College Basketball Betting Guide for Tuesday 3/8/22: 3 Conference Tournament Games to Target
March Madness is on its way, and conference tournaments are starting up all across the country.
Tonight, we see tournament action in the ACC, MAAC, ASUN, Northeast Conference, CAA, Horizon League, C-USA, West Coast Conference, Big West, WAC, and Summit League.
Which games should draw our attention? Let's find out.
Please note that lines are subject to change throughout the day after this article is published. Please check here to make sure you're seeing the most updated information. You can also look at our oddsFire tool to get a feel for what the betting public is doing.
Delaware Fightin' Blue Hens vs. UNC Wilmington Seahawks
The CAA championship game features the Delaware Fightin' Blue Hens and the UNC Wilmington Seahawks, and the over/under on this contest (133.0) might be too low.
Right off the bat, Delaware and UNC Wilmington aren't exactly known for their defensive play, ranking outside the top-200 in adjusted defense, per BartTorvik.com.
On the other hand, both teams rate much better offensively. The Blue Hens are 86th in adjusted offense while ranking well in effective field goal percentage (29th), free throw rate (62nd), and three-point percentage (75th).
The Seahawks are middle-of-the-pack in adjusted offense (156th), but they play clean basketball with an excellent turnover rate (23rd), and they also get to the charity stripe at a respectable clip (84th).
UNC Wilmington should also be able to get second-chance points against a Delaware squad that's showing a poor 301st ranking in defensive rebounding rate.
These two teams have combined for 138 and 131 points this season, so they've been a mere 3 points away from cracking 133.0 in both prior meetings. numberFire's model classifies this as a two-star wager and gives the over a 62.44% chance tonight.
Saint Mary's Gaels vs. Gonzaga Bulldogs
The Gonzaga Bulldogs failed to cover a large spread against the San Francisco Dons last night, and the data suggests that their next foe might be able to pull off the same trick.
As the top-ranked team in the country, it isn't surprising to see Gonzaga as a 12.5-point favorite in the West Coast Conference tournament title game. They're great-to-elite in most relevant metrics and now rank second in adjusted offensive and fourth in adjusted defense.
But much like San Francisco, the Saint Mary's Gaels should be able to put up some fight.
The Gaels are a top-20 team, according to numberFire's power rankings, KenPom, and BartTorvik. While Saint Mary's is merely solid on offense (67th), they're one of the best defensive teams in the nation, checking in at 10th in adjusted defensive efficiency.
They also crack the top-100 in three-point percentage, which could help even the tide if they get hot from deep. Saint Mary's should also have a distinct advantage when rebounding on defense; Saint Mary's is 7th in defensive rebounding rate, whereas Gonzaga falls outside the top-100 in offensive rebounding rate.
Oh yeah, and the Bulldogs' only conference loss this season? That was to the Gaels a little more than a week ago.
Our model digs Saint Mary's at +12.5 and gives them a 70.81% chance of covering.
Chicago State Cougars vs. Utah Valley Wolverines
This first-round WAC matchup doesn't get going until 11:30 PM ET, and it doesn't look like one that East Coasters are going to want to stay up for. This may very well be the most lopsided game on the entire slate. numberFire's model gives the Utah Valley Wolverines a 92.9% chance of beating the Chicago State Cougars tonight.
Chicago State has won only seven games all season, and there's a good reason why. They rank 337th out of 358 teams in numberFire's power rankings, and they struggle pretty much across the board. The Cougars are 288th in adjusted offense, and it only gets worse in adjusted defense, where they're dangerously close to rock-bottom at 347th.
They also rate poorly in three-point percentage (286th), so they aren't the type of underdog that's likely to keep pace by stringing together shots from beyond the arc.
The Utah Valley Wolverines aren't an offensive juggernaut themselves (194th), but strong marks in free throw rate (18th), offensive rebounding rate (65th), and three-point percentage (60th) show that there are still plenty of paths for them to put up points. They also rank 72nd in adjusted defense, so they should be able to put the clamps down on Chicago State, too.
In their only season meeting, Chicago State actually came to play by racking up 87 points -- and yet still lost by 14 points.
The spread is high at 12.5 points, but our model still likes it as a two-star bet and has Utah Valley covering 60.68% of the time.