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The Rhode Island Scumbag’s guide to betting the 2023 MAC men’s basketball tournament

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The Rhode Island Scumbag is our resident prognosticator who thoroughly cleaned up last year’s postseason basketball slate as a bettor. As such, he’s back to take us through both a select group of conference tournaments as well as the big dance itself. He chooses to remain anonymous (for now) for reasons unknown, though they may be related to the fact “Rhode Island Scumbag — 2021 to present” isn’t a particularly appealing resume item. All text below are his words.

Vegas Baby! That’s right, I’m going back to Las Vegas — I broke down my last visit here around this time last year — but this time I’m going for a different type of March Madness: conference tournament weekend! I will be going from March 9 to March 12 and have isolated four conferences I have been following for a few weeks now. For this year’s betting guides, I’ll break down the MAC, MAAC, Big East and SEC.

The MAC will have eight teams playing for an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament where they will almost assuredly get humiliated on national television while simultaneously helping their respective institution build a new library with the money they will make. What is important for us though is that these teams will ONLY get in if they win their tournament.

Therefore, we are going to see all-out efforts from each team as they fight for a chance to play more basketball. What I also like about these small conferences is that they will actually have seniors on the team because they aren’t leaving to go play in the NBA.

These tournament games are extremely meaningful for these clubs. Teams will try to stave off elimination. Seniors will try to take the floor one more time. In these types of games, I like to play unders and take the points. This is my preliminary approach to this conference.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Anyone following NCAA hoops this year knows that scoring is way up. Games are soaring over the Vegas total approximately 55% of the time and that number has increased in recent weeks if you just take the last month into account.

The MAC has been no exception. A fast-paced, defense-optional game script emerged in many of their 2022-23 contests. With the increase in scoring, I have noticed some insanely high totals (A Buffalo conference game was set at 163) I looked back to last year’s MAC conference tournament. The average total in the eight games played was 139.2.

I think when teams meet for a third time and on a neutral court, they have figured out how to slow the other team down. Each possession is fought for a little bit more intensely. I am going to look to expose totals that are either set too high or get bet up too high in this conference.

Last year, there was only one game that went over 150 points and it was a clear outlier that landed at 160 points in the semis. I will be looking for totals that open in the range of 150 and see if they get bet up to the 151-153 range. Once that happens, I will hammer the UNDER.

USA Today Sports

I don’t know how you can bet against Toledo. They have won 14 straight and should be the top seed by the time the brackets are set.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Ohio should enter the tournament as a five seed which matches them up against the top seed — likely Toledo, see above — if they win their opening round game. They are a dangerous team that can score the basketball (averaging 78.5 ppg in last six). If they are getting points, I will take them.

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