March 8, 2013
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OVC, Horizon and Missouri Valley Tournament Outlooks
Let's take a look at some of the fringe tournaments that are kicking off Championship Week. The Ohio Valley Conference, Horizon Conference and Missouri Valley Conference tournaments are already in play. As is always the case, there are one or two teams in these lesser known groupings that seem dominant. Which are the best long term plays in Carbon Sports college basketball futures markets?
Ohio Valley Conference Tournament Odds
The OVC Tournament is basically a two horse race, which seems like an appropriate analogy since Belmont leads the polls as the -300 favorite. The Belmont Bruins have been the best team in the OVC, though the oddsmakers have been hard on them. As the top seed in the conference, they earned a bye straight in to the semi-finals, where they'll play Tennessee State, a team they recently lost to. This has to be a nerve wracking matchup for the Belmont Bruins despite being the odds on favorite to win the OVC since they dominated this group with a 14-2 SU in-conference record.
The other semi-final sees second seeded Murray State take on Eastern Kentucky. The Racers hold +350 odds to win out the tournament, and aren't a great play overall in college basketball futures. The Eastern Kentucky Colonels had an impressive 12-4 SU record in the OVC and are a high scoring squad that can give Murray State some trouble.
The point of the story concerns the futures market of the OVC Tourney. Belmont and Murray State are rightful favorites, but this is a much tighter conference than the odds indicate. What you can do is bet on the field, which is now comprised of underdogs Tennessee State and Eastern Kentucky, at +250 claim victory in the OVC. While I like what Belmont has done this season, there is tons of upset potential on the board this weekend. Take the field in the OVC at +250 since it's simply a better value.
Horizon Valley Conference Tournament Odds
The Valparaiso Crusaders are the clear favorite in this group at -200, and they await the result of the quarterfinals for a matchup this weekend. Detroit is the second favorite at +175, while the field is slated at a tempting +350 to usurp the top dogs in the Horizon Valley Conference. With the finals scheduled for Tuesday, March 12th there is time to get in on the game odds leading up to the finale.
In a Friday night matchup, Wright State will take on Youngstown as -3.5 favorites in a game they should clearly win. The Raiders are a decent play, having gone 16-11 ATS this season, and they throttled Youngstown the last time these two clashed by a score of 72-45 at home. This matchup is academic, meaning Wright State should play Detroit in the semis. They lost to Detroit 76-83 but are a pesky team that is just outside the bubble comprised of the two Horizon Valley favorites.
In another Friday night game, Green Bay battles the UIC Flames in a game that should be simple. That slates Green Bay up against Valparaiso, which is a team they simply can't handle.
There really is no point in betting against Valparaiso at -200. They dominated the Horizon Valley Conference with an in-house record of 13-3 SU. Detroit and Youngstown can give them a bit of a challenge, but there's a reason Valparaiso is favored and you should follow the lead set by the oddsmakers in the futures market.
Missouri Valley Conference Tournament Odds
This conference should be remained the "Doug McDermott" show, since Creighton and McDermott have been the only reason to hold a semblance of interest in the MVC. As one of the most explosive scorers in the country, McDermott has averaged 23.4 points and 7.6 rebounds per game and there's no reason to believe that Creighton won't role through the MVC with great ease. By playing for a small school, McDermott will want to prove to NBA scouts that he's worth a first round pick though that seems highly likely. No team in the MVC has been a great bet this season but Creighton is the runaway favorite here, and you shouldn't hesitate to back them.