weather icon Clear
RJ App
Vegas News, Alerts, ePaper

Pac-12, Mountain West basketball tournament betting previews

Updated March 15, 2023 - 6:32 pm

UCLA begins its quest for a record 12th national championship with the Pac-12 men’s basketball tournament, which opens Wednesday at T-Mobile Arena.

The Bruins hope this isn’t their only trip to Las Vegas during the postseason.

The NCAA West Region also is at T-Mobile Arena, and UCLA almost certainly would lock up a No. 1 seed should it win the conference tournament for the first time since 2014.

That is plenty of motivation for the Bruins, who are the +150 favorite at Circa Sports to win the Pac-12 tournament title. Station Casinos lists UCLA as even money to cut down the nets after Saturday’s final.

“These West Coast teams always generate a lot of handle because they are the late games and bettors are very familiar with watching them play,” Station Casinos sportsbook vice president Jason McCormick said via text message. “UCLA and Arizona are top-10 teams in the country, and all eyes are on them.”

UCLA (27-4) breezed through the regular season, losing only twice in conference, and is loaded with experience. Senior Jaime Jaquez Jr. leads the team in scoring at 17.5 points per game and also is the top rebounder (8.0), while senior point guard Tyger Campbell (12.9 ppg, 4.7 assists per game) steers the ship.

Junior guard Jaylen Clark averages 13 points and six rebounds, and the Bruins feature several worker bees in the frontcourt, a trademark of Mick Cronin-coached teams.

The top-seeded Bruins play either Colorado or Washington in the quarterfinals on Thursday.

Arizona, which lost to UCLA 82-73 on Saturday, is the +180 second choice at Circa and Station to win the tournament. The Wildcats (25-6) have five players averaging double figures in scoring led by junior forward Azuolas Tubelis at a conference-best 19.9 points per game.

Southern California is 5-1 at Station and 6-1 at Circa, while Oregon is 6-1 at Station and +830 at Circa. Arizona State, which is on the NCAA tournament bubble, is 18-1 at Circa along with Washington State.

The Mountain West men’s tournament features more parity, with regular-season champion San Diego State the +185 favorite at Circa to win the championship.

Utah State, which enters on a five-game winning streak and is looking to secure an NCAA tournament bid, is the trendy pick among bettors. The Aggies are the +290 second choice, down from +340 on Sunday night.

Boise State is +360 followed by UNR at +480, and then there is a drop off to New Mexico at 12-1. UNLV, which hosts the event at the Thomas &Mack Center, is 18-1.

“SDSU, a really hot Utah State team … we are getting some awesome basketball that fans travel to watch and wager on this week,” McCormick said. “Super excited as Las Vegas again gets to showcase these great conference championships with teams that are clearly going to have a chance to make some noise in the big dance.”

One-bid conferences

The Big West men’s tournament starts Tuesday at the Dollar Loan Center in Henderson, and UC Irvine is the +170 favorite at Circa. The Anteaters tied for the regular-season championship with UC Santa Barbara, which is the second choice at +270.

Cal State Fullerton (+525), Hawaii (8-1) and UC Riverside (9-1) also are in the mix.

The Western Athletic Conference men’s tournament starts Tuesday at Orleans Arena, and Circa lists Utah Valley as the +175 favorite.

Sam Houston State, which earned the top seed based on the WAC Resume Seeding System, is the second choice at +210. Southern Utah, led by former UNLV coach Todd Simon, is 5-1.

Contact David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.