NCAAB Conference Tournament Odds, Best Bets: Wednesday’s Top Picks, Including Southern Indiana vs. SIU Edwardsville (March 1)

NCAAB Conference Tournament Odds, Best Bets: Wednesday’s Top Picks, Including Southern Indiana vs. SIU Edwardsville (March 1) article feature image

Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images. Pictured: Trevor Lakes (Southern Indiana)

It's officially March 1, which means March Madness is right around the corner.

It all starts with the low-to-mid-major conference tournaments this week, and on Wednesday, three leagues are in postseason action: Big South, Northeast and Ohio Valley.

Our staff has three best bets for one game across all three conferences, so dive in now to get the top NCAAB conference tournament odds and best bets, including Southern Indiana vs. SIU-Edwardsville.

Wednesday's 3 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 Wednesday's slate of games. Click the team logos for one the matchups below to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.

7 p.m. ET
St. Francis (PA) -4.5
8 p.m. ET
Presbyterian +7
10 p.m. ET
Southern Indiana +2
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.

Central Connecticut vs. St. Francis (PA) (NEC)

Wednesday, March 1
7 p.m. ET
St. Francis (PA) -4.5

By Tanner McGrath

St. Francis (PA) and CCSU split their regular season meetings, with both teams winning on their respective home courts.

While the NEC's home-court advantage doesn’t mean much, I still like the Red Flash to pick up a second home court win over the Blue Devils in a revenge spot after CCSU won by 14 in late January.

But this isn’t as much a home court play as a matchup play.

Behind guard Nigel Scantlebury, CCSU ran pick-and-roll at the highest rate in the Northeast. Unfortunately, the Devils are running straight into the conference’s second-best pick-and-roll defense by ShotQuality points per possession allowed.

Moreover, Merrimack was the only NEC pick-and-roll defense that was better by ShotQuality’s metrics, and the Warriors led the nation in that stat. St. Francis (PA) is a top-35 pick-and-roll defense nationally by SQ’s metrics.

So, how did Central Connecticut manage a 14-point win in a terrible matchup?

The Blue Devils picked up a whopping 28 free-throw attempts. Given they’re 356th nationally in free-throw rate, I’d expect some normal regression back to the mean, especially away from home — CCSU finished with just eight FTAs when the two played in Loretto.

Ultimately, we should see some regression towards a normal CCSU-SFPA game script, where Scantlebury’s ball screens run hopelessly into a Red Flash brick wall.

Meanwhile, St. Francis (PA) forward Josh Cohen (22 PPG, 8.1 RPG) should overwhelm an undersized Central Connecticut interior.

It’s also worth mentioning CCSU is a tad overvalued. The Blue Devils built some momentum down the stretch with four straight wins before dropping their last two, but ShotQuality graded three of those four wins as analytical losses.

The ShotQualityBets model projects SFPA as an eight-point favorite, while EvanMiya’s model projects the Red Flash as a six-point favorite. So, I love getting the Red Flash under -5 (-110).

Pick: St. Francis (PA) -4.5

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Presbyterian vs. Campbell (Big South)

Wednesday, March 1
8 p.m. ET
Presbyterian +7

By Matt Cox

The Blue Hose were feeling the blues all season long. A devastating injury to star player Winston Hill sent Presbyterian into a tailspin at the turn of the calendar.

Since then, the Blue Hose haven’t won a game.

Fittingly, their last victory came against Campbell — tonight’s foe in the Big South Tournament opener — way back on Dec. 29. That alone should warrant a temporary confidence resurgence, though Campbell did thrash Presbyterian in the rematch two weeks ago.

Still, conference tournament time is when traditional handicapping logic goes out the window. Last night, we witnessed 3-28 Green Bay cover on the road against Wright State and 5-26 IUPUI nearly upset Robert Morris as a 14-point underdog.

From a value perspective, these horrific teams are, at minimum, priced at garage sale bargain.

From a motivation perspective, conference tournament time presents a new lease on life for every down-and-out squad across the country. That’s precisely where Presbyterian finds itself in the wake of a 26-point loss to Charleston Southern last weekend.

Bet on an inspired performance from a team who’s lost three of its last five games by less than four points, including a near upset of top-seeded UNC Asheville three weeks ago.

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Southern Indiana vs. SIU Edwardsville (Ohio Valley)

Wednesday, March 1
10 p.m. ET
Southern Indiana +2

By Cooper Van Tatenhove

Southern Indiana and SIU Edwardsville will square off for the third time this season in the first round of the OVC Tournament. The winner will move on to play UT Martin in the quarterfinals.

In the first matchup between these two, SIU Edwardsville was able to get a 69-62 win despite losing the rebounding battle 41-to-33. The Cougars were able to come out on top by attempting a total of 30 free-throw attempts, connecting on 25 of them.

In the second matchup, Indiana State once again dominated on the glass and was able to limit the Cougars’ trips to the free-throw line on its way to a 82-72 victory. The Screaming Eagles displayed a balanced offensive attack with four players in double figures.

Given this consistent rebounding advantage, I believe there is value on Southern Indiana as an underdog in this spot. Southern Indiana ranks 53rd nationally and first in the OVC in offensive rebounding percentage, while SIU Edwardsville is outside the top 240 in the same category on defense.

In order to come out on top, Southern Indiana will need to focus on defending without fouling in order to outpace the Cougars. SIU Edwardsville scores the seventh-most points from the free-throw line in all of college basketball, scoring 23.5% of its total points from the charity stripe.

Although this has been a weakness for Southern Indiana’s defense, I expect the Screaming Eagles to be fully aware of this trend in what is now their third matchup with the Cougars.

Lastly, if Southern Indiana is able to get a win on Wednesday night, look for it to be a live underdog against UT Martin, as the Screaming Eagles rank 37th nationally in 3-point percentage and can get hot in a hurry.

Pick: Southern Indiana +2 (Play to +1.5)

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