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2022 Battle 4 Atlantis Odds, Bracket, Betting Picks & Tournament Preview

2022 Battle 4 Atlantis Odds, Bracket, Betting Picks & Tournament Preview article feature image
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Justin Casterline/Getty Images. Pictured: DaRon Holmes II of the Dayton Flyers.

2022 Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament

The Battle 4 Atlantis is my favorite MTE every season. It’s arguably the best non-conference event outside of the Maui Invitational.

This year is no different.

The tournament is highlighted by defending national champion Kansas, and the Jayhawks will see the return of head coach Bill Self from a school-imposed four-game suspension.

However, the bracket fills out with mid-major powerhouse Dayton, perennial Big Ten threat Wisconsin, West Coast acronyms USC and BYU and two tough defensive teams in Tennessee and Butler.

We have 12 games between eight top-tier college basketball teams across three days in the Paradise Islands.

Life doesn’t get sweeter.

I have several different betting angles I’m looking at, with most coming on Wednesday and Thursday.

Make sure you refer to the bracket to see exact matchups, as I often use the official game numbers to indicate which potential games I want to bet.


2022 Battle 4 Atlantis Bracket

Battle 4 Atlantis-Tournament-Bracket

Battle 4 Atlantis Futures Odds

Team
Odds (via FanDuel)
Kansas +130
Tennessee +250
Dayton +650
USC +900
Wisconsin +1000
BYU +1200
Butler +3000
NC State +4000

Betting Angle No. 1: Fade USC

USC looks dreadful in the early season. An opening-night, double-digit loss to Florida Gulf Coast was followed by unimpressive home wins against mid-majors Vermont and Mount St. Mary’s — two East Coast schools forced to travel 3,000 miles before their respective games.

The Trojans are 1-3 ATS this season, with the lone cover coming against KenPom No. 350 Alabama State.

Andy Enfield has a frontcourt issue. He forewent the transfer portal to replace the Mobley brothers and Onyeka Okongwu, instead trying to invest in freshmen. Enfield picked up four-star forward Kijani Wright and five-star center Vince Iwuchukwu.

Well, it hasn’t worked. USC is the worst rebounding team in the Pac-12, ranking sub-200 nationally in both OR% and DR%.

Image credit: CBB Analytics

The Trojans allowed 15 offensive boards to Mount St. Mary’s, 16 to Florida Gulf Coast and 17 to Alabama State. The Trojans allow the 72nd-most put-back opportunities nationally and over 1.2 PPP on those shots.

And, guess what? Both freshmen big men are banged up. Iwuchukwu is working back from a cardiac arrest incident that occurred in the offseason, and Wright is questionable Wednesday with an illness.

That leaves junior big man Joshua Morgan to carry the load. He’s been amazing, shaping up as one of the top shot blockers in the nation and anchoring a solid interior defense.

But he played just 12 minutes per game last year and isn’t ready to handle the full load.

The backcourt tandem of Drew Peterson and Boogie Ellis has been outstanding — they’re averaging a combined 30 points per game. But they’re also struggling with turnovers, as the Trojans rank sub-240 in turnover rate.

So, USC is a bad rebounding team with health issues in the frontcourt while struggling with turnovers.

Its draw in this event includes:

  • BYU: Top-50 in OR%, top-100 in DR%
  • Tennessee: Top-50 in OR%, top-90 in DR%, top-15 in defensive turnover rate
  • Butler: Top-10 in DR%, top-25 in defensive turnover rate

This is also the Trojans’ first real test after playing three sub-125 KenPom teams.

I will be betting on BYU in the first round and then either Tennessee or Butler in the next round. I’ll probably fade the Trojans in their third game, too.

Potential Plays: 

  • BYU -1.5 vs. USC in Game 3 (-110 at Caesars)
  • Tennessee/Butler ATS vs. USC in Game 6 or 8

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Betting Angle No. 2: Does USC Create Value for BYU?

Given I’m so low on USC, it could be interesting to target BYU at +1200 to win the whole thing.

If I project USC correctly, BYU should cruise through the first round and be one win away from — at the minimum — a great hedging opportunity.

Moreover, the next round would be against a Butler team that lost to Penn State or a Tennessee team that lost to Colorado.

Those are enticing odds.

But it’s worth mentioning that I’m lost on BYU. Theoretically, the Cougars are due for some positive shooting regression, but the loss of Alex Barcello can’t be overstated. Barcello was one of the best snipers in the nation.

Moreover, BYU’s ball handling has fallen off a cliff without its star point guard.

BYU is an interesting longshot to win the tournament, especially if Mark Pope has figured out his brand-new roster construction. But that’s not a bet I’m willing to make.

