America East Conference Tournament Odds: Vermont Huge Favorites

UMass Lowell Solid 2nd Choice in Tournament

The America East Conference Tournament odds show a two-team race, with Vermont having a decided advantage over UMass Lowell. After the Catamounts and River Hawks there’s a huge drop-off in talent and that’s reflected in the odds. Bryant and UMBC are about the only two other teams given a chance at pulling off the upset. The odds on New Hampshire are +3300 and the other teams are +7500 and higher.

The AEC is down this season, ranking No. 25 out of 32 conferences by Ken Pomeroy. The favorites are going to be tough to beat here, and there’s good reason the odds on the top two are as low as they are. Still, it’s college basketball and anything can happen. The games are played for a reason.

The Favorites

UVMVermont Catamounts (-175)

The Catamounts are huge favorites and deservedly so. Vermont was 14-2 in conference games and has the best offense and defense in conference games. It’s not a huge edge, however, as Pomeroy has the Catamounts just 1.89 points better than UMass Lowell. The Catamounts are led by seniors Finn Sullivan, Aaron Deloney and Dylan Penn. The team’s adjusted offensive efficiency is No. 98 in the nation, but Vermont is hurt by a lack of offensive rebounds in the rankings.

The Catamounts are No. 69 in 3-point field goal percentage and No. 27 in 2-point field goal shooting. With percentages like those, Vermont hasn’t needed many offensive rebounds. Vermont doesn’t make many turnovers but doesn’t force many, either. The Catamounts ended the season with a 12-game winning streak and are playing their best basketball but Vermont isn’t likely to be a team you want in your March Madness bracket contest.

UMASSUMass Lowell River Hawks (+165)

UMass Lowell isn’t a bad team, as the America East Conference Tournament odds of +165 suggest. They’re not quite as good as Vermont but they’re pretty close. With the college basketball odds predictions showing a difference of two points between the two teams, it’s up to the bettor to decide if a couple of points is worth the price difference between the two teams.

The River Hawks were No. 2 in offense and defense in America East games. UMass Lowell is No. 27 in the nation in 3-point shooting. If the outside shots are falling, the River Hawks can play with a lot of teams. On defense, UMass Lowell allows just 44.3% on 2-point attempts, which is No. 7 in the nation.

The Outsiders

Bryant Bulldogs NCAAB Bryant Bulldogs (+1200)

The NCAAB scores and odds will show Bryant a small favorite over New Hampshire in the first round but it will get a lot tougher than that afterwards. Bryant ended the season on a 4-6 run. The skid knocked the Bulldogs from 7-4 in AEC games to 8-8 on the season. The Bulldogs shoot the 2-pointer fairly well but that is about the only good thing you can say about Bryant. The Bulldogs were 0-4 against Vermont and UMass Lowell.

UMBCUMBC Retrievers (+1200)

The America East Conference Tournament odds have UMBC at +1200, but that seems a bit low. The Retrievers were also 0-4 against the top two teams in the conference. UMBC is a fair shooting team but the team has no defense to speak of. The 3-point defense is especially weak, ranking No. 348 in the nation by allowing 37.9%. UMBC does have an easy draw in the first round against Binghamton but will be solid underdogs to its second-round opponent.

UNHNew Hampshire Wildcats (+3300)

The Wildcats don’t appear to have much of a chance to win the conference tournament. But New Hampshire can say one thing the other teams can’t in that they defeated Vermont and UMass Lowell during the regular season. It may have taken a bit of luck, but a win is a win. Still, it’s hard to get excited about a team that ranks No. 323 offensively and No. 232 defensively regardless of the odds.

Projected Championship Matchup

There’s no point trying to get cute here or trying to overthink things. Vermont and UMass Lowell are the class of the America East Conference. While the power ratings between the two schools isn’t that great, it’s another five points before you get to Bryant with the Pomeroy rankings. Jeff Sagarin has both teams at least 4.43 points better than Bryant. Vermont and UMass Lowell split the two meetings during the regular season with both winning at home. The winning team was lights out from 3-point range in both games. Vermont is a better team but the River Hawks offer much better odds, so the best bet here is probably to take UMass Lowell at +165.
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