2024 Patriot League Tournament Preview, Analysis & Best Bets

2024 Patriot League Tournament Preview, Analysis & Best Bets

HAPPY MARCH! These next few weeks are the best in any sport. Conference tournament week(s) are kicking off this week, and we start the true win-or-go-home games for a lot of these teams, especially in the lower conferences. Out of 33 Patriot League tournaments, the one or two seed has won 30 times. Will chalk prevail again? History says so, but I say not so fast. Let’s dive into my Patriot League conference tournament preview, analysis, and best bets!

It’s critical that you shop around when trying to bet on these conference tournaments. At this time of the year, it is easy to find a dramatic difference in certain teams from book to book. Next, you want to check to find out where these tournaments are played. The Patriot rewards their top seeds by playing on their home floors.

How much does that homecourt help? Well, if the regular season is any indication, we should see chaos regardless of location. Each team has won numerous road conference games, which sets up for a very good tournament.

It will start on Tuesday, March 5th, with the two highest seeds getting byes. Can anyone stop Colgate? Will they make it four in a row, or will others have something to say about that? I think we have some value in a few teams. Let’s discuss.

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2024 Patriot League Tournament Preview, Analysis & Best Bets

Favorite To Win: Colgate -230

They might need to change the name from Patriot League Conference Tournament to The Colgate Invitational. The Raiders have won three straight conference titles and four of the last five. Since 2018, they are 14-1 straight up and 12-3 against the spread in this tournament.

They are a hefty favorite for a reason after notching the best offense and defense in the conference. In fact, it was not even close, as the next-best offensive team was four points behind in offensive efficiency.

The pace of play in this conference favors Colgate. Every team but Lehigh is in the 250’s or above as far as tempo. The Raiders half-court offense with their ball movement is too much for a lot of teams and their weaknesses (offensive rebounding & FT shooting) can be negated by just how efficient their offense is.

I don’t see any value in laying this hefty of a price, especially with the two teams I like having had success vs the Raiders. Keep in mind, Colgate is just 5-4 ATS at home and will likely be laying big numbers, so it could be some value in betting the dog against them.

If Not Colgate, Then Who: American +900

American is in the top five in offensive and defensive efficiency, but more importantly, they have recent success versus Colgate, who is their potential second-round matchup. This offense has the biggest variance of any team due to their three-point shooting.

It’s quite possible they can either lose in the first round or win the entire thing. That’s the type of variance this team possesses.

They play with the slowest pace in the conference, which limits possessions, and if they can get hot from deep as well as protect the ball on offense, they could be dangerous.

In the two matchups versus Bucknell, they won by an average of around 8.5 points. They’ll be favored by around 4, and after dropping three of their last five, the Eagles should get back on track with a favorable matchup.

Their path is a lot harder due to the second-round matchup with Colgate, but they won in that building a few weeks ago as a huge underdog. They’ll have multiple days to devise a game plan to stop the Colgate offense, which has shot it well against them in the previous two matchups.

The American is competitive on the road and have covered around 59% of their games on the road. The upside is there for the Eagles, and they’ll be catching Colgate off of an extended eight-day layoff.

Darkhorse and Official Pick: Lafayette +1200

The Leopards are at the bottom of the bracket, so they would not have to see Colgate until the championship. In their path stands Lehigh, who swept them in the regular season, and Boston U, who they split with.

They will be favored (-3.5 by my number) at home vs Lehigh and a slight dog to BU in their next matchup. One of their wins vs BU actually came on the road, so that does not scare me at all.

Lafayette has a top three defense in the league, and they shoot 35% from deep. Lehigh and BU both struggle defending the three as well as scoring from beyond the arc. I love the matchup they have against both of their potential opponents and even at Colgate, I think they have a shot. They won by five at Colgate as a 13.5-point dog and only lost by five in the rematch at home.

Home court advantage in the Patriot is not strong at all. Per Kenpom, the homecourt advantage ranks dead last among all conferences.

The conference is in the top six in close game percentage, which gives us value on home dogs, even outside of Lafayette. It has been a roller-coaster season for Lafayette, starting out 1-12 before winning seven straight conference games.

Down the stretch, they underperformed, losing four straight, but I think that refocuses them for this tournament.

Can the Leopards win their first Patriot League title since 2015? I think they have a shot behind a solid defense, good shooting, and the duo of Hines and Vander-Baan.

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