Unlike last year when the top-seeded Virginia Cavaliers (28-2) had an identical record and entered the ACC Tournament as the second choice on the betting lines, they have been pegged as +125 favorites on the 2019 conference tournament odds to successfully defend their title at sportsbooks.
Much of that may have to do with the status of freshman phenom Zion Williamson though for the third-seeded Duke Blue Devils (26-5), as they are the +175 second choice after being favored in the tournament a year ago.
Williamson – the likely overall No. 1 pick in this year’s NBA Draft – has missed the last five games due to a knee injury, but he is expected to return for the ACC Tournament. On Monday, he was named both ACC Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year while Virginia’s Tony Bennett won Coach of the Year in the conference for the fourth time in a decade. Duke remains the favorite on the overall March Madness odds.
The only two regular-season losses for Bennett’s Cavaliers this year came to Williamson and the Blue Devils. It is also worth noting that Duke has appeared in the ACC Tournament Championship Game only once in the previous four years, winning it in 2017 as the No. 5 seed over the third-seeded Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
In fact, Virginia is the lone team to win the ACC Tournament twice in the past seven seasons, also taking home the title in 2014. With six different schools winning it during that stretch, there might be tremendous value on anyone but the Cavaliers and Blue Devils, with the second-seeded North Carolina Tar Heels (26-5) next up at +325. North Carolina tied Virginia for the best mark in the conference at 16-2 and also swept Duke, although Williamson was injured one minute into the first game and missed the second.
Other teams to consider betting to win the ACC Tournament include the fourth-seeded Florida State Seminoles (25-6) and fifth-seeded Virginia Tech Hokies (23-7). The Seminoles won it back in 2012 as the No. 3 seed while the Hokies have never even made it to the title game but offer some value at +1200.
Meanwhile, the Big Ten Tournament also looks to be weighted heavily toward the top three seeds, led by the top-seeded Michigan State Spartans (25-6) as the +140 favorites on those conference tournament odds. The third-seeded Michigan Wolverines (26-5) and second-seeded Purdue Boilermakers (23-8) are next on the board at +225 and +300, respectively.
The Spartans topped the Boilermakers for the No. 1 seed on a tiebreaker after both finished at 16-4 in conference play. Michigan State swept Michigan and split two meetings with Purdue during the regular season and expects to get second-leading scorer Nick Ward (hand) back for this tournament, providing a nice boost before the Big Dance tips off.
The Big East Tournament has seven teams in the running to win it at odds of +1000 or less, with the Villanova Wildcats the top seed and favorite at +225. The 25th-ranked Wildcats went 13-5 in the Big East, earning one win more than the second-seeded Marquette Golden Eagles (23-8), who stumbled down the stretch in losing four straight games. The Golden Eagles are still the +250 second choice on those conference tournament odds and ranked higher than the defending national champions at No. 23.
However, it would not be surprising to see any of the other Big East teams seeded third through seventh win the tournament either. The third-seeded Seton Hall Pirates (18-12) are the +750 fourth choice behind the fifth-seeded Creighton Bluejays (18-13), who are third on the board at +550. Following them are the fourth-seeded Xavier Musketeers (17-14) with arguably the most value at +900 and the sixth-seeded Georgetown Hoyas (19-12) and seventh-seeded St. John’s Red Storm (20-11), each listed at +1000.