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Tips For Betting The Missouri Valley Conference Tournament

The Missouri Valley Conference tournament is probably the chalk when it comes to mid-major tourneys. It typically has some solid teams and a great venue for television in St. Louis.

This year 'Arch Madness' starts on Thursday, March 2 and it features two teams at the top — Wichita State and Illinois State — who are both considered bubble teams for the NCAA tournament. If both make the MVC final, and the odds suggest they will, they will probably both earn a ticket to the Dance. 

With that in mind, here are some betting notes to help you handicap this one before we get into the power conferences next week:

Odds to win it: 

Wichita State -350
Illinois State +400 
Field +600 

Wichita State and Illinois State each had only one loss in conference play and those came against each other. Wichita State owns the No. 2 scoring margin in the country of +19.5 points and the Shockers have won 12 straight games by at least 15. 

If you believe defense wins championships, Illinois State is worth a shot. The Redbirds earned the No. 1 seed in the tourney with a better RPI and they rank fourth in the country in field-goal defense. 

Best ATS teams last 4 years in MVC tourney: 

Northern Iowa 5-2-1 ATS 
Southern Illinois 4-1-1 ATS 
Missouri State 4-2-1 ATS

Inflated odds:  

Wichita State is 7-3 during the last four years of the MVC tourney but just 4-6 against the spread. Beware of big numbers here on a deep team that likes to use its bench. If they get a big lead, it's possible we could see some lesser teams sneak through the back door with a cover in the quarters or semis. 

Undervalued: 

The Salukis are 2-4 straight up in the tournament the last four years but they're 4-1-1 against the spread. They face Loyola in the quarterfinals, a team they’ve beaten twice as underdogs this season. 

Top UNDER teams: 

Southern Illinois (0-6 OVER/UNDER last four years in the tourney) 
Missouri State (1-5 O/U last four years in the tourney) 
Illinois State (11-18 O/U this season. Top UNDER team in the conference 

Top OVER teams: 

Missouri State (20-8 O/U this season, top OVER team in the conference) 
Bradley (4-1 O/U top OVER team in the MVC tourney last four seasons) 

Hot bets: 

Bradley — seven straight wins against the spread entering Arch Madness. 
Wichita State — five straight wins against the spread entering Arch Madness. 

Betting Note: 

Teams coming off a bye in the quarterfinals are 8-0 straight up over the last four seasons in the MVC tournament but only 4-3-1 against the spread. You may want to consider adding these juicy faves on a parlay if the odds aren’t too crazy. This year they will most likely be looking at big spreads vs. Wichita State and Illinois State respectively. 

Pick:

Illinois State 4-1. Great odds for a team that plays tough defense and has earned the No. 1 seed in the tournament. 

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