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2019 SWAC Tournament Odds: Texas Southern Favored

Wide view of Texas Southern's basketball arena.
Can Texas Southern win their fifth conference title in six years? Photo by Michael Barera.
  • Texas Southern has won four of the last five SWAC tournaments
  • Prairie View A&M won 17 of their 18 conference games and claimed the regular-season title
  • Prairie View A&M will have home-court advantage throughout the tournament as the No. 1 seed

The SWAC Tournament gets underway today (Tuesday, Mar. 12) with the quarterfinals. First-round games are on campus. The semifinals and finals (March 14 & 16) will be at Bill Harris Arena in Birmingham, AB.

This is typically a tournament that the betting favorite, Texas Southern, dominates, but Prairie View A&M has a great chance to shake things up this year.

Odds to Win 2019 SWAC Conference Tournament

Team SWAC Conference Tournament odds at MyBookie (Mar. 12)
Texas Southern +110
Prairie View A&M +140
Grambling +400
Jackson State +1000
Arkansas Pine-Bluff +2300
Alabama State +4000
Southern +5500
Alcorn State +9000

While Texas Southern (19-12, 14-4 SWAC) is at a short +110, slightly ahead of Prairie View (19-12, 17-1 SWAC), it’s possible the oddsmakers got it wrong.

2019 SWAC Tournament Bracket

2019 SWAC tournament bracket
2019 SWAC tournament bracket

Is the SWAC a Two-Horse Race?

Taking a look at the betting odds, the oddsmakers are telling us quite clearly that this is a two-horse race. There is a sizable gap between second-favorite Prairie View (+140) and Grambling (+400), followed by an even bigger drop to number four Jackson State (+1000).

Why Isn’t Prairie View Favored?

Prairie View A&M might be feeling a little disrespected as they are just one of four teams in the entire country with fewer than two losses in conference play. However, their only conference loss came to Texas Southern, a 95-90 road setback in early February.

That loss has seemingly lit a fire under Prairie View A&M, though, as they enter this tournament on an eight-game winning streak and have won their last three by an average margin of 26.3 PPG.

Overall, they are second in the league in scoring and first in turnover margin, so they take care of the ball. They’ve won an incredible 17 of 18 conference games, including nine by double digits, and only really have to sweat Texas Southern.

Trust Texas Southern?

A lot of these low-majors usually get smoked when they play tougher competition, but Texas Southern did beat Texas A&M earlier this season. That win turned their season around: they were 4-8 prior, but finished on a 15-4 run.

While this team is favored to win the SWAC tournament, keep in mind that they actually finished with the second-best record in the conference (14-4). They stumbled at times, including on the last night against Southern. They lost by 10 points at home and now have to face that same Jaguars team in the opening round of the tournament.

The KenPom rankings place Texas Southern ahead of Prairie View A&M, which explains why they’re favored by a nose. Texas Southern is 213th overall in the ratings while Prairie View A&M is 223rd.

Grambling Is Too Inconsistent

The Grambling Tigers are the third team in the mix here, but they’re not on my radar. This is a team that’s far too streaky to take at +400. Since just before Christmas, this team has been on one streak after another. They lost three in a row, then won three in a row, then lost two in a row, then won four in a row, then lost four in a row, and then won three in a row.

Who knows which of these two teams shows up? It’s too risky at that price, especially with the Tigers sitting 60 spots behind Texas Southern at KenPom (273rd).

Bet Both Favorites or Prairie View A&M

One option with the SWAC is to bet the two favorites at plus-money, trust the two best teams will meet up in the final, and then make another play ahead of the title game based on current form.

On the other hand, I do like Prairie View A&M to pull this out. They are red-hot heading into the tournament and their only conference loss was to Texas Southern. They’ll be hungry to avenge that defeat.

SBD’s NCAA conference tournament coverage:

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Dave has a long history in sports media. Since working at The Score Television Network as an intern, he’s been a radio host on Sirius Satellite Radio, made numerous television appearances as a panelist, and has written for publications like FOX Sports, AskMen.com, and The Baltimore Sun.