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Abilene Christian Make Southland Tournament Debut as Betting Favorites

ACU men's basketball team playing Texas A&M Corpus Christi.
ACU enters the Southland Conference tournament as a slight favorite over Sam Houston. Photo by Twitter user @Go_Islanders.
  • Abilene Christian has made steady gains since moving to NCAA Division I in 2013
  • Wildcats have won and covered in six of seven, but face legitimate threats from Southeastern Louisiana, Sam Houston State
  • SLU handed the Wildcats a stunning upset loss two weeks ago, and Bearkats have topped ACU in three straight

After setting program records with a 14-4 record in conference play, and an overall 25-6 record this season, the Abilene Christian Wildcats will make their first-ever appearance in the Southland Conference Tournament (Mar. 13-16) perched as clear betting favorites, sporting short +100 odds at MyBookie.

Odds to Win 2019 Southland Conference Tournament

Team  2019 Southland Tournament odds at MyBookie
Abilene Christian +100
Sam Houston State +140
Southeastern Louisiana +770
Lamar +930
New Orleans +1500
Texas A&M CC +2600
Houston Baptist +4400
Central Arkansas +4900

Southland Tournament Bracket

Southland tournament bracket
Southland tournament bracket

Wildcats Ride Win Streak into First-Ever Southland Tournament

The Wildcats have made steady gains since making the leap to NCAA Division I in 2013, and have showed massive improvement over a year ago, when they finished just out of tournament contention with an 8-10 record. The squad avoided repeating last year’s late-season swoon by posting four straight wins down the stretch to claim second place on the Southland Conference standings.

This season was not without its blemishes, however. The Wildcats proved to be a shaky wager entering conference play, failing to post an ATS win in their first seven meetings with Southland opponents before righting the ship down the stretch with SU and ATS victories in six of their final seven.

ACU Has Long Layoff before Friday’s Semifinal

Pegged as the No. 2 seed in this year’s tournament, the Wildcats enjoy a lengthy break leading up to Friday’s semifinal.

First-round action gets underway on Wednesday, as No. 6 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi battles No. 7 Central Arkansas for the right to face No. 3 Southeastern Louisiana on Thursday, with the last team standing taking on Abilene Christian on Friday.

While that hectic schedule clearly works in the Wildcats’ favor, Abilene Christian will likely want to avoid a semifinal matchup with Southeastern Louisiana, who sit as an attractive +770 longshot.

Lions Enter Tournament as Hottest Team in the Conference

Southeastern Louisiana emerged as the hottest team in the conference after overcoming an eight-game slide that included losses in each of their first three conference outings. The squad has tallied SU victories in 12 of 15 contests, also winning ATS in 11 of those outings.

The Lions have also historically dominated the Wildcats, claiming victory in nine of 11 meetings since Abilene Christian joined the conference, including a 75-66 upset win as 9-point road underdogs two weeks ago.

Bearkats Have Feasted on Conference Opponents

On the other side of the bracket, the Wildcats cannot ignore the top-seeded Sam Houston State Bearkats, who closely trail them as +140 second-favorites to win their first tournament crown since 2010.

The Bearkats overcame a dismal showing in early-season non-conference play by regularly feasting on Southland opponents during their march to a 16-2 record and top spot on the conference standings.

That run includes a pair of outright victories over the Wildcats as betting underdogs that extends their historical dominance over Abilene Christian to 8-3 SU in 11 meetings since January 2014.

SBD’s NCAA conference tournament coverage:

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Based in Montreal, Daniel Coyle is a regular contributor to SportsBettingDime.com. His coverage of all major sports and sports betting has appeared in Featurd, the Montreal Gazette, Sportsnet.ca, NESN.com, OddsShark.com, Bleacher Report, and the Nation magazine.