Ohio Valley Conference Tournament Betting Preview - presented by Betfred Sportsbook
The Ohio Valley Conference is going to look a lot different this year. For those who don’t pay attention to conference realignment, the conference lost three of its better programs, with Murray State and Belmont heading to the Missouri Valley. Meanwhile, Austin Peay dipped for the ASUN. The conference added three new faces in Little Rock, Lindenwood and USI (Southern Indiana).
Belmont and Murray State have won four out of the last five conference championships, so we will likely have a new face representing the Ohio Valley.
Despite the new faces, the OVC has some great storylines. Morehead State won the regular season championship for the first time in nearly 30 years. Multiple programs had record breaking season. SIUE set a division record for wins. And UT Martin had a comeback story for the ages, as Parker Stewart returned home where his late father coached and the Skyhawks won a record 14 home games. SEMO won double digit games for the first time since I’ve followed college basketball.
Tennessee Tech will make their first conference tournament semifinal after securing the two seed.
Without further ado, let’s break down the tournament, with odds provided by the Betfred Sportsbook
Morehead State +140
Tennessee Tech +380
UT Martin +650
Tennessee State +750
Southeast Missouri State +1100
Southern Indiana +1300
Schedule: March 1-4 (Championship Game, Saturday, March 4th, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2)
Morehead State (+140)
Morehead has been one of the hottest teams in the country. They have won 11 out of their last 12. They lead the conference in scoring defense surrendering 66.5 points per game. In a conference where everyone plays fast, Morehead slows things down ranking 341st in pace. Illinois State transfer Mark Freeman who is averaging 14 points per game. Former NAIA All American Alex Gross leads the conference in blocks and averages 12 a piece himself. The Eagles get the benefit of having the double bye, and have a great shot at winning this conference for the second time in three seasons.
Tennessee Tech (+380)
Tennessee Tech had one division one win going into the new calendar year. Since 2023 started, TTU has went 11-5 in conference play. It’s one of the best in season turnarounds no one is talking about. The Golden Eagles do a great job shooting the three ranking top 30 nationally. Morehead State transfer Jaylen Steele stars for the Eagles leading them in scoring 15ppg. This team has a lot of talent, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they won the whole thing.
UT Martin (+650)
It’s hard to root for this team. Anthony Stewart passed away as UT Martin’s coach three years ago. Star guard Parker Stewart, was the leading scorer under his dad and was a second team All-Conference selection. He goes to Indiana for two years and comes back this year to finish what he started. Stewart is averaging 16 points per game this season. The Skyhawks have an explosive offense. They like to run the ball quickly down the floor. You can argue they have the most upside of any team in this tournament. They have multiple guards that can handle the ball, they defend the three well. They have beaten the top two seeds at least once. I really like their chance to cut down the nets.
Southern Illinois-Edwardsville (+900)
This team has a ton of talent. After starting 14-5 and breaking the Division I program record for wins in a season, SIUE lost four games in a row and ended the season losing eight of their last 12 games. They have four guys averaging double figures. Defensively, they have been atrocious allowing nearly 80 points per game in conference play. It’s one of those things if the defense does show up, SIUE is a team too look out for.
I like UT Martin here. They have a solid combination of experience and youth. There is a lot of value on them at 6/1. Morehead has been playing really well and it is hard to fade them in this spot. However, they are very beatable and conference tournaments are a different beast. Give me the Skyhawks to cut down the nets.
Follow Austin Montgomery on Twitter - @AMontgomeryLive
To get full odds on the Sun Belt and all conference tournaments, visit Betfred Sportsbook
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