Tips For Betting College Basketball Mid-Major Teams in March
Sometimes the smaller conferences are neglected by the general public. Invariably, at some point in March you will hear the TV personalities talking about these teams that “came out of nowhere.” This may happen to the average fan, but experienced, knowledgeable bettors have already pinpointed these lesser-known teams who pose a threat to the power conferences. The first place to start is with a team’s record away from home. So let’s look at some dangerous small conference teams that the average fan may not know, but informed bettors have been winning with all year.
BIG WEST – UC Irvine is the class of the Big West. The Anteaters cruised through the regular season at 13-1. Their overall road record is a stellar 14-3. Head coach Russell Turner has done an outstanding job with this program, finishing in the top 100 in KenPom’s defensive rankings for 6 straight years. Irvine is currently no. 1 nationally in 2-point field goal defense. They have experience (44th nationally), depth (8-9 deep) and size. If somehow the ‘Eaters get knocked out of the conference tournament, this is a very dangerous team in the NIT. If they get in the big dance, we’re gonna get some points with a tremendous defensive team that plays the kind of pace that can create problems for undisciplined opponents.
WAC – The New Mexico State dominated the WAC at 14-1 in conference play. Their overall road record is an impressive 11-3. Chris Jans’ squad has won away from home vs. Washington State and at Colorado State. Loaded with juniors, the Aggies are a year ahead of schedule. Rebounding is the key, as they are in the top ten in rebounding percentage, both offensively and defensively. Navigating through the WAC tournament at the Orleans casino won’t be easy. Six teams have winning records overall and Utah Valley (10-7) and UT Rio Grande Valley (8-7) have winning road records. Whether it’s the NIT or the NCAA tournament, keep an eye on the WAC regular season champs, led by cerebral point guard AJ Harris, an Ohio State transfer. The Aggies are good this year, but should be even better next year.
SO-CON – It may surprise you that the So-Con is KenPom’s #11 conference in the nation, ahead of the A-10, C-USA and the Missouri Valley. Wofford crushed the league at 18-0 but they have a gauntlet to fight through to get to the NCAA tourney. Obviously, the Terriers are the favorite but there is a trio of teams nipping at their heels and all have outstanding road records. Don’t be shocked if ETSU, Furman or UNC Greensboro upset Wofford. Overall this is a perilous top four with a combined road record of 43-17! Three of these menacing opponents will get placed in the minor tournaments and I am betting the conference has a winning ATS record when the dust settles.
OHIO VALLEY – Here’s another conference that should produce a positive ATS record in March during the postseason. The top four combined aren’t quite the impressive away record of the So-Con, but they are 44-21 on the road overall. Murray State edged Belmont for the regular season title in the OVC featuring Ja Morant. They are co-favorites to win the championship and automatic berth into the NCAA tourney. If the Racers lose in the conference tournament they are guaranteed a spot in the NIT, while Belmont would probably get in as well. Austin Peay is sitting a distant third in the OVC standings, instead let’s focus on the sleeper team sitting in fourth place, Jacksonville State. The Gamecocks boast the no. 1 defense in the conference yet are offensively challenged. They are loaded with rim protectors as indicated by their no. 12 ranking in block percentage. Three players are in the top 200 nationally. While Ray Harper’s group may have trouble scoring at times, their opponents will face some problems putting points on the board. Speaking of Harper, he is the hidden gem of postseason tourneys. Spanning an eight year career, he has navigated through conference tournaments three times to get in the NCAA tourney. His overall conference tourney record is a phenomenal 15-4, and his postseason record (3-3) is not too shabby using the resources of Jacksonville State and Western Kentucky. The Gamecocks face UT-Martin to open their pursuit of an NCAA tourney bid.