The ides of March are upon us, which means it’s time for men’s and women’s college basketball to take center stage.
This year’s March Madness festivities include in-state universities vying for conference titles in the Pac-12, Western Athletic Conference and Big Sky Conference.
That means Arizona sports betting fans have a plethora of opportunities to wager this week, whether it be on the Arizona Wildcats, Arizona State University Sun Devils, Grand Canyon University Antelopes, or Northern Arizona University Lumberjacks.
Here's a look at the Grand Canyon state’s four Division I universities and how oddsmakers see them faring in their conference tournaments:
The Pac-12 regular season champions return to the hardwood of Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena on Thursday with the best odds of winning the league’s postseason crown.
The 27-3 Wildcats are listed as the odds-on favorite on BetMGM Arizona (-125), DraftKings Sportsbook Arizona and FanDuel Sportsbook Arizona (-140).
The Wildcats have won seven Pac-12 Tournament titles, last accomplishing the feat in 2018 when they captured their third crown in four years.
Since then, Arizona has been bounced by USC and Washington in the Pac-12 tournament opening rounds, with the Wildcats sitting out the 2021 Pac-12 and NCAA tournaments due to a self-imposed postseason ban.
It appears first-year coach Tommy Lloyd has the Wildcats in good position to capture some hardware on the Strip this weekend. But Arizona has bigger goals. Caesars Sportsbook lists the Wildcats with the second-best national championship odds at +700, tied with Kentucky and behind Gonzaga (+375).
Arizona State Sun Devils
Few teams in the country enter their conference tournaments on the type of hot streak the Sun Devils find themselves on.
ASU, despite its 14-16 record (and 10-10 conference mark), heads to Las Vegas on a four-game winning streak, with victories over Colorado (82-65), Utah (63-61), California (71-44) and Stanford (65-56).
Arizona State has never won a Pac-12 conference title — regular season or postseason — but is listed in the middle of the pack in 2022.
BetMGM Arizona and DraftKings Sportsbook Arizona have the Sun Devils at +8000 to win the Pac-12 tournament, which is good for seventh overall.
Oddsmakers at FanDuel Sportsbook Arizona list Bobby Hurley’s bunch at +5000 to win the conference tournament, which is good for seventh in the 12-team league.
If ASU can mount a rally and win four games in four days, the program will win its first conference title since capturing the 1975 Western Athletic Conference crown.
Grand Canyon Antelopes
The only Arizona university to qualify for the Big Dance a year ago is back at it under second-year coach Bryce Drew.
Grand Canyon finished the regular season 22-7, a game back of New Mexico State, Seattle University, and Stephen F. Austin in the WAC title chase, at 13-5.
The ‘Lopes are taking on the WAC’s best Thursday through Saturday at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.
Drew’s bunch is listed as the No. 2 team, odds wise, on DraftKings Sportsbook Arizona (+330) and FanDuel Sportsbook Arizona (+310) — ranking behind the Aggies of New Mexico State.
The ‘Lopes enter the 2022 WAC Tournament on a four-game winning streak, beating Chicago State (85-64), Sam Houston (67-41), Utah Valley (68-57) and Dixie State (70-53) to cap off the regular season.
Grand Canyon will do its best to qualify for the program’s second NCAA Tournament appearance in the program’s ninth Division I season this week
Northern Arizona Lumberjacks
Northern Arizona of the Big Sky Conference has the longest Arizona sportsbooks odds of finding the Big Dance of the four state schools.
The Lumberjacks have only qualified for the NCAA Tournament twice in program history, doing so in 1998 and 2000, under former Pittsburgh and UCLA head coach Ben Howland.
This year’s NAU squad limped its way to a 9-22 mark, finishing in a tie with Idaho State for last in the Big Sky standings at 5-15. Northern Arizona opens the Big Sky Tournament on Wednesday against Eastern Washington.
The Lumberjacks are listed at +25000 to win the Big Sky crown on DraftKings Sportsbook Arizona, which is tied with the Bengals of Idaho State for last in the conference.
The team is also listed in a tie with ISU for last on FanDuel Sportsbook Arizona, at +50000, giving Lumberjacks fans quite the return on any longshot wagers placed in their direction.
We all know crazy things can happen in the third month of the year, however, so it’s always nice to dream big.