NCAAB Odds & Picks: Our 6 Conference Tournament Best Bets for Monday, Featuring Saint Mary’s vs. BYU, Cleveland State vs. Milwaukee
Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Tae Williams (Cleveland State)
- Monday's college basketball slate features a number of conference tournament action.
- Our staff came through with a best bet for every conference in action, including Saint Mary's vs. BYU in the WCC and Cleveland State vs. Milwaukee in the Horizon League.
- Check out all six of our best bets for Monday's college basketball games below.
The regular season is officially over. And that means one thing: the madness is in full swing.
Beyond the two conference tournament finals on Monday (Sun Belt and SoCon), our staff is targeting six postseason spots, including Milwaukee vs. Cleveland State.
So, dive in below to get the top NCAAB conference tournament, odds, best bets and picks for Monday’s slate.
Monday’s 6 NCAAB Conference Tournament Best Bets
The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that our college basketball staff is targeting from Monday’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.|
McNeese State vs. Nicholls State (Southland)
By Jim Root
Conference tournaments can serve as a reset button for teams that underperformed preseason expectations or struggled down the stretch.
That applies to Nicholls, which was picked second in the league in the preseason (received six first-place votes) but limped to the finish line.
Injuries were a part of that. The Colonels had several key pieces miss games down the stretch, especially in the backcourt.
Micah Thomas returned for the season finale, and there’s a chance Pierce Spencer returns for the tournament, as well. Spencer, an all-defense selection in the league, is a key piece — the Colonels went 3-3 without him (he got hurt early in one of the losses).
The format helps Nicholls here. McNeese State survived a war with Texas A&M-Commerce yesterday. The Cowboys narrowly scraped out a 79-78 win, and three players logged at least 37 minutes. That could affect them as this one comes down the stretch.
Nicholls won both meetings this season, doing so by nine and three.
The schedule set up strangely: the two played Thursday and again immediately on Sunday. Winning two games in such tight proximity speaks well of the Colonels’ ability to handle a third meeting.
Pick: Nicholls -5.5 (Play to -6)
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St. Thomas (MN) vs. Oral Roberts (Summit League)
By Ky McKeon
St. Thomas enters tonight’s game fresh off its first-ever postseason win as a Division I program.
The Tommies’ reward for their heroic efforts on Sunday is a matchup against an Oral Roberts squad that is 19-0 against Summit competition this season.
There’s reason to believe St. Thomas can hang inside the number tonight — heck, it’s done it twice already this season.
In Game 1 at ORU, the Tommies stuck within 14 points the entire way, ultimately losing by 12.
In the grudge match, UST led by as many as 10 points at home before falling by seven in a high-scoring affair.
As is usually the case for less talented teams, shooting is the key in this matchup. St. Thomas can be an excellent outside shooting squad and ranks in the top 30 in the country in 3-point attempt rate.
The long-ball kept UST close in both games against ORU this season, as the Tommies shot 28-for-72 (38.8%) from distance across both contests.
While Oral Roberts should have no trouble scoring, it won’t be able to exploit UST’s biggest weakness: the defensive glass.
St. Thomas is the Summit’s worst defensive rebounding squad, but ORU is the league’s worst offensive rebounding unit. The Golden Eagles have secured just eight offensive rebounds (or 15.6% of their total misses) in two games against UST this season.
Finally, despite all of ORU’s experience and maturity, this is still a team made up of guys in their early 20s. Nerves are a real thing, and the pressure doesn’t get any greater than this for an ORU squad that dominated league play and is expected to roll through the conference tournament.
Despite their gaudy record, it’s still win or go home for the Golden Eagles.
On the flip side, there’s no postseason past this tournament for the transitioning Tommies.
The 13-point dog should be loosey-goosey as it attempts to achieve the impossible.
Pick: St. Thomas +13.5 (Play to +13)
Towson vs. Charleston (CAA)
By Doug Ziefel
We’re set for an epic semifinal clash in the Colonial Tournament tonight as the Towson Tigers take on the Charleston Cougars.
Both teams come into this one playing some of their best ball of the season, which is evidenced by each of their blowout wins in the quarterfinals yesterday.
