College Basketball Odds, Best Bets: Our Favorite Picks for Tuesday’s Conference Tournament Games (March 1)
Ryan Collinsworth / The Action Network.
- March is here, which means the college basketball postseason is upon us.
- Three conferences are in action tonight, including the Horizon League, Patriot League and ASUN.
- Check out our three best conference tournament bets for Tuesday with a pick from each conference.
The countdown is over. March is here.
What better way to kick off the best basketball month of the year than with a bet from each active conference tournament? The Patriot League, Horizon League and ASUN are all in action Tuesday night, leading to plenty of postseason fun.
So, check out all three picks below, and be sure to check back tomorrow when the Northeast, Ohio Valley and Big South enter the fold.
Conference Tournament Best Bets for Tuesday, Mar. 1
The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that our college basketball staff is targeting from today’s college basketball conference tournament slate. Click the team logos for one of 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.|
ASUN: Stetson vs. Central Arkansas
Central Arkansas has been second only to Jacksonville in the ASUN when it comes to covering the spread at home. It’s also 7-4 straight up on its home court.
The Bears are by no means a strong team in the ASUN, but Stetson is even worse.
Central Arkansas features one of the worst defenses in the country, but this Hatters offense has been so bad that I don’t see it taking advantage.
Stetson is also just 4-of-7 on the road this season. Central Arkansas already beat it once this season, and I think the Bears get it done again.
However, at such a small price I feel even more comfortable backing the Bears on the moneyline rather than worrying about a spread coming into play. Should the line move, I still feel confident in the Bears as high as 2.5-point favorites.
Pick: Central Arkansas ML -111
Patriot League: Bucknell vs. Lafayette
These teams met twice already in the regular season, which resulted in a series split with each team winning its home game. Both of those meetings found their way into overtime, which was precipitated in both games by Bucknell blowing a late lead.
In the first regular-season game between these teams, the visiting Bison led by 9 points with just over 10 minutes to go before the Leopards mounted a comeback. Two weeks later, Bucknell stretched its lead to 17 on the Bison’s home court – and yet still needed overtime to survive Lafayette’s late charge.
Lafayette is capable of summoning that type of late-game run due to head coach Fran O’Hanlon’s offensive philosophy. His spread-motion offense clears space for shooters, and the Leopards love to let it fly from deep.
Lafayette led the Patriot League in 3-point rate (24.3 per game) during conference play. The Leopards also ranked 29th in percentage of points scored from outside the arc: 38.3% of the team’s scoring came via 3-point baskets, per TeamRankings.
Lafayette took all those 3-point looks yet only made 32.6% of its shots from deep (237th in the nation). Somehow, the team shot even worse during conference play – Lafayette’s 31.8% 3-point percentage was the lowest mark in the Patriot League. If any team is due for some shooting luck to swing favorably, it’s Lafayette.
As I mentioned in our Patriot League Tournament Betting Preview — win or lose, this game will be O’Hanlon’s final home game as Lafayette’s head coach. After nearly three decades coaching the Leopards basketball team, O’Hanlon has announced his forthcoming retirement at season’s end.
I’m willing to lay the 5.5 points with Lafayette on the chances that positive shooting regression kicks in big time, extending the O’Hanlon era into a trip to face league-champion Colgate.
Pick: Lafayette -5.5
Horizon League: IUPUI vs. Oakland
By Jim Root
This is a massive mismatch. For a conference tournament game to feature a 23-point spread – that demonstrates the enormous chasm between these two squads.
My gut tells me that Oakland will blow out the short-handed Jaguars. But more importantly, this game should be ugly and low-scoring.
It’s impossible to overstate how dire IUPUI’s roster situation is. For a full month, the Jaguars have been playing with only six players. Like … IUPUI only has six guys dressed, traveling and capable of playing.
Then, in the Jaguars’ season finale, regular starter Bakari LaStrap got hurt and played only three minutes. IUPUI’s remaining five guys played every single second the rest of the way.
LaStrap reported the highest usage on the team prior to his injury. Unsurprisingly, the Jaguars managed only 41 points without him.
Because IUPUI only has five players, the team is perilously vulnerable to fatigue and foul trouble, both of which commonly occur during higher-possession games. Therefore, the Jaguars will be desperate to keep the game in the half court.
It is fair to consider IUPUI’s personnel calamity as a truly exceptional case. Nevertheless, IUPUI’s opponent, Oakland, is not a deep team, either. Per KenPom, the Golden Grizzlies rank 357th – that is, second-to-last — in bench minutes. Point guard Jalen Moore has been dealing with an injury, and fellow starter Trey Townsend sat out the Grizzlies’ season finale.
The only way I can imagine this under 126.5 losing is if Oakland goes nuts offensively, which is certainly a possibility. I would bet this down to 123.