2019 College Basketball Odds: Latest Lines for Power 5 Conference Tournaments

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 10, 2019

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - FEBRUARY 09: De'Andre Hunter #12 of the Virginia Cavaliers defends RJ Barrett #5 of the Duke Blue Devils in the second half during a game at John Paul Jones Arena on February 9, 2019 in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images)
Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images

With days remaining until men's Power Five conference tournament play begins, bookmakers in Las Vegas unveiled the latest odds for the top conferences in college basketball.    

In what is shaping up to be one of the tighter battles, the Virginia Cavaliers (+150, bet $100 to win $150) are slight favorites to win the ACC over the Duke Blue Devils (+175), according to Caesars Palace (via oddsmaker Matt Lindeman). The margin is similarly slim in the SEC, with the Tennessee Volunteers just edging out the Kentucky Wildcats (+200).

Matt Lindeman @lindetrain

Odds to win the ACC tournament are back up @CaesarsPalace! https://t.co/Zaa569GKUS

Matt Lindeman @lindetrain

Odds to win the SEC tournament back up @CaesarsPalace! https://t.co/8uFPptSscN

Matt Lindeman @lindetrain

Pac 12 https://t.co/RnUp7PD004

Matt Lindeman @lindetrain

Last one...Big Ten conference tournament odds now available @CaesarsPalace! https://t.co/yawtbjCCNF

Duke is likely to receive a boost in the form of star forward Zion Williamson.

The freshman phenom has missed the Blue Devils' last five games after suffering a knee sprain in their 88-72 loss to the North Carolina Tar Heels on Feb. 20. Head coach Mike Krzyzewski told reporters Saturday that Williamson appears to be on track to return for the ACC tournament.

Duke is effectively 3-3 without Williamson since he played just one minute against North Carolina. If he's healthy in time for the conference tournament, which begins Thursday for Duke, then the Blue Devils are not only the favorites to win the ACC but should also have an inside track on a national title. Williamson is averaging 21.6 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.8 blocks and 2.2 steals per contest.

Looking at the early odds, no conference will be harder to call over the next week than the Big 12.

The Texas Tech Red Raiders (+150) lead the field, but the Baylor Bears (+800), Iowa State Cyclones (+600), Kansas Jayhawks (+500), Kansas State Wildcats (+350) and Texas Longhorns (+800) are all within striking distance.

Should Texas Tech win its first Big 12 tournament championship, it could position itself for a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament. ESPN.com's Joe Lunardi projected the Red Raiders as a No. 3 seed in his most recent edition of Bracketology.

The stakes will be similarly high for the Michigan State Spartans and Michigan Wolverines, both of whom Lunardi slotted in as No. 2 seeds. Only one of the Spartans or Wolverines can claim the Big Ten crown, but a run to next Sunday's final might be enough to convince the selection committee.