Potential Plays:

  • Lean: BYU to win Battle 4 Atlantis (+1200 at FanDuel)

Betting Angle No. 3: Butler is Live

Butler’s new-look offense is cooking.

Thad Matta’s four-out, one-in offense lets NC State transfer Manny Bates operate in the low post while everyone else motions on the perimeter looking for catch-and-shoot opportunities.

So far, all five players in Butler’s five-man rotation are scoring in double-digits, while the team is fourth nationally in eFG% and fifth in 2-point shooting (63.2%).

Chuck Harris, Simas Lukosius and Purdue transfer Eric Hunter Jr. are dishing out of the backcourt (combined 11.3 assists per game), and Bates is cleaning the glass (8.5 rebounds per game).

As a result, the Bulldogs are scoring from every area of the court.

Image credit: CBB Analytics

I love it. Butler looks much improved.

The Bulldogs also have a hard-nosed defensive approach. They’re top-10 nationally in DR% and FTA/FGA, alongside being top-25 nationally in defensive turnover rate.

It looks like a tough matchup with Tennessee, as Butler is not yet an offensive powerhouse and Rick Barnes always fields an elite defense.

But I’m not convinced.

Tennessee is more turnover prone without Kennedy Chandler, which doesn’t bode well against Butler. Meanwhile, Butler can run the 3-point happy Vols off the line, and it’s not like Tennessee has been shooting well anyway (270th in eFG%).

Even if Butler struggles to score, it can muck up the game and keep it within the eight-point spread. But I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Vols’ big men struggle to handle Bates in the post, given Tennessee runs 6-foot-8 and 6-foot-9 in the frontcourt.

Moreover, Butler only lost to Penn State because the Lions shot 10-for-24 from 3. Meanwhile, Tennessee lost to a lousy Colorado team in its first real test.

I’ll probably be on Butler going forward, too.

I’m looking to fade USC, so I’m happy to bet on Butler in that matchup.

Meanwhile, BYU is similar to Tennessee in that the Cougars are turnover-prone (350th in TO%) and 3-point happy (91st in 3PA%).

I would be very interested in targeting Butler to win the entire tournament if it wasn’t still dealing with injuries. But without a healthy Ali Ali or Jalen Thomas, I doubt Butler has the shooting to win this thing.

However, bet on Butler in its first two games.

Potential Plays:

  • Butler +8.5 vs. Tennessee in Game 4 (-110 at FanDuel)
  • Butler ATS vs. USC/BYU in Game 6 or Game 8
  • Lean: Butler to win Battle 4 Atlantis (+3000 at FanDuel)

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Betting Angle No. 4: Four Ways to Play Dayton

Dayton lost to UNLV because of turnovers. The Flyers finished with seven assists to 24 turnovers against a Kevin Kruger defense that has been on-ball pressure-happy all season (second in defensive turnover rate).

Also, point guard Malachi Smith was hurt, and he’s imperative to the offense’s success.

However, it’s no mystery that Dayton has struggled with turnovers the last few seasons. Anthony Grant’s squad has finished sub-230 in defensive turnover rate for three years running.

But the Flyers are likely matching up with schools that don’t care to pressure the ball.

Wisconsin isn’t going to come after Smith or the other ball handlers. The Badgers 227th in defensive turnover rate — including 358th in defensive no-steal turnover rate — and have one of the longest average possession lengths allowed in the nation.

So, the Badgers are fine to let things develop.

That’s the same with Kansas — if Dayton beats the Badgers in the first round as short favorites.

I would bet Dayton ATS in both matchups, and there are a few more angles we could dig into.


Possible Play No. 1: Dayton +1 vs. Wisconsin in Game 2 (-115 at DraftKings)

Wisconsin looks like a great defense, but its been lucky.

Opponents have shot just 11.1% from 3, which is unsustainable moving forward.

The Badgers are good at running guys off the 3-point line and cutting off easy passing lanes, but Smith’s playmaking, DaRon Holmes II’s off-ball scoring and the trigger-happy Flyers will test Wisconsin more than South Dakota, Stanford or Green Bay did.

Additionally, the under looks like a great play, currently sitting at 124.5 (-110 at Caesars).


Possible Play No. 2: Dayton ATS vs. Kansas in Game 5

Haslametrics projects Kansas as a seven-point favorite over Dayton, a number that Dayton can cover.

As mentioned, the Jayhawks won’t pressure the Flyers, allowing Grant to run his slow-paced offense (339th in tempo), which favors a three-possession cover.

On the other side of the ball, Jalen Wilson and Co. will try and drive downhill and score at the rim. But good luck doing that against the Flyers, who were 31st in 2-point defense last season (45.8%) and are 21st this season (40.3%).

