SEC Basketball Tournament 2019 Betting Tips: Take Kentucky

SEC Basketball Tournament 2019 Betting Tips: Take Kentucky

Another SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament, another Kentucky championship.

That seems to be the case nearly every year in the Southeastern Conference’s end-of-season competition. Kentucky fans flood the host city, generate a de facto home court advantage and often times leave victorious.

The Wildcats have won the tournament each of the last four years. Overall, they've taken 49 postseason championships, securing nearly as many titles as the rest of the league’s teams combined.

Expect the Cats to make it a sold 50 this weekend.


2019 SEC Tournament Odds

SchoolOdds
Tennessee +175
Kentucky +180
Auburn +300
LSU +650
Florida +1700
Mississippi State +1700
Ole Miss +6000
South Carolina +7000
Arkansas +9000
Alabama +10000
Georgia +25000
Missouri +25000
Texas A&M +25000
Vanderbilt +25000

Make your SEC Tournament bets here:

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Best Bet in 2019 SEC Tournament

The championship history aside, Kentucky is once again one of the most formidable teams in the country. After an inauspicious start, the freshmen-heavy UK squad has played some of its best basketball in the past few weeks.

More importantly, at least for college basketball betting fans, the Wildcats present a great value.

Bettors can find a UK tournament victory at +180 odds through SugarHouse. That puts them as just the second favorite, slightly behind Tennessee.

The Volunteers are in many ways juxtaposed to the Wildcats. UT is led by upperclassmen and raced out to a torrid start of the season that saw them reach a No. 1 ranking in the country. Since then, the Vols have gone just 4-3.

Still, Rick Barnes’ squad is the favorite for a reason. Tennessee has two of the best players in the country in Admiral Schofield and Grant Williams, plus it blew out Kentucky in their most recent meeting.

Both teams have double byes, so assuming the pair get past their respective quarterfinal matchups March 15, the bracket puts the two on a collision course for a meeting in the tournament semifinals the following day.

Both the second-seeded Vols and third-seeded Wildcats enter with better odds than the No. 1 seed largely because it will be without two very important pieces that keyed a first-place regular-season finish.

Bet to Avoid: Top Seed LSU

The biggest storyline of this year’s tournament comes from off-the-court allegations.

Last week Yahoo broke news that two years ago LSU Head Coach Will Wade allegedly offered to pay then-recruit Javonte Smith to come play for his team. LSU suspended Wade indefinitely following the story’s release and Smart will also sit out over eligibility concerns as the school and NCAA further investigate the allegations.

That leaves the Tigers in a state of chaos as they head into their most important games of the season without their coach and a key starter. Bookmakers have adjusted accordingly, placing them at odds as high as +650 on some sites.

The bracket also doesn’t do the Tigers any favors. LSU plays the winner of the second-round contest between Florida and Arkansas, where the Gators will likely be favored in that game, having defeated the Razorbacks in Fayetteville earlier in the season.

Should Florida advance, it may be a favorite over the Tigers as well. The Gators and Tigers have played two overtime games already, with each team narrowly winning on the other’s home court. A shorthanded Tigers squad may not be able to hold off a Florida unit that is fighting for an NCAA Tournament bid and knows it can play LSU tough.

But Florida is the eight seed in a 14-team tournament for a reason. The Gators’ inconsistent play could help pave the way for Auburn.

SEC Dark-Horse Pick: Auburn

Auburn is +350 at PointsBet, making it the best value of the tournament.

The Tigers from Alabama have had their own problems on the season, but Bruce Pearl’s squad still presents a strong contender, even as the tournament’s No. 5 seed. Auburn will play the winner of the first round matchup between Missouri and Georgia, either of which would enter as significant underdogs.

Should Auburn top its second-round opponent as expected, it will almost assuredly be favored over the No. 4 seed South Carolina. The Gamecocks were 11-7 in the SEC but only 16-15 overall. Having played arguably the easiest conference schedule in the unbalanced SEC basketball calendar, U of SC’s seeding is misleading. It no coincidence they have only the eighth-best odds to win the tournament from some bookmakers.

Should Auburn top Carolina, it will then likely have a favorable matchup against the shorthanded LSU team or either Florida or Arkansas, both of which it easily defeated during the regular season.

Auburn would then still have a major hurdle in the championship, where it would be underdogs against either Kentucky or Tennessee. But upperclassmen Bryce Brown and Jared Harper, two of the league’s top-10 leading scorers, give the Plainsmen more than a fighting chance.

Any Hope for the Long Shots?

Conference tournaments frequently bring about shocking upsets and even tournament titles from some of the event’s lowest seeds. In 2008, Georgia pulled off one of the most shocking runs of any conference tournament, winning the title as the lowest seed.

Don’t expect that this year.

The Bulldogs, along with Missouri, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt all play it the first round beginning March 13, meaning they would need to win five games over five straight days to take home a title.

For several of those teams, five wins might match or eclipse their regular-season totals.

Vanderbilt, the No. 14 seed, was the only power conference team to go winless during conference play. It plays the No. 11 seed Aggies, who despite pulling together six SEC wins, never made much noise during the regulars season.

There’s a similar dearth of ability, and excitement, in the 12-13 game. Though UGA has a bright future under first-year coach Tom Crean, the Bulldogs have not translated that to much success during the 2018-2019 season. Mizzou has been similarly uninspiring, struggling after losing NBA first-round pick Michael Porter Jr. and several other talented members from last year’s NCAA Tournament team.

Expect all four of these teams to be out of the tournament by its second day.

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