The Big East tournament has provided some of the wildest games and finishes over the years, and it looks like the 2018 edition of the conference’s postseason won’t disappoint.
Before the Big Dance starts up, the power conferences kick off their tournaments this week, and the Big East will be must-watch, must-wager basketball for sports bettors.
Here’s a look at the favorites and live underdogs to watch during the Big East tournament while you do your online sports handicapping.
Villanova Wildcats EVEN
The Wildcats won’t be the top seed in the Big East tournament, finishing behind Xavier in the standings, but that shouldn’t phase Jay Wright’s kids. Villanova spanked the Musketeers in both meetings this season and are the odds-on favorite to win the conference tournament. The Wildcats are one of the best two-way teams in the country, scoring just under 87 points per game while giving up 71 points against.
Villanova also boast a very deep roster with talent and experience in surplus. There are six players averaging double figures in points, and stars Jalen Brunson and Mikal Bridges are not only the best backcourt in the conference but perhaps the entire country. The biggest knock against Nova is perhaps they’re more focused on the NCAA tournament than the Big East, and would silently welcome an early exit from the conference playoffs.
Xavier Musketeers +300
This could be the best value bet in all of championship week. The Musketeers are a discounted No. 1 seed and their toughest competition may not be fully invested in the Big East conference title. Xavier rebounded from its most recent loss to Villanova with three straight wins but covered in only one of those victories.
The Musketeers fill it up with a very efficient offense, scoring 84.5 points per game. Trevon Bluiett has the star power and experience to carry the program in tight games, and a victory in the Big East tournament would likely bump Xavier from a projected No. 2 seed to a No. 1. And this is the last shot at the conference crown for Bluiett and many of the team’s upperclassmen, so expect maximum effort.
Creighton Bluejays +450
There is a significant drop from the Wildcats and Musketeers in the Big East. The Bluejays are the next team up on the odds board but get shown the door early, if they’re recent ATS record is any indication of quality. Creighton had covered just twice in its previous eight lined games heading into a season finale at Marquette and is only 3-7 ATS on the road this year.
The Bluejays can score with the best of them, averaging almost 85 points per contest, but they’ve been inconsistent defensively and have allowed 88.5 points over their seven conference losses. Creighton lives and dies by the 3-pointer, making 10.5 tries from distance per game – 10th most in the country. Bettors should beware of that reliance when it comes to shooting in a bigger venue like the Barclays Center.
Butler Bulldogs +500
Butler is no stranger to pulling off postseason upsets. The Bulldogs have a win over Villanova and took Xavier to overtime, so they have the ability to shake things up in the Big East tournament. The Bulldogs have been a two-faced team, playing home and away, going 12-4 ATS at home but just 2-7 ATS in the role of visitor.
Seton Hall Pirates +600
The Pirates are showing some serious value with the way they’re closing out the regular season. Heading into the final game with Butler, Seton Hall has won three of its last four games with that lone defeat coming in overtime to Villanova. The health of leading scorer Desi Rodriguez could become an issue if his ailing ankle can’t hold up to the rigors and turnaround of the Big East tournament.