Upcoming Match-ups

Yale Listed as Odds-On Favorite to Win 2019 Ivy League Tournament

Ivy-League
Will the Harvard Crimson win the Ivy League tournament? Photo Credit: Hojocircus
  • Harvard is the No. 1 seed but they are not favored to win the Ivy League Tournament
  • The Crimson have won the regular season title two years in a row
  • Yale will have home-court advantage in this tournament and were 10-2 at home this season

The Harvard Crimson have captured their second consecutive Ivy League regular-season crown. However, they have won this event just twice and are 2-6 in the tournament overall.

While they’re the No. 1 seed, they’re not the team that’s favored to win this lightning-quick four-team affair.

Let’s take a closer look at why that’s the case and who is the best bet in the 2019 Ivy League Tournament (March 16-17).

Odds to Win 2019 Ivy League Conference Tournament

Team Ivy League Conference Tournament odds at MyBookie
Yale -150
Penn +300
Harvard +320
Princeton +750

Take Note of the Odds

It’s not often that you take a look at the betting lines for a conference tournament and see the No. 1 seed as third in line in terms of the odds. That’s what we have here as Harvard is the top seed in the Ivy League Tournament but they’re actually behind Yale and Penn, the No. 4 seed.

Ivy League Tournament Bracket

Ivy League tournament bracket
Ivy League tournament bracket

Ivy League Tournament Details

A lot of conference tournaments are elaborate but the Ivy League tourney is quite simple: there are just four teams that make the cut. That means that whoever wins twice captures the title. This year’s festivities will be held at the John J. Lee Amphitheater in New Haven, Connecticut. That’s crucial as that means Yale has home-court advantage throughout.

Why Yale is Favored

As mentioned, Yale has home-court advantage, so that’s a big reason why they’re favored. The Bulldogs were 10-2 at home this season compared to 8-5 while on the road.

On the other hand, the other three teams in the tournament – Harvard, Princeton, and Penn – were no better than 8-5 on the road.

The other factor here is that Yale has an easier path to the title. They’ll start off with Princeton, whom they just smoked by 22 points on Princeton’s home court.

Harvard’s Path is Trickier

Harvard was a little bit sluggish to end the season, nearly coughing up the No. 1 seed. They lost by 13 to Cornell and then needed overtime to squeak by Columbia. They’ll start the Ivy League Tournament with Penn, who they beat twice but both games were really close.

What Does KenPom Say?

Harvard isn’t rated particularly well in the KenPom adjusted efficiency ratings, which is an overarching analytical stat that evaluates teams. They’re 130th in the country overall while Penn is 120th and Yale is 83rd.

However, you have to factor in the strength of schedule. Harvard is 108th in that category whereas the other teams are far lower. Penn’s schedule was 129th while Yale was 183rd.

Take a Shot with Harvard

There’s really not much that separates Yale and Harvard. Yale is getting a slight edge as they will have home-court advantage, and that could be a big deal. At the same time, these two teams squared off twice in the regular season and Harvard won both times.

Harvard has also won six of their last eight games to finish the year – even if a couple were nail biters – while Yale dropped three of their final five. This is a toss-up but Harvard has the much better price tag. I’ll take a small flier with them as Yale seems a tad overpriced.

SBD’s NCAA conference tournament coverage:

Author Image

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.