Image credit: CBB Analytics

Also, remember that Dayton beat Kansas just last year in a thrilling 74-73 neutral-court victory during the ESPN Events Invitational.

That win was historic. Seeing the Flyers beat Kansas again this year would be much less surprising.

DAYTON STUNS No. 4 KANSAS AT THE BUZZER 😱

First top-5 win for the Flyers since 1984. pic.twitter.com/IWgGZfpzQh

— ESPN (@espn) November 26, 2021


Possible Play No. 3: Dayton ATS vs. NC State in Game 7

If Dayton were to drop the first-round matchup against Wisconsin, do not bet it against NC State.

The Wolfpack have been one of the best teams by turnover margin this season, and I do not want to play with that fire.


Possible Play No. 4: Dayton to win Battle 4 Atlantis (+650 at DraftKings)

Moreover, let’s not forget about this Flyers team because of one letdown performance.

Five starters return from last year’s 24-11 team, including expert playmaker Smith, preseason A-10 Player of the Year Holmes and a bevy of long, athletic defenders.

The Dayton defense is incredible.

It starts with Holmes in the middle, who will finish top-100 nationally in block rate again while dominating opponents in pick-and-roll and isolation situations. However, the rest of the roster will defend similarly, playing smothering man-to-man defense.

Dayton can go tit-for-tat defensively with any team in the field, and it’ll likely come down to its offense, which hasn’t been great to date.

Image credit: CBB Analytics

The offense has been stale, but likely only because of Smith’s injury. Remember, the Flyers couldn’t score before Smith started running the show last year, so I’d expect better efficiency moving forward.

Dayton had a 111.7 ORtg and a +15.8 Net Rtg last season with Smith on the floor, compared to 107.7 and +3.9 without him.

Smith is such a savvy point guard. He sees the floor so well and has unbelievable playmaking ability. He finished last season top-40 in assist rate while dishing out over five assists per night.

Malachi Smith | vs St.Bona | 6 PTS, 12 AST #IntuitionHoops
________________@DavidPJablonski @sullymygoodname @ProLOWD @Opitino pic.twitter.com/M5vI9jSJjY

— Intuition Hoops (@IntuitionHoops) January 19, 2022

The Flyers can win the whole thing with Smith running the show. Feel free to target them at +650 in the markets.

However, I’d probably project Dayton as slight favorites against Wisconsin, then around +250 against Kansas, and then slight favorites in the final. So, it might be better just to bet Dayton ML and roll over the winnings each round.

Possible Plays:

  • Dayton +1 vs. Wisconsin in Game 2 (-115 at DraftKings)
  • Dayton ATS/ML vs. Kansas in Game 5
  • Dayton ML in the Championship game
  • Lean: Dayton to win Battle 4 Atlantis (+650 at FanDuel)

Betting Angle No. 5: What to Do With Kansas?

There’s no value in the Jayhawks to win this event at such short odds.

The Jayhawks are 8.5-point favorites, which is likely a little short. I’d probably make the Jayhawks between 10- and 11-point favorites from a power rating standpoint.

Additionally, the NC State defense looks like it won’t be able to stop the Jayhawks’ wings from driving downhill.

Image credit: CBB Analytics

Again, I’m looking to target Dayton ATS vs. Kansas in the second round. But if Kansas draws Wisconsin, I’m staying away altogether, as that’s a matchup I don’t have a feel for.

It’s too tough to find value with Rock Chalk in Atlantis, which is too bad, given Self is back on the sidelines and the Jayhawks are 4-0.

Potential Play: Kansas -8.5 vs. NC State in Game 1 (-110 at DraftKings)


Battle 4 Atlantis Betting Recap

Here are all the plays I’m considering in the Battle 4 Atlantis:

Wednesday, Nov. 23

  • Kansas -8.5 vs. NC State in Game 1 (-110 at DraftKings)
  • Dayton +1 vs. Wisconsin in Game 2 (-115 at DraftKings)
  • BYU -1.5 vs. USC in Game 3 (-110 at Caesars)
  • Butler +8.5 vs. Tennessee in Game 4 (-110 at FanDuel)

Thursday, Nov. 24

  • Dayton ATS/ML vs. Kansas in Game 5
  • Butler ATS vs. USC/BYU in Game 6 or Game 8
  • Tennessee/Butler ATS vs. USC in Game 6 or Game 8

Futures

  • Dayton ML in the Championship game
  • Lean: Dayton to win Battle 4 Atlantis (+650 at FanDuel)
  • Lean: BYU to win Battle 4 Atlantis (+1200 at FanDuel)
  • Lean: Butler to win Battle 4 Atlantis (+3000 at FanDuel)

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