College Basketball: The Dichotomy of the Ohio Valley Conference
The Ohio Valley Conference is one of the most top-heavy in the country. Its good teams are really good (hello, Belmont), and its bad teams are really, really bad. Five teams in the OVC rank in the top 176 in KenPom, and Austin Peay nearly cracks the top 200 at #204. On the flip side, a whopping four teams are currently ranked lower than 318th – the other two, Southeast Missouri and Eastern Illinois, check in at #281 and #291, respectively.
During our betting adventures this year the Weave has noticed a trend within the OVC in conference play. The good teams routinely and ferociously smash the bad teams. Belmont, for instance, is beating the bottom six teams by an average of 26 points per game, and every team within the KenPom top 176 has an average margin of victory against the bottom six of over double digits:
Books, of course, adjust for this naturally by way of the spread, but the better teams have been better against the spread in conference play. In fact, per TeamRankings.com, the top six teams in the OVC are the six best teams against the spread in league play:
That trend is unique, by the way – just because you are higher in the standings does not mean you will be better against the spread. For example, Texas and Texas Tech are the two worst teams ATS in the Big 12, Nebraska is the 6th best ATS team in Big Ten play, and North Carolina is dead last in the ACC against the number. The correlation between actual record and ATS record in the Ohio Valley is truly astounding.
What does this mean going forward? Target these matchups of course!
Murray State has a date with Tennessee Tech on Saturday, and Eastern Kentucky looks to blow the doors off Tennessee State on that date as well. Unfortunately, those are the only two remaining regular season matchups, but thankfully conference tourneys are right around the corner. We’ll get two more cracks at lopsided matchups in Evansville, Indiana with two of the bottom six teams guaranteed to make the 8-team field. Get ready to load up.
Follow BettorIQ contributor Ky McKeon @Ky_3MW.