Every year for the past 36, teams representing schools in the NCAA’s Big East Conference have come together at Madison Square Garden in New York City to play in the Big East Men’s Basketball Tournament.

This year, thanks to the launch of legal sports betting in Pennsylvania, you could get in on the action by betting on the 2019 Big East Tournament at PA sportsbooks for the first time.

The single-elimination tournament champion got more than just bragging right and the opportunity to hold up the Big East Men’s Basketball Tournament trophy. The winner also received the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship. In other words, a ticket to March Madness and a shot at a national title. Though, the Villanova Wildcats already had an at-large bid locked up. Nonetheless, Nova probably feels pretty good about being the first team ever to win three-straight Big East tournament titles.

About the Big East Men’s Basketball Tournament

This year marked the Big East Tournament’s 37th consecutive year at the Mecca of Basketball, Madison Square Garden. The tournament ran March 13 to 16.

The tournament featured all 10 teams in the Big East Conference:

  • Villanova Wildcats
  • Butler Bulldogs
  • Creighton Blue Jays
  • DePaul Blue Demons
  • Georgetown Hoyas
  • Marquette Golden Eagles
  • Providence Friars
  • St. John’s Red Storm
  • Seton Hall Pirates
  • Xavier Musketeers

The final round of action came down to the top-seeded Villanova Wildcats and the #3 seed, Seton Hall. It was a nail-biter of a game that ended with Villanova eking out a 74-72 victory. Seton Hall should still get an invite to the Big Dance based on its season-long performance, which included a big upset over the Kentucky Wildcats.

If you are used to betting in New Jersey on basketball games, here is the biggest reason you may want to pop over to Pennsylvania to bet. The Garden State does not allow sports betting on NJ college teams, but this is a problem you shouldn’t have at most books in the Keystone State.

How the tournament plays out

The Big East seeds the teams one through ten according to regular season conference records. In the first round, the No. 8 and No 9. seeds play for the right to play the No. 1 seed in the second round. Plus, the No 10. and No. 7 seeds play for the right to play the No. 2 seed.

Other second-round games include the No. 4 and No. 5 seeds fighting it out to play the winner of No. 1 vs. No. 8/9 in the third round. Plus, the No. 3 and No. 6 seeds battling to play the winner of No. 2 vs. No. 10/7 in the third round.

The third round is also the semifinals with the winners moving on to the Saturday evening final game.

All told, the tournament features nine games over four consecutive days until a Big East Conference champion is crowned. The NCAA hosts its Selection Sunday the very next day, announcing the names of all 68 teams invited to play in the NCAA tournament and the First Four. This includes the Big East Conference champion as an automatic bid.

Fox Sports 1 (FS1) has televised the Big East Tournament since 2014.

How to bet on the Big East Tournament in PA

PA sportsbooks take basic bets on all the games in the Big East Tournament, including:

  • Futures – By definition, a futures bet is one where the outcome of the bet is not determined until a future date. Traditionally, this would be a bet on who would win the Big East title before the start of the season. However, PA sportsbooks are likely to continue to accept futures bets on Big East teams throughout the regular season and into the tournament, as long as the team is still in the running for the title.
  • Moneylines – Here you pick the winner of any Big East Tournament game and get paid based on odds set by sportsbooks.
  • Spreads – Here you pick the betting winner of any Big East Tournament game with a line set by oddsmakers factored into the final score.
  • Totals – Here you pick if the final score of any Big East Tournament game will be over or under a line set by oddsmakers.
  • Parlays – This is a combination of two or more bets. Parlays pay better than individual bets. However, every bet must win for the parlay to pay. A parlay could include bets on Big East Tournament games or any other available games in other sports as well.

Where to bet on the Big East Tournament in PA

It appears all PA sportsbooks will be taking bets on the Big East Tournament.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has yet to approve the launch of online and mobile sports betting. However, that could happen prior to the start of the 2019 Big East Tournament.

In the meantime, at the very least, the following list of eight retail PA sportsbooks booked Big East Tournament bets:

Additionally, Valley Forge Casino Resort, Presque Isle Downs & Casino, and Valley Forge Turf Club are getting ready to launch sportsbooks. All three could very well open in time to take bets on the 2019 Big East Tournament.

Here is a look at the complete PA sports betting landscape to date:

CasinoPGCB Approval DateRetail SportsbookProjected Online Sportsbook
Parx Casino SportsbookOct. 3Jan. 10June 2019
PlaySugarHouseOct. 31Dec. 15June 2019
BetRiversOct. 31Dec. 15June 2019
FanDuel at Valley Forge CasinoDec. 19March 13Summer 2019
Hollywood Casino at Penn NationalOct. 3Nov. 17Summer 2019
Harrah's PhiladelphiaOct. 31Jan. 24Summer 2019
Presque Isle DownsFeb. 6Summer 2019Summer 2019
South Philadelphia Turf ClubOct. 3Jan. 17N/A
The Oaks (formerly Valley Forge Turf Club)March 6March 12N/A
Mount Airy/BetStarsPending approvalN/AN/A
Mohegan Sun PoconoMay 15Fall 20192019

Big East Tournament betting tips

  • High seeds don’t normally win titles. In 2011, Connecticut was a part of a larger Big East Conference and 16-team tournament, becoming the first and only team in history to win five games in five days to take the title. In other words, teams that play first-round games (now No. 10 through No. 7 seeds) don’t regularly make the Big East Tournament championship game, let alone win it.
  • In the Big East, there are those that have and those that have not. Georgetown has won a record seven Big East Tournament titles, Villanova has won four, St. John’s and Seton Hall three each, and Providence two. The rest of the schools in the conference have never won the tournament A stat you may want to consider when betting Big East Tournament long shots.
  • It is clearly the golden age of Villanova Wildcats basketball. The team has won the Big East Tournament three out of the past four years and the National Championship two out of the past three years. While Villanova will not be the top-ranked team in the country heading into the 2019 NCAA Tournament, there’s a good chance they will be the top seed in the Big East Tournament. Bet against the Wildcats at your own risk.
  • About a month before the 2019 Big East Tournament, only two of ten teams had winning conference records: The Villanova Wildcats and Marquette Golden Eagles. However, nine of ten teams had winning records overall. Since seeding is based on conference game records there may be some surprising strength hiding in the higher seeded teams come tournament time.