- Riding an 18-game win streak, Murray State is a -175 favorite to win the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament
- The championship game is set for Saturday night and will be televised by ESPN2
- Below, see the OVC Tournament odds and best bets
After becoming the sixth team in history to go through the Ohio Valley Conference regular season undefeated, Murray State is a heavy favorite to win the OVC Tournament, which runs Wednesday-Saturday (Mar. 2-5) at the Ford Center in Evansville, Ind.
As a -175 pick, Murray State has an implied win probability of 63.64%. #2 seed Belmont is the second choice +200, giving the Bruins a 33.33% IWP.
Ohio Valley Conference Tournament Odds
|#1 Murray State||-175|
|#3 Morehead State||+900|
|#4 Southeast Missouri State||+1800|
|#5 Tennessee State||+4700|
|#6 Austin Peay||+15000|
|#7 Tennessee Tech||+85000|
The #1-seeded Murray State Racers (28-2) and #2 Belmont Bruins (25-6) have double byes into Friday night’s semifinals.
The tournament begins Wednesday night with two first-round games: #5 Tennessee State (13-17) meets #8 Southern Illinois-Edwardsville (11-20) at 7:30 p.m. ET, followed by #6 Austin Peay (12-16) facing #7 Tennessee Tech (10-20) at 10 p.m.
The second round is set for Thursday night followed by the semifinals on Friday night and the championship game on Saturday night, which will be televised by ESPN2.
While Ohio online sports betting has yet to commence, look for it to get underway later in 2022.
Murray State Heavy Favorites
Murray State enters the tournament on an 18-game winning streak and has star power in junior forward KJ Williams and junior guard Tevin Brown.
Williams leads the OVC in scoring at 18.1 points a game, is second in rebounding with an 8.5 average and his 54.3 field goal percentage ranks third.
KJ WILLIAMS WITH THE HUGE AND-1
No. 21 Murray State remains unbeaten in conference play pic.twitter.com/WOhN8G7mQP
— The Dylan & Dylan Show (@DylanDylanShow) February 19, 2022
He has scored at least 20 points five times in the last six games for the Racers and 12 times this season. He also has recorded 10 double-doubles.
Brown is fifth in scoring with a 16.5 average and pulling down 5.5 rebounds and dishing 3.0 assists a game. He has scored in double figures in 28 of 30 games.
Sophomore guard Justice Hill runs the offense and has averages of 13.0 points and 5.1 assists. He scored nine straight points in the final three minutes Saturday as Murray State rallied for a 70-68 victory at Southeast Missouri State to complete its unbeaten regular season.
Murray State is the first team to go 18-0 in an OVC season as the conference expanded its schedule by two games last season. The Racers were also the last team in the conference with an unbeaten regular season in 2014-15.
The first OVC team to go 18-0 in the conference season! The Murray State Racers beat SEMO 70-68 and completed a perfect regular season in conference play! #RacerTradition 🐎🐎🐎 pic.twitter.com/tU0PsckRUd
— Murray State MBB (@RacersHoops) February 27, 2022
Murray State’s two losses this season have been to East Tennessee State and Auburn, which has +1100 odds to win the NCAA Tournament and Final Four odds of +230. The Racers are currently projected as a #8 seed in SBD’s March Madness bracket.
Belmont Biggest Threat to Racers
Belmont has won 11 of its last 12 games but the one loss in that span was decisive. The Bruins were hammered 76-43 at Murray State last Thursday.
Junior Ben Sheppard is Belmont’s top scorer at 16.3 points a game and scored a game-high 24 on Saturday in an 87-67 victory over Tennessee State. He has seven 20-point games this season and reached that mark four times in the last eight games.
A similar example of an immediate combo of OFF and DEF ● in reverse order here. Fr. Ben Sheppard provides Belmont w| even more major height and wingspan, for a guard here, on top of pair of 6|11 current Bruins. https://t.co/nt0BcinDrq pic.twitter.com/7Tix1Wkw5q
— Matt Trabold (@TrabsMatt) January 17, 2020
Senior center Nick Muszynski has averages of 15.9 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists. He has scored in double figures in 10 of his last 11 games and tops the OVC in field goal shooting with 57.2% mark.
Freshman guard Will Richard is scoring 11.8 points and pulling down 5.9 rebounds per game.
Others to Watch
The #3 seed is Morehead State (21-10), which has standout freshman forward Johni Broome but has also lost four of its last six games.
Broome is averaging a double-double with 16.5 points and 10.6 rebounds and has reached double figures in both categories in 20 games. He leads the OVC in rebounding and blocked shots, with 4.0 a game, and his 55.8 field goal percentage is second.
— Bluegrass Scoreboard (@bluegrass_score) March 4, 2021
Eagles junior guard Skyelar Porter is scoring 10.6 points and pulling down 5.1 rebounds a game. At 6.0 assists a game, sophomore guard Ta’lon Cooper tops the conference.
Tennessee State had won three in a row before losing at Belmont. The Tigers are led by senior guard Carlos Marshall Jr., who has a 12.9 season scoring average and 38 points total in the last two games, including 17 on Saturday.
— LIGHT ON COLLEGE SPORTS (@LightOnSports) November 10, 2021
Hard to Buck Murray State
Murray State is clearly the class of the OVC, though Belmont is also a potential NCAA Tournament team, and the pick here despite being the heavy favorite. If you’re looking for a value play, it might be worth taking a small shot on Tennessee State at +47000.
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