By Justin Mark, SGPN Football Handicapper
Justin Mark of the Sports Gambling Podcast Network is currently ranked seventh in college basketball picks against the spread in the 2022-2023 season per Tallysight. Here’s his look at the conference tournaments involving regional teams (and others) as they roll into the weekend from a handicapping/sports wagering perspective. Find all of Sports Gambling Podcast Network’s college basketball picks here.
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Right now, there haven’t been many surprises in the ACC tournament bracket and I don’t expect there to be. While I’m most intrigued by the North Carolina vs. Virginia game, my eyes are on Duke. They finished 14-6 in conference play and have won their last six games.
Assuming Miami beats Wake Forest and Duke slides past Pitt on Thursday, the Miami game will be a tough one for Duke. Duke beat Miami by two in January, and I think they can find a way to win again. Because games are going on as of this writing, lines aren’t currently available, but I’d sprinkle a little on Duke to win the conference.
The Big 12 has some very strong teams, including Kansas, Texas, Kansas State and Baylor. I actually like the winner of the Baylor vs. Iowa State game to make it to the conference championship. Both have had up-and-down conference play, but have been getting stronger down the stretch.
The Big East is going to be a wild conference tournament. Villanova gets Creighton Thursday night at 9:30 p.m. on FOX Sports 1 and that winner is likely to get Xavier in the semifinals Friday night. I’m sure ‘Nova fans remember that they beat Creighton less than a couple of weeks ago by 12 points. I like them to do it again and make it into the semifinals. If they can manage that, they have a chance to win the tournament and make it to the Big Dance.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t hopeful for the Iowa Hawkeyes to win the tournament. They’re a strong team but they seem to keep getting in their own way, like the last game against Nebraska. Still, they are a strong squad and have already beat some of the top teams, such as their quality win against Indiana, 90-68. The Hawkeyes and Hoosiers are both worth sprinkling a little on. Unfortunately, I don’t think Penn State has much hope of pushing deep into tournament play.
I know number-one seed Toledo has been a strong team in conference play all year, but I can’t understand why Kent State is at +200. Seems like these two should be closer in consideration for winning and Kent State should be closer to +150. It’s good news for us though, as I like Kent State to win the MAC.
Not just a football team, Boise State’s basketball team has been getting better and better. This year they finished the season 23-8, including 13-5 in conference play. Look for them to keep winning on through the tournament to the finals.
The PAC-12 is another conference with some strong teams in it. However, if I’m a betting man, and we know I am, I don’t expect UCLA to win the conference tournament. Picking who I do think will become victorious is a little trickier, but it’s hard to fade Arizona. You should still be able to find some plus money on Arizona to win the PAC 12 tourney.
The SEC has seen the football world dominated by Georgia. That’s not the case in basketball. Alabama being a top team however has carried over. Can they survive the conference tournament and push through? That’s yet to be seen. But don’t rule out a basketball team that’s used to being a winning program like Kentucky.
As good as St. Joseph’s looked against George Washington, I don’t like their chances against Dayton Thursday at 5 pm, but a win enables another winnable game against the survivor of Fordham vs. Duquesne. VCU is the class of the A-10, however. Temple gets Cincinnati in the American Athletic Friday at 3:30 on ESPN2. The teams split their regular season series, each winning on their home floor but Cincinnati is the likely favorite and winner.
Penn has now dropped the last six games to Princeton, despite me thinking they would win last weekend, so it’s an uphill battle Saturday at 1:30 pm at Princeton’s home court. Yale, the regular-season champ is an even tougher task. The Quakers have moxie, but Yale seems like the play to win the tournament and get the NCAA bid.
Justin Mark is co-host of SGPN Fantasy Football’s show “Old-Fashioned Football”, and co-host of a show on the NFL Gambling Podcast, as well as co-host of the XFL Gambling Podcast. He’s also a writer for the Sports Gambling Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @JMarkFootball and The Sports Gambling Podcast @GamblingPodcast.
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