2021 Maui Invitational Odds, Tipoff Times, Bracket, Team Previews & Betting Picks
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- MTEs are back this college basketball season, and the Maui Invitational is one of the biggest.
- Taking place in Las Vegas, we have everything you need to bet the tournament.
- Check out Keg and Tanner McGrath's breakdown below.
How We’re Betting the 2021 Maui Invitational
— Co-authored by Tanner McGrath & Keg
Tanner McGrath: 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.
Keg: For the second year in a row, the Maui Invitational will be held away from the islands. However, this year, the tournament will feel much more at home. The event will be held in Vegas, commonly referred to as the “ninth island.”
The event will still be hosted by Division-II Chaminade, which had been in every edition of the Maui Invitational until 2018. The Silverswords were back in the bracket in 2019 and will be in the event every other year from now on.
Without Duke, UNC or Kansas playing, there could be hope for the Silverswords to win at least a game. Chaminade pulled off an upset in 2017, beating Cal by 26 points.
The rest of the field includes two top-25 teams in Houston and Oregon, a strong mid-major in Saint Mary’s and four other squads that all have the potential to play spoiler.
2021 Maui Invitational Bracket & Tipoff Times
Maui Invitational Futures Odds
Here are the betting odds for who will take home the title, courtesy of FanDuel:
|Team Name||Odds to Win|
|Notre Dame Fighting Irish||+550|
|Saint Mary’s Gaels||+600|
|Texas A&M Aggies||+4200|
Texas A&M vs. Wisconsin
Keg: The Aggies lost eight players to the transfer portal this offseason but were able to add Tyrece Radford from Virginia Tech and Henry Coleman III from Duke. They also returned three of their top six scorers in Quenton Jackson, Andre Gordon and Hassan Diarra.
Finally, they also added last year’s Mountain West Player of the Year in Wyoming transfer Marcus Williams.
The Aggies are 4-0 but have just one win against a team inside the top 200 in Abilene Christian, who they beat by one point in double overtime.
Monday’s Maui Invitational opener against Wisconsin will be their toughest test so far.
Keg: With 10 freshmen, the Badgers are one of the youngest teams in Division I.
Super-senior, Brad Davison, returns as the best player on the roster. Entering this season, Davison had more career points, rebounds and assists than every other player currently in the program combined.
The Badgers come into the Maui Invitational fresh off of a loss to Providence in the Gavitt Games. However, Wisconsin has had a whole week off from that loss to prepare for its opener vs. Texas A&M.
Texas A&M vs. Wisconsin Betting Pick
Tanner McGrath: 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
Keg: The Bulldogs have struggled with injuries to start the season, but are still currently 3-1.
Aaron Thompson has played only one game but will return for the Maui Invitational. At the same time, Bryce Nze left the last game with a shoulder injury and is questionable for Monday’s matchup vs. Houston.
Also, senior Bo Hodges and sophomore Myles Tate have both yet to play this season — although Tate could return for the Maui Invitational.
Butler hasn’t done much, beating an abysmal IUPUI team by only nine and Troy by only 11 before losing to Michigan State by 21. Monday’s game against the Cougars could be ugly.
Keg: Coming off of a Final Four appearance last season, the Cougars lost four starters. However, they are still ranked 15th in the AP Top 25 and ninth in KenPom after a 3-0 start, which included a 20-point win over the Virginia Cavaliers.
Houston brings a top-10 defense in the country into this tournament, but it also has one of the best guards in all of college basketball in Marcus Sasser. The junior averages 23.3 points per game so far this year.
Houston is one of six teams ranked in the top-15 nationally in both offensive and defensive efficiency, so it is the favorite in this MTE for a good reason.
Butler vs. Houston Betting Pick
Tanner McGrath: 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.
Oregon vs. Chaminade
Keg: Dana Altman once again proved to be one of the best in the business in terms of navigating the transfer portal. The Ducks lost six of their nine best players from last year’s Pac-12 championship team, but they still have top-25 level talent this year, thanks to Altman.
Will Richardson and Rutgers transfer Jacob Young have led the Ducks in scoring through three games, But if the defense can’t progress from their performance against BYU, they could be playing in the loser’s bracket come Wednesday.
Keg: I will be betting the Silverswords ML until I can’t anymore in the Maui Invitational.
They have a challenging first game against the Ducks, but look for Chaminade to make some noise in the loser’s bracket on day two.
Oregon vs. Chaminade Betting Pick
Tanner McGrath: 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
Keg: Saint Mary’s is 4-0, including a 19-point win over Big Sky preseason favorite Southern Utah. The Gaels return two key players that it lost to injury last season, and every other player from last year’s team.
So far this year, five players average double-digit points per game for the Gaels.
I expect them to give Notre Dame all it can handle on Monday.
Keg: The Fighting Irish have struggled as of late, finishing below .500 in two of the last three seasons. But this year’s team has the talent to make the NCAA Tournament, as it ranks 90th in defensive efficiency and 10th in offensive efficiency.
Notre Dame returns eight of its top 10 players from last year, led by Prentiss Hubb and Dane Goodwin.
The program’s lone transfer, Paul Atkinson, was the 2019-20 Ivy League Player of the Year with Yale. So far this year, he leads the team in scoring and is second in rebounding.
Saint Mary’s vs. Notre Dame Betting Pick
Tanner McGrath: 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
Tanner McGrath: 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.
Keg: It’s hard to bet against the Cougars here with how good they’ve been to start the season. I’ll be taking three units on the Cougars to win the event.
The Ducks will have a much more difficult road to the final, as I expect them to meet up with Saint Mary’s in the second round.
I’ll take one unit on the Gaels as an underdog in hopes that they find their way to the final.
Our Best Bets for the Maui Invitational
Tanner McGrath’s Betting Card
- Notre Dame to Win Maui Invitational | +550 at FanDuel
- Saint Mary’s to Win Maui Invitational | +600 at FanDuel
- Bet Butler ATS vs. Houston in first round
- Bet 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
Keg’s Betting Card
- (3 units) Houston to Win Maui Invitational | +170 at FanDuel
- (1 unit) Saint Mary’s to Win Maui Invitational | +600 at FanDuel
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