Major conference tournaments are getting underway this week in college basketball. If you're looking to get down on some March Madness action prior to the Big Dance next week, conference tournaments are a great way to find some value. You might be wondering where you can get down with action like this, and the answer is many books offer great values. If you have multiple books that offer conference tournament betting, it's also an easier way to find the best value. Many teams on the bubble have a chance to make a better case for a tournament bid or could potentially play their way out. Let's take a look at the Big Ten Tournament, which gets underway on Thursday afternoon.
Ohio State is a solid favorite to win the Big Ten Tournament. Opening round games for the Big Ten Tournament are scheduled to take place on Thursday. The first game of the tournament will be between Iowa and Illinois with an 11:30 a.m. start time on Thursday and it will be televised nationally on the Big Ten Network. The Buckeyes have the best odds to win the Big Ten Tournament and here are the entire odds, courtesy of 5dimes:
Ohio State +145Michigan State +260Michigan +500Indiana +625Wisconsin +725Purdue +2300Northwestern +4000Illinois +7500Minnesota +11000Iowa +25000Nebraska +35000Penn State +35000
The betting numbers are based upon the given team winning the tournament OUTRIGHT. For example, if you wanted to win with Ohio State, it would pay back $1.45 per every $1 wagered. If you bet $100 on the Buckeyes to win the tournament and they held firm and won, you would profit $145 back on your bet. If you were to wager any money on the other teams your return would be much higher than your original bet. If you bet on Michigan State to win the tournament and they were to win, your return would be 2.6 times larger than your original bet. Penn State and Nebraska are currently 350/1 (+35000) to win the Big Ten tournament, which essentially means they each have zero chance to win. Some might look at the odds for a team like that and want to take a shot based on winning a lot of money, but those odds are high for a reason.
In looking at the number more closely, we see that the top five seeds in the tournament are favored significantly over the rest of the field. Wisconsin is the biggest long shot of the top seeds in the tournament at just over 7/1. Of course, the teams that have to play on the opening day of the tournament are going to have much bigger odds because they have to win four games, but Indiana is in that position and has decent odds at +625 (6.25/1) for the tournament.
The Big Ten Tournament rarely sees a lot of surprises, so going with one of the teams on the first four lines in Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin and Ohio State is probably a safe bet. The Spartans, Wolverines and Buckeyes all tied for the regular season title but it's safe to say the Spartans have played the best basketball from the beginning of the season until now. Tom Izzo has a great squad and he wins at this point in the season.
My free pick on winning the Big Ten Tournament is Michigan State +260.
Betting Strategies: College Basketball Conference TournamentHost Marco D'Angelo and Pregame's own Johnny Detroit talk about how important the college basketball conference tournaments are for some teams and also discuss: Conference tournaments are purest handicap of the season and other various handicapping angles.