A sweep of the 10th-ranked Michigan Wolverines (26-5) not only earned the sixth-ranked Michigan State Spartans (25-6) the top seed in this week's Big Ten Tournament, it also made them the +140 favorites (bet $100 to win $140) to take home the title for the second time in four years at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark..com.
The Spartans actually tied for the Big Ten lead with the 13th-ranked Purdue Boilermakers (23-8) at 16-4 but won a tiebreaker, putting themselves in excellent position to advance to the conference tournament championship game in Chicago on St. Patrick's Day.
Michigan State looked unlucky a month ago when the team lost second-leading scorer Nick Ward to a fractured hand. However, the Spartans rallied around injuries to Ward and third-leading scorer Joshua Langford (foot) by winning seven of their last eight games, with the lone loss coming against the Indiana Hoosiers (17-14).
Langford remains out for the season following surgery while Ward is expected to return for the Big Ten Tournament. That might seem to help Michigan State even more, but trying to get a player like him minutes now could also disrupt the team's chemistry. For that reason, make the second-seeded Boilermakers your best bet to win the conference tournament at +300.
Purdue last won the Big Ten Tournament 10 years ago and finished as the runner-up in two of the past three seasons. That will change here, as they get past the third-seeded Wolverines (+225) and Spartans this time to win it.
In the other three major conference tournaments, there are comparable favorites and equally good competition. The Big 12 Tournament odds have the top-seeded Kansas State Wildcats (24-7) as the +350 second choice to win it behind the second-seeded Texas Tech Red Raiders (26-5) at +140 but ahead of the third-seeded Kansas Jayhawks (23-8), who are +400 after failing to win the regular-season title for the first time in 15 years. The fifth-seeded Iowa State Cyclones (20-11) are a nice sleeper pick at +600.
The SEC Tournament may be the most intriguing too despite having three teams currently ranked in the Top 10 nationally. The top-seeded LSU Tigers (26-5) are the +450 fourth choice to win it without suspended head coach Will Wade behind the second-seeded Kentucky Wildcats (26-5) and third-seeded Tennessee Volunteers (27-4) - who are listed as the +200 co-favorites - along with the fifth-seeded Auburn Tigers (22-9) at +400.
Kentucky is the highest ranked of the three at No. 4 followed by Tennessee at No. 8 and LSU at No. 9. Auburn is also ranked in the Top 25 at No. 22.
Last but not least, the ACC Tournament is top heavy again this year, with all eyes on the expected return of freshman Zion Williamson (knee) for the third-seeded Duke Blue Devils (26-5). The top-seeded Virginia Cavaliers (28-2) ride an eight-game winning streak into the tournament, and they are slight +125 favorites over the Blue Devils at +150 and second-seeded North Carolina Tar Heels (26-5) at +350.
But Williamson's potential presence is the main reason Duke is still favored on the March Madness betting odds overall at +275.