The March Madness betting euphoria surrounds this NCAA conference basketball tournament championship week more than usual.
Values are abundant, as parity reigns.
The Selection Sunday committee will be watching closely as the conference tournaments continue to unfold through Sunday. The results will help finalize this year’s NCAA Tournament field. And it sets the stage for next week’s March Madness melee.
NJ online sportsbooks are already rolling out the promos and specials.
Here is a closer look at the NJ sports betting perspective, setting the stage for the wild and wonderful conference tournament week.
March Madness bonuses
Fast break with betting promos.
What size profit boost will you get for conference tourney week at DraftKings Sportsbook?
Open the mystery box for a surprise profit boost!
???? https://t.co/071otgBIQC pic.twitter.com/XidlwiWV7n
— DraftKings Sportsbook (@DKSportsbook) March 8, 2021
Like with the Super Bowl, DraftKings is once again offering its Mystery Box promotion. Bettors will be issued one single-use mystery profit boost. Opt-in is required. Customers will randomly be issued one of the following college basketball rewards:
- 20 % CBB profit boost
- 50% CBB profit boost
- 100 % CBB profit boost
- 200 % CBB profit boost
Check your bell notifications or my rewards for complete details. Customers must select the profit boost on the betslip before placing the wager. There is a max $25 bet with $250 maximum winnings.
And there’s the non-mystery boost.
DraftKings users can obtain a 25% boost on any 3+ leg parlay. Following opt-in, bettors will be issued one single-use Profit Boost. Each leg requires minimum odds of -500 or longer. The maximum bet is $50 with max additional winnings of $250.
Big 10 Conference priced to entice
The Big 10 Conference has extraordinary betting value and a fascinating betting board.
Here are the conference tournament odds at DraftKings as of Tuesday morning:
- Michigan +175
- Illinois +320
- Iowa +425
- Purdue +500
- Ohio State +685
And you are reading this right, Michigan State is+5000
Remember, this is after Michigan State defeated top-seeded Michigan 70-64 on Sunday.
It’s not likely that Michigan State can sweep through the tournament, but how vulnerable is Michigan? Especially after you add a 76-53 pasting it suffered at the hands of Illinois last week?
The Iowa and Purdue numbers look about right. Iowa garnered a one-sided win over Ohio State, and Purdue beat second-tier teams down the stretch.
Here are the top-four seeds for the Big 10 tourney heading into Wednesday’s opening round:
- 1) Michigan
- 2) Illinois
- 3) Iowa
- 4) Purdue
These four teams are guaranteed a berth in the quarterfinals, beginning Friday. Ohio State, the No. 5 seed, will have to slip past one of the winners of the two Wednesday games, on Thursday, to make the final eight.
This will be an extraordinary week of pressure-filled games with teams that can all beat one another.
Do the Big 10 seedings reflect the AP’s top-rated teams?
The rankings, released Monday, have Gonzaga (24-0) on top and Baylor (21-1) second.
Third belongs to Illinois (20-6), which has been red hot but draws the number two seed in the Big 10.
Fourth goes to Michigan (19-3), which is sliding.
Iowa (20-7) is fifth in the poll.
Three Big 10 teams, sitting third through fifth in the national polls. Impressive.
Because of their relative parity, each yields an attractive betting return for the conference championship. When else can you get the third-ranked team in the country, Illinois, for +320 in a conference tournament?
Bettors pound these prices.
Rounding out the AP top 10, here are the others:
- 6) Alabama (21-6)
- 7) Houston (21-3)
- 8) Arkansas (21-8)
- 9) Ohio State (18-8)
- 10) West Virginia (18-8)
Big East odds, Villanova, and injuries
Who is the Big East beast?
The sad plight of the Villanova Wildcats altered the betting odds for this tournament. The Wildcats lost star guard Collin Gillespie for the season and the next go-to, Justin Moore, also is hurt.
“It’s serious. We feel for him”
-Jay Wright on Collin Gillespie’s knee injury ????????
Villanova players comforted Collin as they left court after winning Big East regular season title
Collin was on crutches after injuring his knee and leaving game pic.twitter.com/nvbPVYeRY9
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) March 4, 2021
The injuries took a predictable impact on Villanova’s Big East championship odds, which showed a change in the leaderboard late Monday night.
On Monday afternoon Creighton (+250) was favored. By Monday night, Connecticut (+210) rode a betting wave to the front of the line.
Villanova is now +350.
Xavier is +470
Watch for a shift of money away from Villanova to teams like Creighton and Connecticut.
According to SugarHouse sportsbook, Villanova had obtained 47% of the total handle and 59% of its bets to capture the tournament before Gillespie’s injury. The Wildcats had been the +275 favorite.
More on Villanova’s bad fortune
The Gillespie injury decimated an already-uneven Villanova squad.
Villanova was rolling toward the end of 2020 and ranked as high as third in the country. Then came some COVID-19 postponements, a sluggish return paired with a mediocre February.
The Wildcats were beaten decisively by St. John’s, a tournament longshot, 70-59, and by Creighton, 86-70.
The end of February saw an unlikely Villanova loss to Butler, which entered at 8-13. Villanova did show its mettle four nights later, avenging the Creighton defeat on its own floor, but the Gillespie injury overshadowed it.
Saturday, Moore suffered a sprained ankle and Villanova lost 54-52 to Providence (+3000 for this tournament). Moore is presumed out for the Big East tournament. Two key players are sidelined. It’s a tough road for Villanova, despite its No. 1 seed.
Villanova, Creighton, Connecticut, and St. John’s, the 1-4 seeds, play in consecutive games Thursday starting at noon from Madison Square Garden. It’s an all-day party.
Around the March Madness circuit
In the Big 12 conference, Baylor is -134 at DraftKings. Not bad for the second-ranked team in the nation.
However, Kansas (+335) is a very good price for a team that dealt Baylor its only loss this year. Kansas is ranked 11th in the country.
West Virginia is +700 and has been good to “over” bettors on the total in recent games. It is ranked 10th in the country.
And lurking, at huge value, is Oklahoma State (+800).
DraftKings has Oklahoma State at +250 to make the Final Four. And Kansas at +400. Why is Oklahoma State priced so high here? Different opinions about the future.
So this is an excellent week to scout teams. Given the overall parity, teams in the middle bracket range look better than in previous years.
Now the waiting game begins as March Madness season is just getting started.
AP Photo/Keith Srakocic