However, those performances will factor into the tempo of this one significantly. Back-to-backs are tough, and with these teams not accustomed to it, we should expect a slower tempo in this matchup.
While I say “slower,” it may wind up more average. Charleston is one of the fastest teams in the country, but Towson is on the other end of the spectrum.
I’m expecting the Cougars to be much slower in this one and Towson to thrive in the pace, but it also helps that both of these of teams finished top-five in the conference in defensive efficiency.
So, with the slower tempo aiding each of these teams on the defensive end of the court, look for this game to go under the total.
Pick: Under 149 (Play to 148)
BYU vs. Saint Mary’s (WCC)
By D.J. James
BYU and Saint Mary’s face off in the semifinals of the WCC Tournament Monday night. The Cougars have dropped both matchups against the Gaels so far this season.
However, the last time they were out on the court together, the total only reached 113, and this should be a target for Monday’s battle.
BYU runs at one of the faster paces in the country at 65th in Adjusted Tempo (KenPom), but the Gaels rank 359th in this regard. The Gaels also average 20.3 seconds per possession while holding opponents to 44.8% on 2-pointers.
On offense, the Cougars shoot 3s at a 39.8% clip, but they are only knocking down 32.8% of these 3s. This is incredibly efficient.
Now, they are shooting 53% inside the arc, but this is where the Gaels can defend.
Both of these teams are phenomenal defensive rebounders, so second chance points should be at a minimum.
Finally, if there are any concerns about BYU’s tendency to foul, it should be laid to rest, as Saint Mary’s ranks 222nd in offensive free-throw attempt rate.
The under should be the play in this matchup.
Pick: Under 130.5 (Play to 129)
Cleveland State vs. Milwaukee (Horizon League)
By Matt Cox
Entering this postseason, since 2016, favorites with a double revenge angle were 61-42 against the spread in conference tournament rematches.
It’s a small sample, but that’s a lopsided edge in the favor of the “better team” (read: favorite) playing with max motivation (conference tournament do-or-die setting) with the added juice of wanting to beat a team that’s already beaten you twice.
That precedent lies in the favor of Cleveland State in tonight’s Horizon League semifinal showdown in Indianapolis.
Milwaukee not only beat Cleveland State in the last game of the regular season but also took down the Vikings in overtime in Cleveland.
Milwaukee faces the tall task of beating the Vikings a third time, this time on a neutral floor. Reminder: the Horizon League Tournament changes venues for the semifinals and championship games.
This is a big blow to Milwaukee, which feeds off its rabid home crowd to fuel its relentless defensive pressure. At the larger, more cavernous Indiana Farmers Coliseum, the Panthers will sorely miss that “sixth man” dynamic in their corner.
Early money is backing Milwaukee this morning, which could be attributable to the surprise return of Markeith Browning II last game.
Browning is a critical cog in the Panthers’ machine and looked spry in his return to action. However, use that as an opportunity to pounce on an extra point of value with the Vikings.
Pick: Cleveland State -2 (Play to -3)
Sacramento State vs. Weber State (Big Sky)
By Jim Root
Hunting for unders has frequently been a fool’s errand over the last month, but prior indicators are extremely strong for this matchup.
In two meetings this year, Weber State and Sacramento State combined for 98 and 101 points, respectively. Both games were slow — 62 and 58 possessions — and neither offense could solve the opposing defense.
Weber’s defense is particularly stout. In Big Sky play, the Wildcats ranked second in defensive efficiency, finishing in the top half in all four of the four factors.
On the other side, Sacramento State is a hyper-disciplined group that never fouls and locks down the defensive glass.
Tempo is likely to stay slow given Sacramento State’s presence in the game.
The Hornets rank 354th in Adjusted Tempo and 362nd in offensive possession length (KenPom), consistently going late into the shot clock and playing through the paint.
From an efficiency standpoint, neither team hit even 50% from inside the arc in either contest.
Callum McRae, Sacramento State’s 7-foot-1 monster of a center, eats so much space near the rim that Weber’s scorers struggled to finish.
Given the prior matchups, the likelihood of a slow pace and the unlikelihood that either team scores efficiently, the under has real appeal.
Pick: Under 124.5 (Play to 121)
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