season series — both teams lost at home to each other.
Prairie View A&M lost its last three games of the season by a combined 10 points. The losses came to the No. 1 seed Alcorn State (72-69), No. 2 seed Texas Southern (77-76) and No. 7 seed Jackson State (59-53).
Statistically, Prairie View A&M matches up very well with Alcorn State on offense and defense.
The Panthers have an AdjO and AdjD of 98.8 and 108.7, while the Braves have marks of 98.9 and 106.5, respectively.
Where Prairie View A&M will be able to differentiate itself is through pace. The Panthers have the highest tempo in the league at 70.6 possessions per 40 minutes.
Don’t let the tournament seedings mislead you, these programs are very closely matched.
Head coach Byron Smith is 7-3 in the SWAC Tournament in his career and will have his team ready.
I expect a reversion to the mean after a tough close to the season for the Panthers.
I am projecting this game as a pick ‘em, and I like the Panthers’ upbeat game to be the differentiator, especially at even money.
Pick: Prairie View A&M ML +100 (Play to -105)
Utah Valley vs. Abilene Christian (WAC Second Round)
By Ky McKeon
For the second day in a row, I am riding with Utah Valley in the WAC Tournament. This matchup with Abilene Christian is one I had circled on my calendar because UVU has one distinctive advantage: size.
The Wolverines are the nation’s 47th-biggest team (per KenPom) while the Wildcats are the second-smallest team in the land. Height isn’t everything but it becomes a GIANT problem when the best player on the floor tonight happens to be a big man.
6-foot-11 center Fardaws Aimaq won the WAC Player of the Year award last year and received the league’s Defensive Player of the Year award for the second straight season. He’s one of the best rebounders in the country, and should have a field day against the almost non-existent ACU frontline.
Aimaq had 21 points and 10 rebounds against ACU earlier in the year, and should have no trouble posting that line again.
Aimaq’s presence and UVU’s willingness to attack the rim are matchup edges, considering how much ACU sends foes to the foul line.
Only one team in the country has allowed a higher rate of FTA than Abilene this season. The Wildcats play a hyper-aggressive style that leads to many fouls. If ACU’s primary big men get in foul trouble, it’s game over.
The final cherry on top is the unexpected season debut of UVU guard Trey Woodbury last night. Woodbury was UVU’s leading scorer last season, and was expected to be the same in 2021-22. However, injuries held him off the floor, and all indications were he was taking a redshirt.
The importance of his presence cannot be understated. He immediately improves UVU’s ball handling and scoring, essentially the squad’s two major weaknesses.
Take UVU as a short dog in tonight’s night cap, and keep an eye on WAC futures prices with Woodbury back in the fold.