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Zion Williamson Still -300 to Win 2019 Naismith Award; Should You Bet Against Him?

Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett
Put your hand up if you think Zion Williamson will win the 2019 Naismith Award. Photo By Keenan Hairston (Wikimedia Commons) [CC License].
  • Zion Williamson’s odds to win the Naismith Award were once as short as -700
  • Williamson has dropped to -300 since suffering a knee injury
  • His current PER is the highest in the history of college basketball

Zion Williamson has been the most dominant player in college basketball so far this season, which is why he’s long been a shoo-in to win the Naismith College Basketball Player of the Year award. However, a recent knee sprain has knocked him out of the lineup and lengthened his odds. Is he still a good bet to win the award?

Odds On Zion Williamson Winning the Naismith Award

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

*Odds taken on 03/01/19

Williamson’s Odds Have Dropped

Williamson has been incredible this season. He was the preseason favorite to win the Naismith Award, when he hovered around -200. Then he took the league by storm and saw his 2019 Naismith Award odds get as short as -700.  Since the injury, though, he’s dropped down to -300.

You can bet on Williamson to win or you can bet on “No”, which essentially means you’re betting on the field.

He’s Making a Case While Out

When we get into these MVP-type conversations, one of the easiest cases to make for a player is pointing to how the team played while he was absent.

Williamson missed Tuesday’s contest at Virginia Tech, Saturday’s game at Syracuse, and all but one minute of last Wednesday’s game at home to North Carolina. The Blue Devils were blown out at home by North Carolina, had a modest 10-point win at Syracuse (a revenge game) and lost by five at Virginia Tech.

Duke won’t have any problems this week as they host Miami and Wake Forest – two ACC teams with losing records – but a road trip to Chapel Hill to face No. 5 North Carolina on Saturday, March 9th could help make Williamson’s case either way.

Who Else is in the Running?

That’s one of the big questions here. Most of the preseason lists included Carsen Edwards (Purdue), Eric Paschall (Villanova), Caleb Martin (Nevada), Tyus Battle (Syracuse), Luke Maye (North Carolina), Grant Williams (Tennessee) and Williamson. Most of these players have been really good, but none have been transcendent. A lot have also fallen out of contention.

Players who were deemed contenders in January – guys like Ethan Happ (Wisconsin) and Dedric Lawson (Kansas), have also fallen by the wayside.

Williamson’s Stats Stand Out

Williamson is averaging 21.6 points and  8.8 rebounds per game while shooting a ridiculous 68.3% from the field.

But even if that doesn’t impress you, take a look at the PER numbers, which are off the charts. He has a PER of 42.91, which is incredible. That would be the highest PER in college basketball history.

The only thing stopping Williamson from winning this award is his health. If he is back at any point before the NCAA Tournament, he’s going to win this award.

The only thing stopping Williamson from winning the Naismith Award is his health.

If the injury does, in fact, prove to be more serious, then that opens the door for someone else to swoop in grab it. Even in that case, though, Williamson will still have a good opportunity to win the award given what he’s already accomplished.

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Dave has a long history in sports media. Since working at The Score Television Network as an intern, he’s been a radio host on Sirius Satellite Radio, made numerous television appearances as a panelist, and has written for publications like FOX Sports, AskMen.com, and The Baltimore Sun.