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Big East Men’s Basketball Tournament Betting Preview

St. Johns(3 titles) @ Georgetown(7 titles)

  • Where: Madison Square Garden. New York City, NY
  • When: March 7, 2018 12:00 pm EST
  • Moneyline: Villanova (+100), Xavier (+230), Butler (+700), Seton Hall (+800), Creighton (+800), Providence (+1600), Marquette (+2500)

There are 3 options for those placing a bet on the 2018 Big East conference tournament at Madison Square Garden.

The #1 option is to pick the Villanova Wildcats. The program of Keith Herron and Scottie Reynolds is currently ranked #2 in the NCAA and is an odds-on favorite to prevail.

Behind door #2 lies the Xavier Musketeers, a sexy underdog pick at (+230). The Cincinnati cagers have put marvelous winning streaks together, are nipping at Nova’s heels with a #3 poll ranking, and have lost only once since 1/13.

Option #3 is to pick a long-shot and ride them. Big East aficionados may speak wistfully of days gone by, but in present-day the conference is home to heavies like Seton Hall, Creighton, and Butler.

MSB is calling this wager very cleanly. There is a tremendous value pick in the offing. The secret lies in an old riddle, but don’t let our first-half-of-a-Scooby-Doo-episode vernacular lead you astray. New York’s upcoming tournament is a glowing opportunity for the gambler hoping to fatten her stake before March Madness.

Remember the Monty Hall Problem? We don’t need to go over the details, but it’s based on a 3-door game show giveaway. A few experts on probability claimed that the outcome could be gamed by a savvy door-chooser. Other mathematicians laughed, but endless trials proved the theory correct. The key is that Monty Hall (or a computer simulation) shows the player what’s behind one of the doors, making the location of the big prize (a new car) easier to predict.

2/3rds of contestants never won a car from Monty Hall, because they didn’t understand the odds. Just as bettors who don’t quite grasp what the futures board is telling them are apt to lose money betting on Xavier to win the 2018 Big East tournament.

The Musketeers are out-flanked

Xavier is a fine basketball team led by 9th-year head coach Chris Mack and do-it-all guard Trevon Bluiett. The senior has passed up talks with pro teams prior to the NBA Draft, wishing to keep his next-level talent on an NCAA court as long as possible.

The problem with betting on Xavier to win this tournament is that the team has been rudely dismissed by Villanova…twice.

The Wildcats whipped the Musketeers from pillar to post in January, fearless junior guard Jalen Brunson trading 3s with classmate Phil Booth. Xavier promptly went on a winning streak and met Villanova in a rematch in Ohio. But the Musketeers missed lay-ups, got limited minutes from senior big man Karem Kanter, and fell short in a brief 2nd half comeback before losing by 16 points.

2 games is a legitimate sample size. Villanova is clearly the better team. Coach Jay Wright’s squad is bigger, more durable, and devoid of self-destructive agitators like Xavier guard J.P. Macura.

Most importantly, the ‘Cats have Brunson. The assist-a-minute phenom has been called both a physical freak and a chess grandmaster at the point guard position.

In short? We know what’s behind door #2. Xavier can’t beat Villanova, at least not if both teams play hard. Each squad is in the NCAA tourney already, both would prefer a #1 seed. Motivation will be more or less equal.

If ‘Nova reaches the final, Xavier is highly unlikely to win the tournament. That puts value on the favorite at (+100) odds.

Looking under the ‘dogs

The aforementioned trio of talented underdogs – Butler, Seton Hall and Creighton – each enjoy 7/1 or 8/1 odds for the tournament. But while Villanova has to worry about playing well through the final, the former teams must worry about Xavier and each other.

Seton Hall lost by double-digits at home to Xavier. The Pirates came close to upsetting a coasting-to-the-finish Villanova on 2/28, but are only 20-10 overall. Butler managed to beat the Wildcats in a wild shoot-out, but the upperclassman-heavy Bulldogs faded and lost 4 of their next 5 conference games.

Creighton has lost to just about every serious contender on the schedule.

The full Monty

Bet on Villanova to win the 2018 Big East tournament at MSG and receive a sign-up reward from Bet Online.

Go ahead and whip it out…your wallet, that is. Villanova may not win the Big East tournament, but the ‘Cats are healthy and no one in the conference can match their size, depth or starting backcourt.

If you simulated the entire bracket 10 times, the best team would be likely to win 7 or 8…especially when the 2nd-best squad has reason to be scared of them.

Listen to the Monty Hall mathematicians and get a leg up on NCAA betting in March. The Wildcats are winners at plus odds.

Kurt BoyerThis article was written by Kurt Boyer

A freelance sportswriter from Missouri, Kurt has covered court, gridiron, rink and ring for 10+ years. He muses about High School football on social media as The Gridiron Geek.

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