- Betting lines show extreme variations by the day heading into the Final Four
- MSU’s Cassius Winston is the consensus MOP favorite
- What is the best value pick for the NCAA Tournament MOP?
The Final Four hasn’t even started, but there’s some jockeying going on as to who will win the NCAA Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player award.
This might be the last true “college” award left. If you check the list of previous winners dating back to the start of this decade, there’s only one legit NBA superstar (Anthony Davis in 2012) and All-Star (Kemba Walker in 2011) in the mix, with a few trying to scratch their way into prominent roles. They include Shabazz Napier, Tyus Jones, and last year’s MOP Donte DiVincenzo.
Which is all to say, there is some variance on this list – especially this year, with just one blue-blood school in the mix, two teams making their first foray into the Final Four, and one school that hasn’t been in it since 1984.
That major movement along betting lines has left one can’t miss bet, which we’ll get to shortly.
Odds to Win 2019 NCAA Basketball Tournament Most Outstanding Player
|Player||School||Odds 1||Odds 2||Odds 3|
|Cassius Winston||Michigan State||+250||+250||+250|
|Jarret Culver||Texas Tech||+700||+600||+700|
|Xavier Tillman||Michigan State||+1000||+900||+600|
|Matt McQuaid||Michigan State||+2200||–||–|
*All odds taken 04/03/19
Virginia’s Betting Odds Changed Overnight
Perhaps the biggest tell of uncertainty is Virginia’s drastic fluctuations from their odds just a day ago.
Much of it was centered around the Virginia Cavaliers, who made the trek to the Final Four after being unceremoniously dumped in an historic loss to a 16-seed just a year ago.
For example, Kyle Guy, the junior guard who came up with his biggest game of the year in the Elite Eight against Purdue – pouring in 25 points on five triples – dipped from +250 down to +375 in less than 24 hours – and all the way to +450.
Incredibly, that’s just a drop in the bucket compared to teammate Ty Jerome.
Jerome, who chipped in 24 points against the Boilermakers to push the Cavaliers into the Final Four, saw his MOP odds shorten from +2000 to just +750, moving him to the fourth best odds of any player to take home the trophy.
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 31, 2019
Their bleach-blonde big man Mamadi Diakite went the other way. The Cavalier who owns the biggest shot in this tournament is now one of the longest shots listed, from +1200 on Tuesday to +2000 on Wednesday. Today he’s listed at +2500.
And add freshly minted NABC Defensive Player of the Year De’Andre Hunter to this list. The lockdown defender moved from a value pick to one of the betting favorites behind his teammate Jerome at +800, a jump from his +1200 odds one sleep ago.
Spartans, Tigers Also Moving Along Board
The changes weren’t just relegated to the last #1 seed still standing. Michigan State forward Xavier Tillman, instrumental in a win over Duke with 19 points and nine rebounds, has become a longer shot at MOP (+600 to +900). He’s been a steady contributor all tourney, averaging 14 points and nine rebounds on nearly 64% shooting from the field.
— Coach Payne (@coachrpayne) March 31, 2019
And Auburn Tigers guard Jared Harper, the unstoppable overtime dynamo that sealed the school’s first Final Four trip with a win over Kentucky, saw his odds fade to +1200 from +1000, putting him alongside his backcourt mate Bryce Brown.
What’s the Best Bet to Make Here?
Cassius Winston has stayed rock solid as the favorite at +250. Only the third player in Spartans history to record 20 points and 10 assists in an NCAA game, he fits the profile of college standout, if not great NBA prospect. If you believe in MSU, he’s worth a wager.
Cassius Winston is only the third player in Spartans history to record 20 points and 10 assists in an NCAA game.
If you still believe in Ty Jerome, he’s still sitting at +2000! There’s no better value across the board.
Personally, I like the idea of Auburn going out and shocking all, so either Brown or Harper at +1200 for MOP is one I’ll be looking into.
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