College basketball conference tournaments tip off over the next two weeks. These postseason events have been ripe with betting value when it comes to the tournament futures, with many top-seeded programs thinking ahead to the NCAA and number of conference rivals needing a tournament win to get into the Big Dance.
If you’re looking for sportsbook news on underdog value in the conference tournament futures, these could be your best bets.
St. Mary’s Gaels (+160 to win West Coast Conference tournament)
Gonzaga is the big bad wolf in the WCC, and has been for a very long time. However, the Bulldogs haven’t been as dominant in 2017-18 and that’s opened up value on the Gaels as the West Coast Conference begins its postseason on March 2. St. Mary’s is ranked 20th in the country but despite that spot on the Top 25 poll, this school is not guaranteed a place in the Field of 68 and will need a strong showing in the WCC tournament to solidify that at-large bid.
The Gaels knocked off the Zags back in January, so there’s a good chance they could do it again. They’re one of the toughest defensive teams in the country, allowing only 63.8 points per game, and are extremely efficient on offense, putting up 77.4 points on nearly 52 percent shooting a night. To give you an idea of how close the WCC tournament could be this year, Gonzaga is set at EVEN money to win.
Houston Cougars (+300 to win AAC tournament)
The Cincinnati Bearcats and Wichita State Shockers are the front runners to win the American Athletic Conference title, priced at +160 and +200 respectively. The Houston Cougars are a distant third on the futures board at +300 despite boasting wins over both of those programs this season. Houston is one of the best two-way teams in college hoops, allowing only 65.3 points per game and countering with 78.2 points for on the season.
The Cougars appear to be on track for an at-large big in the NCAA, with those wins over ranked conference rivals boosting their resume. Houston, however, can really put itself in a good seed if it can run the table in the AAC tournament. The Cougars have four players scoring in double figures and have shown the ability to have players step up when others have an off night. That’s priceless during the pace of the conference tournament.
Kentucky Wildcats (+600 to win SEC tournament)
It seems funny having a college basketball blue blood like Kentucky mentioned as an underdog heading into the SEC tournament. Kentucky hasn’t played up to its potential most of the year but has looked very good in its last three contests. The Wildcats walked over quality opponents in Missouri, Arkansas, and Alabama, winning those games by an average of more than 15 points per game. Alabama and Florida are ahead of UK on the futures board at +500, and the Wildcats and Gators are scheduled to meet in the regular season finale this weekend. A win from Kentucky there could drastically alter these odds.
Kentucky has the most talented roster in the country – on paper – and what were “wet behind the ear” freshmen back in November and December are now experienced ball players ready to show the nation stage what they can do. Should John Calipari’s kids figure things out in time of the SEC tournament, they could not only be a good bet to win that crown but go deep in the Big Dance.