- The early Naismith Player of the Year odds have Duke’s freshman phenoms at the top.
- Purdue’s Carsen Edwards rounds out the top-three.
- Is the betting value on the favorites or players with longer odds?
The first set of Naismith Player of the Year odds have been released at Bovada. Despite having their perfect season spoiled by Gonzaga in Maui, Duke’s two leading scorers — RJ Barrett and Zion Williamson — are at the top of the list, followed by the Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year, Carsen Edwards of Purdue.
Here’s the full list from Bovada, followed by a breakdown of the best/worst bets.
2018-19 Naismith Player of the Year Odds
|Player (Team, Class)||AP Poll Team Ranking||Odds to win Naismith Player of the Year at Bovada (Dec. 5)||Stats|
|Zion Williamson (Duke, Fr.)||#3||+450||20.8 PPG, 8.8 RPG|
|RJ Barrett (Duke, Fr.)||#3||+550||23.1 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 4.0 APG|
|Carsen Edwards (Purdue, Sr.)||Unranked||+550||24.4 PPG, 4.0 APG|
|Dedric Lawson (Kansas, Jr.)||#2||+600||19.0 PPG, 10.7 RPG, 3.1 APG|
|Luke Maye (UNC, Sr.)||#14||+600||14.0 PPG, 9.4 RPG|
|Caleb Martin (Nevada, Sr.)||#6||+700||19.9 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 2.9 APG|
|Tyus Battle (Syracuse, Jr.)||Unranked||+1000||17.0 PPG, 3.0 RPG|
|Rui Hachimura (Gonzaga, Jr.)||#1||+1500||21.9 PPG, 6.1 RPG|
|Kyle Guy (Virginia, Jr.)||#4||+2000||13.3 PPG, 2.8 APG|
|Ethan Happ (Wisconsin, Sr.)||#12||+2000||17.7 RPG, 10.8 RPG, 5.0 APG|
|Grant Williams (Tennessee, Jr.)||#7||+2000||20.4 PPG, 8.9 RPG, 4.3 APG|
|Markus Howard (Marquette, Jr.)||Unranked||+2500||22.4 PPG, 4.8 APG, 4.6 RPG|
|Cassius Winston (Michigan St., Jr.)||#10||+2500||16.8 PPG, 7.7 APG|
|Bol Bol (Oregon, Fr.)||Unranked||+3000||21.6 PPG, 9.6 RPG, 2.9 BPG|
|Mike Daum (South Dakota St., Sr.)||Unranked||+3000||23.5 PPG, 10.5 RPG|
|Romeo Langford (Indiana, Fr.)||Unranked||+3000||17.9 PPG, 5.8 RPG|
|Shamorie Ponds (St. John’s, Jr.)||Unranked||+3000||22.4 PPG. 4.6 APG|
Zion and Barrett Are Not Good Bets as Freshman
To start with, only two freshmen have ever won this award. They were named Kevin Durant (2007) and Anthony Davis (2012). Perhaps you’ve heard of them?
This year’s freshman class has some great players, obviously headed by Barrett and Williamson, but none of them are the generational talents of Durant and Davis.
Past Naismith Winners
|Jalen Brunson (Villanova, Jr)||2018|
|Frank Mason (Kansas, Sr.)||2017|
|Buddy Hield (Oklahoma, Sr.)||2016|
|Frank Kaminsky (Wisconsin, Sr.)||2015|
|Doug McDermott (Creighton, Sr.)||2014|
|Trey Burke (Michigan, So.)||2013|
|Anthony Davis (Kentucky, Fr.)||2012|
|Jimmer Fredette (BYU, Sr.)||2011|
|Evan Turner (Ohio St., Jr.)||2010|
|Blake Griffin (Oklahoma, So.)||2009|
|Tyler Hansbrough (UNC, Jr.)||2008|
|Kevin Durant (Texas, Fr.)||2007|
If Duke was still undefeated and had a chance to do something historic, there would be more value on Zion and RJ to win this award. As things stand, Duke is going to wind up a really good team with fairly balanced scoring at the top. That’s not a recipe for the Naismith.
Carsen Edwards Won’t Win Because Purdue Isn’t That Good
Purdue has already lost three games and is slotted as a no. 5 seed in Joe Lunardi’s latest bracket. The last player to win this award from a team that was a no. 4 seed or worse was Kevin Durant, whose Texas Longhorns were a no. 4 seed in 2007. KD averaged 25.8 PPG, 11.1 RPG, and 1.9 BPG as a freshman. Edwards is 1.4 points shy of that and isn’t contributing nearly as much in other areas.
Rui Hachimura and Ethan Happ Are Good Value
Enough of people to fade. Let’s accentuate the positives.
Rui Hachimura is the leading scorer on the top-ranked team in the country, one that has a small but also non-zero chance of going undefeated in the regular season. He’s also grabbing 6.1 rebounds per game and shooting over 60% from the field. If Gonzaga finishes the year no. 1, which they very well might as long as they split their upcoming games with no. 7 Tennessee and no. 14 UNC, Hachimura will get a lot of looks from Naismith voters.
If Gonzaga finishes the year no. 1, … Hachimura will get a lot of looks from Naismith voters.
As for Happ, he’s leading the Badgers back to respectability (and beyond). He leads no. 12 Wisconsin in points, rebounds, and assists, and it’s pretty likely he’ll end the season that way. As long as the 8-1 Badgers earn a top-four seed, Happ will get a similar amount of attention. He is everything to this team, Brad Davison’s charge-taking notwithstanding.