Big East Futures
March 11, 2013
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Big East Tournament Betting Odds
When the Big East Tournament kicks off Tuesday in the annals of Madison Square Garden, the entire country will be eagerly watching. This conference, possesses, without a doubt, the thickest batch of top ranked schools which makes this the most difficult tournament to predict. Let’s break this down as best as we can by the numbers.
The Big East Conference has six ranked teams in the AP Top 25, with Louisville and Georgetown in the top-5 as the fourth and fifth ranked teams respectively. Marquette, which shared a three way split of the Big East regular season crown, is 12th in those rankings. That should be a clear indication of how far ahead of the pack Louisville and Georgetown are in the Big East Tournament futures.
The Big East Tournament is the biggest gauntlet run during championship week because of the amount of ranked teams you have to plow through. It’s perhaps the best preparation for March Madness itself. The last three Big East Tournament winners have gone on to the Final Four, which includes the 2011 National Champion UConn Huskies.
The #4 Louisville Cardinals lead the pack at +180 since they ended the season with a 9-1 SU and 7-3 ATS streak that provides them some favorable momentum. Their final game of the season was a vengeful 73-57 stomping of Notre Dame, who handed them their only loss over the last month of basketball. Statistically, Louisville has the best defense amongst all Big East teams which will help them shut down opponents during the rigors of this week’s bracket. The Cardinal were the best betting team in the Big East this season at 17-14 ATS and are deserving favorites to win out the championship tournament. They’re a confident bunch to say the least, but they’re not the only top-notch team in this conference.
The feared #5 Georgetown Hoyas enter the fray as the second favorites on the board posting +240 odds to win the Big East Tournament. With a staggering 12-1 SU and 10-3 ATS run to end the year, Georgetown is a pretty tempting play. Otto Porter Jr. has emerged as one of the finest talents in the country and could conceivably carry his team through to a triumphant conclusion. The Hoyas have an equally compelling defense which held opponents in the Big East to just 59.6 points per game on average. Their curious loss to Villanova last weekend has some worried, but I would erase it from the memory banks. Stuff like that happens and Georgetown hasn’t been that wobbly as a frontrunner.
No team experienced a more turbulent year in the Big East than the #19 Syracuse Orange. Despite tumbling down the stretch with an atrocious 1-4 SU and ATS record, which includes two losses to Georgetown, the Orange are listed at +350 to win the Big East Tournament. The major issue for Syracuse busting the league bracket is that the Hoyas sit squarely in their path. Just to recap: they lost to the Hoyas by an average of -11.0 points in their two games recently. These Big East odds might pay homage to their talent, but they’re not truly fair considering how badly they’ve performed against the top schools in this league.
Rounding out the top four are the #12 Marquette Eagles at +600 (odds they share with the Pittsburgh Panthers). Marquette ended the year strong, picking up wins against Notre dame and Syracuse but they are a very problematic play away from home. They went 7-6 SU on the road this year, and 4-7 ATS, but were shellacked by Louisville, Georgetown, Villanova and Florida. It should also send up a red flag that this school has never won a Big East Championship in the school’s basketball history.
Of the contenders, Louisville deserves to be favored but I prefer the longer odds laid out for the Georgetown Hoyas at +240. Otto Porter Jr. has been an impressive, and dominating, force and the road to the championship game for the Hoyas is simply that much easier. I don’t think Louisville will necessarily have a problem with most teams in their end of the bracket but Notre Dame, Marquette and the Villanova Wildcats can give them a headache they don’t want. The safer route, and better value, belongs to Georgetown.