MVC Conference Tournament Odds: Drake and Bradley Fav’s

Drake, Bradley Betting Favorites for MVC Tournament

The Missouri Valley Conference Tournament is set to tip off Thursday, with Drake and Bradley the two favorites. The Bulldogs have MVC Conference Tournament odds of +130, with the Braves close behind at +175.

The field is particularly deep, with this marking the first time in league history that five teams are entering the tournament with at least 20 wins. The tournament — nicknamed Arch Madness because of its host site — will be played at Enterprise Center in St. Louis, with the final scheduled for March 5. The winner will earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.


DRKE Drake Bulldogs (+130)

The Bulldogs are the tournament’s No. 2 seed after falling to Bradley on Sunday, yet they remain the slight betting favorite at +130. The loss snapped a nine-game win streak in Missouri Valley Conference play.

There is obviously plenty to like about this team, especially on offense. Sophomore combo guard Tucker DeVries, averaging a team-high 18.9 points on 44.9% shooting, is a bona fide No. 1 scorer, capable of creating mismatches with his size and versatility. Also worth watching is 6-foot-3 guard Garrett Sturtz, a former walk-on who has beaten the odds to become the school’s all-time leading rebounder. At plus money, Drake offers good value.

BRAD Bradley Braves (+175)

Nobody has more momentum heading into the postseason than Bradley. The Braves have won 10 straight games, including a 73-61 victory over Drake in the regular-season finale. In doing so, the Braves claimed their first regular-season title since 1996 and locked up the tournament’s No. 1 seed.

The Braves are among the stingiest teams defensively, ranking 13th in the country in scoring defense (61.3 points allowed per game) and 17th in opponents’ field goal percentage (39.9), via college basketball stats. Those skills always translate well.


INST Indiana State (+550)

These aren’t your father’s Sycamores. Larry Bird isn’t walking through that door to carry Indiana State deep into March. We’re quite confident in that.

That said, they are still a threat to Bradley, Drake or anyone else in the MVC for that matter. The fifth-seeded Sycamores, who will face No. 12 seed Evansville in Thursday’s first round, boast quality depth, with four players averaging double figures in scoring. They’re also experienced, which often makes a difference this time of year.

The Sycamores were 19-11 against the spread this season, which is notable when considering the NCAAB betting lines. If you’re searching for an upset pick, you could do worse than Indiana State at +550.

BEL Belmont Bruins (+800)

The Bruins settled in well after coming over from the Ohio Valley Conference, where they had become a perennial contender, in addition to a trendy upset pick for those filling out their March Madness contest bracket. Belmont, which will get the winner of Indiana State/Evansville in Friday’s quarterfinals, went 21-10, including 14-6 in conference, to snag the No. 4 seed.

Belmont is skilled at guard with 6-6 senior Ben Sheppard, who is averaging a team-best 18.8 points on 47.5% shooting, including better than 40.6% from 3-point range. As if that’s not enough, freshman Ja’Kobi Gillespie is coming on strong, with 16 and 24 points over his last two games, respectively.

SIU Southern Illinois (+1200)

Sure, the Salukis are a longshot, but they did beat both Oklahoma State and Drake, in addition to Belmont, which earned them the No. 3 seed via a tiebreaker. They’re also riding a hot hand in senior guard Lance Jones, the conference’s reigning player of the week.

Given their MVC Conference Tournament odds, the Salukis could be worth a sprinkle.

Projected Championship Matchup

Drake vs. Bradley: These are not only the conference’s two best teams, but also the two hottest. The MVC Conference Tournament odds reflect that. Momentum matters, especially in a neutral-court setting such as this. The Bulldogs and Braves split their two regular-season meetings, and we’re betting on there being a rubber match.
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