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Most Outstanding Player Award Up For Grabs

The Most Outstanding Player Award has gone to some of the greatest college basketball players in history with the likes of Bill Walton, Danny Manning and Christian Laettner among the winners. Another player will look to add his name to the illustrious group when Gonzaga and UNC clash Monday night for the national championship.

Gonzaga’s Nigel Williams-Goss enters the game as a minor +190 favorite to win the award. After a dreadful game against South Dakota State in the opening round, in which the entire Gonzaga team looked mediocre, Williams-Goss has averaged 19.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists while shooting nearly 80 percent from the charity stripe.

Just behind Williams-Goss is Justin Jackson of UNC (+200). The junior has averaged 20.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.8 assists while shooting 46.7 percent from the floor during the tourney. Jackson has paced the team in points twice during the Madness and has finished with at least the second-most points in all five contests.

One player to keep an eye on is Jordan Mathews. The senior has been a jack of all trades for Gonzaga, as he has the ability to hit the big shot and lock down opponents. Mathews has averaged a healthy 13.2 points and 4.2 rebounds during the tourney but he is plenty capable of putting up a 20-plus point game while also playing great defense.

2017 NCAA Tournament – Most Outstanding Player Award Odds

Odds as of April 3 at BetOnline

  • Nigel Williams-Goss (Gonzaga) +190
  • Justin Jackson (UNC) +200
  • Kennedy Meeks (UNC) +375
  • Joel Berry II (UNC) +650
  • Johnathan Williams (Gonzaga) +860
  • Jordan Mathews (Gonzaga) +950
  • Przemek Karnowski (Gonzaga) +1400
  • Zach Collins (Gonzaga) +1800
  • Isaiah Hicks (UNC) +2500
  • Luke Maye (UNC) +3300
  • Theo Pinson (UNC) +3300
  • Josh Perkins (Gonzaga) +5000

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We are in the Final Four and the Most Outstanding Player award is completely up in the air. Nigel Williams-Goss finds himself as the slight fave entering the Final Four but he has just barely separated himself from the field.

Williams-Goss’ high-volume shooting approach has made his shooting percentage look pretty unappealing to the eye during March Madness but the second-team all-American has gone to the line eight times in each of the past three while shooting 75 percent from the charity stripe. The junior has averaged 17.7 points, 7.7 rebounds and 3.3 rebounds since a middling performance against South Dakota State.

Immediately behind Williams-Goss is Justin Jackson. Jackson has been the engine that has driven UNC’s offense throughout the tourney, as he has averaged 19.8 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists while shooting 46.7 percent from the floor. The junior’s length has caused problems for opponents all season and it very well could in UNC’s Final Four game against Oregon.

The two players who are arguably playing the best basketball right now find themselves down the list, as Tyler Dorsey and Sindarius Thornwell sit fifth and sixth in the odds. Of course, you basically need to be on the tournament-winning team to win the MOP, which is why they are so low. Dorsey is playing out of his mind with the Ducks sophomore averaging 24.5 points while shooting nearly 70 percent from the floor and beyond the arc. Thornwell has scored at least 24 points and recorded at least six rebounds in every game during March Madness while still being one of the best defensive players around.

2017 NCAA Tournament – Most Outstanding Player Award Odds

Odds as of March 29 at BetOnline

  • Nigel Williams-Goss (Gonzaga) +260
  • Justin Jackson (UNC) +265
  • Joel Berry II (UNC) +550
  • Kennedy Meeks (UNC) +650
  • Johnathan Williams (Gonzaga) +650
  • Tyler Dorsey (Oregon) +700
  • Sindarius Thornwell (South Carolina) +800
  • Dillon Brooks (Oregon) +900
  • Jordan Mathews (Gonzaga) +1000
  • Isaiah Hicks (UNC) +1100
  • Przemek Karnowski (Gonzaga) +1600
  • Jordan Bell (Oregon) +1800
  • Dylan Ennis (Oregon) +3600
  • PJ Dozier (South Carolina) +4000
  • Duane Notice (South Carolina) +4000

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Slowly but surely, the field for the NCAAB Tournament Most Outstanding Player is starting to become more clear. Frank Mason III of Kansas and Justin Jackson of UNC enter the Sweet 16 as +700 co-favorites to claim the award.

Mason has averaged 21 points, 6.5 assists and 3.5 rebounds while shooting 46.7 percent through the first two games of the Madness. Defenders used to cheat toward the paint and go under screens to keep Mason from driving, but he has become a lethal 3-point shooter who is hitting 47.2 percent from deep this season. Yes, he failed to make a trey against Michigan State but that was just the second game all season he has not recorded a triple. Bill Self has complete faith in Mason and he will have all the opportunities to carry Kansas moving forward.

Jackson’s scoring ability has become even more important to UNC during the tournament with Joel Berry II struggling. The junior is averaging 18.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists during the NCAAB tournament. Jackson struggled with his jumper late in the regular season – he went just seven of 31 from beyond the arc in his four games before the tourney – but is draining 57.1 percent from deep in the Madness.

Of course, the MOP will almost certainly go to the best player on the winning team. The last time a player from the losing team won MOP was Hakeem Olajuwon in 1983. If you look at the NCAAB tournament futures and compare them to the MOP odds, the best value may be Lonzo Ball. UCLA is currently +900 to cut the nets down – the fifth-best odds, while Ball is +1400 to win MOP, which is ninth-best odds. The Bruins point man is averaging 16.5 points, 6.0 assists and 5.5 rebounds while shooting a ridiculous 76.5 percent from the floor and 60 percent from 3-point range.

