NCAAB Conference Tournament Odds, Picks: Thursday Afternoon Top Picks, Including App State vs. South Alabama (March 2)

NCAAB Conference Tournament Odds, Picks: Thursday Afternoon Top Picks, Including App State vs. South Alabama (March 2) article feature image
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Photo by Bobby McDuffie/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Judah Brown (South Alabama)

Thursday represents the first day of the conference tournament season where day games come into play.

The Sun Belt and Missouri Valley are both tipping off before 6 p.m. ET, and we have two best bets for two afternoon games.

Dive in now to get the top NCAAB conference tournament odds and picks for Thursday afternoon below.


Thursday Afternoon Conference Tournament NCAAB Best Bets

The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that our college basketball staff is targeting from Thursday's slate of games. Click the team logos for one the matchups below to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.

Game
Time
Pick
12:30 p.m. ET
South Alabama -4.5
1 p.m. ET
Northern Iowa -3.5
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.

Appalachian State vs. South Alabama

Thursday, March 2
12:30 p.m. ET
ESPN+
South Alabama -4.5

By Tanner McGrath

What type of teams do you want to bet on in March?

In short, the hot ones. If not that, the ones playing their best ball at the right time. And if not that, the ones that can get hot at the right time, perhaps behind a player who can get hot in a moment’s notice.

South Alabama encompasses all of that.

After a 2-7 start, the Jags flipped their season around and finished Sun Belt play 7-2. As a result, they also lead the country in the Haslametric’s “Momentum” stat.

Moreover, USA was second in the Sun Belt in adjusted efficiency after Jan. 1 and finished the season tops in the conference in both eFG% and eFG% allowed.

Finally, the Jags are led by all-conference guard Isaiah Moore, who dropped 18.5 points and 4.5 assists per game on 55% interior shooting with a 31.4% assist rate. Great guard play plays in March, and USA has the league’s best.

Meanwhile, App State enters the Sun Belt Tournament after five losses in its final eight games. The Mountaineers boast the league’s 10th-ranked half-court defense, 12th-ranked pick-and-roll offense and their go-to guy, Donovan Gregory, posted a 94.9 ORtg this year.

The Mountaineers are playing their worst basketball at the wrong time against the wrong team. Expect a dominant performance here and pencil USA into the Sun Belt quarterfinals.

I’d play the Jags at -4.5 (-110) or better.

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Illinois State vs. Northern Iowa

Thursday, March 2
1 p.m. ET
ESPN+
Northern Iowa -3.5

By P.J. Walsh

The first round of the 2023 Missouri Valley Conference Tournament tips off on Thursday with 9-seed Illinois State taking on 8-seed Northern Iowa.

Northern Iowa initially hit the market at -2.5 against Illinois State before sharps pounced on the Panthers at that number, driving this spread up to between -3.5 and -4, depending on the sportsbook.

This half-point difference also emphasizes the importance of shopping for the best line before locking in any bet. For example, just 30 seconds of extra work can grab you a free half-point of value in this specific instance.

But the wiseguys didn’t stop at the Illinois State vs. Northern Iowa spread, either.

Action Labs’ Bet Signals are reporting three separate steam moves on this under, citing three unique instances in which under action from respected bettors forced oddsmakers to adjust by dropping this total from its opener of 137.5 to the latest consensus of 134.5.


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