The 2013 Atlantic Ten tournament is set to begin on Thursday and a number of hopeful participants are looking to get hot and claim the conference championship.
If you want to make this thrilling tourney even more exciting, there’s always the option of placing a bet on which side will win it all.
We’re here to help you pick a victor, eliminate some bad bets and even point out a long shot that could easily pay dividends on Sunday.
Keep reading to see which schools to target, which to avoid, odds for each team to win and much more in our A-10 tournament preview.
The Favorite: Saint Louis +200
The Billikens have a slight edge over VCU as the favorite in this event, as they were able to claim the No. 1 seed. It’s no surprise they are expected to win, considering the high level of basketball being played by this squad during the 2012-13 campaign.
They have won 12 of their last 13 games, with the only loss coming on the road to Xavier in overtime.
Guards Kwamain Mitchell and Jordair Jett, two players who can get hot and absolutely light it up when the situation calls for it, lead this strong lineup. One of the main motivating factors in this team’s success has to be the recent passing of head coach Rick Majerus at the beginning of the season.
Interim coach Jim Crews has done an excellent job keeping his boys focused and motivated through the heartbreaking saga and they now look primed to nab the A-10 tourney crown.
The X-Factor: Butler +1100
Despite a number of tough losses in the second half of the season, the Bulldogs aren’t going to lie down or roll over for anyone.
This is a group that defeated then-No. 9 UNC, No. 1 Indiana, No. 8 Gonzaga and a slew of other tough conference and non-conference opponents.
Brad Stevens is one of the best young coaches in all of college basketball and has experience leading this mid-major program to two straight national title games.
Expect senior guard Rotnei Clarke to put the team on his back over the next few days, having them fight hard to win in spite of the odds.
The Bad Bet: Any team except top-five seeds
The Atlantic 10 is a stacked conference, but the power differential between the top five seeds and the bottom seven is substantial.
As good as Xavier, Richmond, Charlotte, St. Joseph’s, George Washington and Dayton can be, these programs simply aren’t a real threat to advance far this weekend at the Barclays Center.
While the lines may look juicy and upsets do happen, there’s not enough value to warrant a risk on any team outside of St. Louis, VCU, Temple, La Salle or Butler.
Seeds and Vegas Odds to Win 2013 Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament
*Lines courtesy of Bovada.lv
1. Saint Louis +200
2. Virginia Commonwealth +220
3. Temple +600
4. La Salle +850
5. Butler +1100
6. Massachusetts +3000
7. Xavier +3100
8. Richmond +2300
9. Charlotte +16000
10. St. Joseph's +2100
11. George Washington +7000
12. Dayton +2400