By David Caraviello | | 4 mins
Big East Tournament Odds, Tips & Best Bets To Win 2021 Title
Oh, the once-mighty Big East. Injuries, suspensions and underperformance have taken a toll on what’s typically a deep and balanced league, leaving bettors faced with an unpredictable conference tournament in New York.
Villanova lost its starting point guard to a season-ending knee injury, then saw its third-leading scorer go down with an ankle injury. Creighton coach Greg McDermott was suspended for making a racially insensitive statement. And league stalwarts Marquette, Seton Hall and Butler have struggled, narrowing the list of likely NCAA Tournament selections.
Despite McDermott’s situation, No. 2 seed Creighton is the college basketball betting odds favorite at +200, followed by Connecticut at +235 and No. 1 seed Villanova at +400. Those are the only Big East teams likely assured of NCAA Tournament berths; Xavier is on the bubble and St. John’s probably needs to play its way in by progressing in the conference tournament.
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Big East Tournament Odds
Our Pick To Win Big East Tournament
Connecticut. In their first season back in the Big East after a seven-year absence, the third-seeded Huskies have certainly made their presence felt. Winners of six of seven to close the regular season, UConn leads the Big East in both defense and field goal percentage, thriving off getting stops and good shot selection.
In guard James Bouknight, who returned from January elbow surgery to hit for 20 or more points in four of his last five outings, coach Dan Hurley’s team has a legitimate star who’s capable of taking over a game.
The rub is that UConn went 0-3 in the regular season against the league’s two top teams, Villanova and Creighton — though Bouknight lit up the Bluejays for 40 and the Wildcats now are hardly at full strength.
Creighton is probably the league’s best team, but we don’t know when McDermott will be back, or the damage his comments might have done within his locker room. If you’re looking for momentum and positive March Madness energy, UConn right now has plenty of both.
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St. John’s: Don’t overlook the Johnnies, who have the league’s leading scorer in Julian Champagnie. Coach Mike Anderson’s team has rarely been at full strength, but they force lots of turnovers, carry intriguing odds of +2000 and face a potentially winnable semifinal against Villanova with perhaps an NCAA Tournament berth on the line.
Xavier: The Musketeers, at +470, beat Oklahoma in December, beat Creighton in February and have been all over the place in between. But Paul Scruggs is a tremendous scorer. Xavier needs wins to secure its NCAA Tournament berth and the door would crack opens if this team can upset Creighton in a quarterfinal.
Villanova: Wait, the tournament No. 1 seed as an underdog? Hey, those +400 odds speak for themselves. Point guard Collin Gillespie is a huge loss and the Wildcats have dropped four of nine. But the league’s highest-scoring offense is more than one player and blueblood programs know how to find a way.