Missouri Valley Touranment Odds: Which Veteran-Laden Team Prevails?

Written By Eli Hershkovich on March 4, 2023
Missouri Valley Tournament Odds

The Missouri Valley Conference men’s basketball tournament tips off on Thursday, and one of 12 participants will earn a ticket to the Big Dance. We’ll take a look at all of the pertinent 2023 Missouri Valley Tournament odds (courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook), schedule, and how you can watch. It all begins on March 3, yet No. 2 seed Drake — the favorite to win the tournament — won’t take the court until Friday.

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Missouri Valley Tournament Odds

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Indiana State
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Southern Illinois
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Missouri State
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Northern Iowa
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Murray State
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Illinois State
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Tournament Notes

As previously stated, Darian DeVries’ team is +135 to advance to March Madness. That’s equivalent for a 42.55% implied probability. The Bulldogs last appeared in the 2021 NCAA Tournament, overcoming a 12-point, second-half deficit against Wichita State in the First Four before falling to USC.

No. 1 seed Bradley clinched the Missouri Valley regular season title versus Drake on Sunday. Its preseason odds were +400 at Caesars Sportsbook, good for the second-shortest figure. The Braves boast the 38th-rated adjusted defensive efficiency (per KenPom) across D-I. They play through 6-foot-9 junior Rienk Mast, who averages 14.0 points per game on 52.2% shooting. The floor-spacing big also provides the 61st-highest defensive rebounding rate nationally.

Their program won consecutive “Arch Madness” titles from 2019-20. The initial one came against Northern Iowa, which included a thrilling 18-point comeback with 17:08 left.

However, Wardle’s close-knit unit isn’t necessarily immune to an early upset. Bradley’s turnover rate ranks below average across D-I, and it surrendered the second-highest free-throw rate in MVC play, struggling to stay out of foul trouble.

Enter aforementioned Drake, along with No. 3 seed Southern Illinois, as viable contenders for the Arch Madness crown.

For one, the Bulldogs rank top 30 in both D-I experience and minutes continuity, respectively. Many integral pieces from the 2021 team remain, including 6-foot-1 point guard Roman Penn, who possesses the 26th-highest assist rate nationally. Penn didn’t suit up in either of their two games in the Big Dance, though, after suffering a small fracture in his left foot.

Meanwhile, Tucker DeVries, the head coach’s son, won the 2022-23 Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year honor. He’s an elite-level shooter with a savvy off-ball skillset to boot.

Eli’s Bet For Missouri Valley Tournament Odds

The Bulldogs are slightly overvalued, as I make their implied probability lower than the market’s current price tag. Instead, I’m rolling with the Salukis, sporting the 35th-ranked defensive efficiency in the country. Mind you, SIU is coached by Bryan Mullins, who was the defensive coordinator on Loyola-Chicago’s 2017 Final Four team. Mullins has shifted away from his pack-line fundamentals, but the Salukis’ ball pressure has stayed intact.

Senior guard Lance Jones & Co. force the conference’s highest turnover percentage, allowing them to dictate the pace more often than not. Nevertheless, Mullins’ bunch isn’t known for manufacturing pick-sixes, as its adjusted tempo places No. 331 nationally.

Moreover, the Salukis will need to catch fire from behind the arc in order to win three consecutive games. They’re tallying the 46th-highest 3-point scoring rate, typically running out a small-ball lineup despite starting Saint Peter’s transfer Clarence Rupert. Perimeter marksman Marcus Domask provides a steady hand in that department (35.9%), yet Jones’ efficiency — or lack there of — is the key. He shot just 27.4% from distance while over 60.0% of his attempts come via that vicinity.

A neutral site is the ideal setting for a veteran (top-70 experience and minutes continuity in D-I), high-variance team to thrive. The entire tournament will again take place at the Enterprise Center in St. Louis.

Additionally, their preseason odds to win the regular season title were +425 — the third shortest in the market. With that in mind, their postseason futures opened as the fifth-shortest odds (+1400). Hence, it’s certainly valuable if you’re a believer in their market rating ahead of the 2022-23 campaign, depending on your priors of course.

Salukis’ Path

SIU was swept by Bradley in 2023, yet it wouldn’t go toe-to-toe with the Braves until a potential championship game showdown. Plus, one of those matchups boiled down to a four-point play in the final 30 seconds. The Salukis will face the winner of the Missouri State-UIC contest to tip things off on Friday. If they’re victorious, then they’ll likely take on Drake, which they split their season series with.

But the Bulldogs could be in for a test if they square off with Valparaiso in the quarterfinals. Although the Beacons lost seven of their last eight games, they gave Drake fits in both of their matchups.

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Missouri Valley Tournament Schedule

  • First Round: Thursday, March 2
  • Quarterfinals: Friday, March 3
  • Semifinals: Saturday, March 4
  • MVC Championship: Sunday, March 5

How To Watch

The first two rounds are available for viewing on Bally Sports networks. On March 4, viewers can catch the Missouri Valley tournament semifinals on CBS Sports Network. The title game will be shown on CBS — March 5 at 2 p.m. ET. Here is the rest of the conference tournament schedule.

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