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  • The Naismith Player of the Year Award is college basketball’s biggest individual trophy
  • Upperclassmen dominate the history of the award, even in the one-and-done era
  • See how the odds have changed for all the 2018-19 POY favorites

Every season, online sportsbooks routinely post odds on who will win the Naismith Player of the Year as the country’s top college basketball player. Here, we track the odds across all major sportsbooks and then distill them into one average moneyline for each player.

We do the same with the odds for the Heisman Trophy in college football. The graphs below tell the story of the season on a player level, showing who was hot out of the gate, who came on mid-season, and who finished strong. They also help bettors identify the favorites and figure out where value might lie on a longshot.

2019 Naismith Top Contenders

Wisconsin’s Ethan Happ and Marquette’s Markus Howard are both having outstanding seasons, but neither one of them appears to be a threat to Zion Williamson, who is in the midst of posting the highest PER in the history of men’s college basketball.

Odds On Zion Williamson Winning the Naismith Award

Will Zion Williamson Win the Naismith Award in 2019? Odds at Bovada
Yes -300
No +200

*Odds taken on 03/01/19

The 2019 Naismith Award race has turned into a case of Zion Williamson and “everybody else.” The freshman phenom has seen his opening odds of +450 get progressively shorter, peaking at -700 on February 15th before suffering a mild knee sprain in a game against North Carolina.

Naismith Winners by Class

Williamson will be in rare company if he wins the 2019 Naismith Award. Kevin Durant and Anthony Davis are the only other players to receive the honor during their freshman season.

Naismith Winners by Position

Four of the first six Naismith Award recipients were centers, but that trend has changed in recent years as more schools have adopted small ball lineups. The last center to win the honor was Tim Duncan, who won by a landslide in 1997 during his senior season at Wake Forest.

Past Naismith Award Winners

Player Class Year
Jalen Brunson (G, Villanova) Junior 2018
Frank Mason III (G, Kansas) Senior 2017
Buddy Hield (G, Oklahoma) Senior 2016
Frank Kaminsky (F, Wisconsin) Senior 2015
Doug McDermott (F, Creighton) Senior 2014
Trey Burke (G, Michigan) Sophomore 2013
Anthony Davis (F, Kentucky) Freshman 2012
Jimmer Fredette (G, BYU) Senior 2011
Evan Turner (G, Ohio State) Junior 2010
Blake Griffin (F, Oklahoma) Sophomore 2009
Tyler Hansbrough (F, UNC) Junior 2008
Kevin Durant (F, Texas) Freshman 2007
JJ Redick (G, Duke) Senior 2006
Andrew Bogut (F, Utah) Sophomore 2005
Jameer Nelson (G, St. Joseph’s) Senior 2004
TJ Ford (G, Texas) Sophomore 2003
Jason Williams (G, Duke) Junior 2002
Shane Battier (F, Duke) Senior 2001
Kenyon Martin (F, Cincinnati) Senior 2000

Villanova junior Jalen Brunson won the 2018 Naismith Award after averaging 19 points and 4.8 assists per game while leading the Wildcats to a 27-4 regular season record.

Schools with the Most Naismith Winners

Mike Krzyzewski deserves plenty of credit for recruiting – and developing – talent. He coached all seven of Duke’s Naismith winners and helped shape the careers of more than a dozen Naismith semifinalists.

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Sascha has been a Number Cruncher, Editor, and Lead Oddsmaker for SBD for over four years, specializing in football, baseball, hockey, and basketball. He has been featured on USA Today's Draft Wire, Fansided, Chicago Tribune, Newsweek, and numerous additional local and national publications.