Big South, Ohio Valley Conference Tournament Odds & Betting Picks

College basketball’s conference tournament season is officially underway and there is a lot of money to be made over the next 10 days as we approach Selection Sunday and prepare for March Madness. Let’s start by taking a look at whether or not there’s any value in the conference tournaments that have already started. DraftKings Sportsbook has live odds on every tournament, so we’ll use those odds.

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Ohio Valley Conference Tournament Betting Odds

Team Odds
Belmont -250
Murray State +165
Austin Peay +1000
Eastern Kentucky +5000

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The Belmont Bruins -250

Belmont is the clear favorite at US sports books, but I can’t fully understand why. They are 15-3 in the conference, which is the same mark as the next favorite, Murray State. Belmont ranks 77th in BPI while Murray State ranks 107th, but this -250 line is still too heavy.

BPI gives them a 90% chance to win over Eastern Kentucky, so they have a decent shot to make the championship, but if they get there and square off against Murray State, I think that game is pretty much 50/50 (they went 1-1 head to head this year, with each team winning at home).

In order for -250 odds to pay off, you need to win 72% of the time. This team doesn’t even have a 72% chance to beat Murray State straight up. Even though Belmont is the most likely team to win, you can’t bet on them here.

The Murray State Racers +165

Murray State is in a similar boat as Belmont, except they have lower odds of winning their first game. BPI gives them a 65% chance to win this first game. Even at a 50% chance to beat top-seeded Belmont, they’d still only have a 33% chance to win both games.

For their +165 odds to pay off, they’d need to win at least 38% of the time. So once again, there’s no value here.

Austin Peay +1000 & Eastern Kentucky +5000

Austin Peay would need to win roughly 9% of the time to break even with their +1000 odds, while Eastern Kentucky would need to win 2% of the time to pay of their monstrous +5000 odds at online sports betting sites.

Austin Peay has a 35% chance to win their first game, but even if they win that there’s a 90% chance they see Belmont in the championship game. They’d be a huge underdog in that matchup, but they did beat the Bruins once this year. I’d say they’d have a 30% chance of beating whoever they see in the championship game. That gives them a 10.5% chance to win it all. There’s a very small amount of value at +1000, but it’s still value in my eyes.

Eastern Kentucky’s fate will be decided tonight at 8:00. They have a 10% chance to sneak past Belmont as a 12-point underdog. If they win that, let’s give them a 25% chance to beat the winner of Austin Peay and Murray State in the championship. That would give them a 2.5% chance to win it all. Once again, that’s a little nugget of value.

Ohio Valley Conference Tournament Betting Pick

They’re trying to sucker you into picking one of the favorites here. DO NOT, under any circumstances, consider doing that today. If you really want to bet on them, wait until the championship and you’ll get just about the same odds you have today.

The value is in the longshots of the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament. While the 50-1 odds on Eastern Kentucky are tempting, I’d rather go with the more realistic pick in Austin Peay. Throw a few bucks on them and watch 6’5” Junior guard Terry Taylor (21.6 pts, 10.9 reb) go to work. I think the Governors could pull it off.

The Pick: Austin Peay +1000

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Big South Conference Tournament Betting Odds

Team Odds
Radford -125
Winthrop +115
Gardner-Webb +650
Hampton +2000

Radford -125

This is a unique tournament in which ALL the games are played at the home of the No. 1 seed, and this year that happens to be Radford. Even with home court advantage throughout the tournament, they’re only -125 favorites. That means we need them to win at least 55.7% of the time to be profitable.

BPI gives them a 93% chance to win tonight against Hampton, a team that they’ve beaten by fewer than 5 points twice this year. Those past results have to scare you if you’re backing Radford.

If they are able to top Hampton for a third time this season, they’d most likely face off against a Winthrop team that ranks slightly higher than them in BPI. As a home team, they’d probably have a 55% chance to top Winthrop (although they lost a home game against them earlier this year).

There’s also a 30% chance they’d see Gardner-Webb rather than Winthrop in the championship game. They’d have a better shot of beating a weaker Gardner-Webb team, so I’d say their odds of beating whoever they see in the championship is right around 60%.

So with a 93% chance to beat Hampton and a 60% chance to beat Winthrop or GW, they have a 55.8% overall chance to win the whole thing. That’s literally 0.1% higher than what we are looking at in terms of ther conference tournament betting odds. Perhaps the smallest edge you’ll ever have in this type of bet, but an edge nonetheless.

Winthrop +115

No. Just no. People got a chance to watch them Thursday and might jump on the hype train because they dominated in the noon game, but you can’t bet this team at +115. With a 70% chance to win tonight and a 45% chance to beat Radford on the road, they only have a 32% chance to win this tournament. That doesn’t pay off at +115. If you really want to bet them, just wait til the championship and take them on the moneyline at the exact same odds.

Gardner Webb +650 & Hampton +2000

There’s no value in either of these teams. You’d need Gardner-Webb to win 13% of the time to be profitable at their odds and their odds of beating both Winthrop AND winning at Radford are realistically sub-10%. Hampton is a similar story. They’d need to win 5% of the time to be profitable at +2000 and they only have a 7% chance to win tonight, let alone with both games. I’m not betting on either of these teams to win the Big South this weekend.

Big South Conference Tournament Betting Pick

There’s only one team with any value here and that’s the Radford Highlanders. Led by Junior Guard Carlik Jones (19.6 ppg and one of the coolest names in college hoops), this team managed to go 15-3 and earn themselves home-court advantage throughout this tourney. I plan to see Winthrop on Sunday and I expect them to squeak out a win to earn themselves a trip to the Big Dance.

The Pick: Radford -125

Check out more NCAA basketball betting tips as we get closer to the 2020 NCAA Tournament.

Image Credit: USA Today Sports Images

About the Author

  • Matt Shanahan (mshanahan)

  • Matt Shanahan is an engineer by trade and firmly believes in data-driven analytics. He grew up in Pennsylvania and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh. His betting strategy is to develop theories, create models to test those theories, and then collect data to see what works and what doesn’t.

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