2017 NCAA Tournament – Most Outstanding Player Award Odds

Odds as of March 22 at BetOnline

  • Frank Mason III (Kansas) +700
  • Justin Jackson (UNC) +700
  • Nigel Williams-Goss (Gonzaga) +800
  • Allonzo Trier (Arizona) +900
  • Josh Jackson (Kansas) +950
  • Joel Berry II (UNC) +1200
  • Kennedy Meeks (UNC) +1200
  • Lauri Markkanen (Arizona) +1200
  • Lonzo Ball (UCLA) +1400
  • Isaiah Hicks (UNC) +1400
  • Derrick Walton Jr. (Michigan) +1800
  • Devonte’ Graham (Kansas) +1800
  • De’Aaron Fox (Kentucky) +2000
  • Rawle Alkins (Arizona) +2200
  • Jordan Mathews (Gonzaga) +2200
  • TJ Leaf (UCLA) +2200
  • Ethan Happ (Wisconsin) +2200
  • KeVaughn Allen (Florida) +2500
  • Johnathan Motley (Baylor) +2500
  • Malik Monk (Kentucky) +2500
  • Jevon Carter (West Virginia) +2800
  • Caleb Swanigan (Purdue) +2800
  • Devin Robinson (Florida) +2800
  • Bryce Alford (UCLA) +2800
  • Zak Irvin (Michigan) +3300
  • Bronson Koenig (Wisconsin) +3300
  • Nigel Hayes (Wisconsin) +3300
  • Dillon Brooks (Oregon) +3300
  • Przemek Karnowski (Gonzaga) +3600
  • Vince Edwards (Purdue) +4000
  • Edrice Adebayo (Kentucky) +4000
  • DJ Wilson (Michigan) +4000
  • Moritz Wagner (Michigan) +4000
  • Jordan Bell (Oregon) +4000
  • Tyler Dorsey (Oregon) +4000
  • Sindarius Thornwell (South Carolina) +5000
  • Manu Lecomte (Baylor) +5000
  • Esa Ahmad (West Virginia) +5000
  • Terry Maston (Baylor) +6600
  • Trevon Bluiett (Xavier) +6600

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Trying to predict who will win Most Outstanding Player is just as hard as predicting the NCAAB tournament winner. Every winner of the MOP since 1983 has come from the team that ended up cutting down the nets; Hakeem Olajuwon was the last player to win the award despite being on the losing team.

So, if you’re looking to bet MOP, you’re best to double down with whichever team you have winning the whole damn thing. Of course, with the field as competitive as ever this season, neither of those bets is easy.

Josh Hart of Villanova, Frank Mason III of Kansas, Justin Jackson of UNC, Nigel Williams-Goss of Gonzaga and Luke Kennard of Duke have all opened at +1200 to win the MOP. It’s easy to see why, as each of those players is arguably the most important member of his team. But competition is still pretty tight on those rosters.

Hart is clearly the leader of ’Nova as he leads the team in more categories than I care to count. However, he would still need to outperform Jalen Brunson (+3300) and Kris Jenkins (+3300), who are both plenty capable of carrying the load for the Wildcats.

Mason is an offensive monster who led the Big 12 in points per game, finished fourth in assists and shot nearly 50 percent from beyond the arc. His biggest competition for the MOP is Josh Jackson (+2000). We learned just how vital the freshman is to Kansas after the Jayhawks lost their conference quarterfinals with Jackson out of the lineup. Jackson is second on the team in scoring, first in rebounds and paces Kansas in field goal percentage.

Justin Jackson has been UNC’s most important member of the squad, as the ACC Player of the Year averaged 18.1 ppg and took over 150 more shots than any other Tar Heel. Jackson is more than likely to win the MOP if UNC wins it all, with the only conceivable competition right now being Joel Berry II. We all know how important point guard play is in the Madness and we have seen Berry go unconscious from deep at times this year.

Gonzaga only has two players listed and that is Williams-Goss and Przemek Karnowski (+4500). Karnowski, whom I’m awarding the most Gonzaga player award to, is a traditional back-to-the-basket center who can dominate down low. He’s incredibly important to the Bulldogs, but his numbers don’t always show up on the scoresheet, so it’s hard to see him potentially winning over Williams-Goss.

Then there is Duke. Kennard has the best odds to win the MOP on the Blue Devils but with Jayson Tatum (+1600) playing his best ball of the season recently and Grayson Allen (+2800) having a tendency to go off in big games, it’s hard to predict who would win MOP.

Long and short? This award is really hard to predict.

2017 NCAA Tournament – Most Outstanding Player Award Odds

Odds as of March 14 at BetOnline

  • Josh Hart (Villanova) +1200
  • Frank Mason III (Kansas) +1200
  • Justin Jackson (UNC) +1200
  • Nigel Williams-Goss (Gonzaga) +1200
  • Luke Kennard (Duke) +1200
  • Allonzo Trier (Arizona) +1600
  • Jayson Tatum (Duke) +1600
  • Joel Berry II (UNC) +1800
  • Malik Monk (Kentucky) +1800
  • De’Aaron Fox (Kentucky) +1800
  • Josh Jackson (Kansas) +2000
  • Donovan Mitchell (Louisville) +2200
  • Lauri Markkanen (Arizona) +2200
  • Dillon Brooks (Oregon) +2200
  • Lonzo Ball (UCLA) +2200
  • TJ Leaf (UCLA) +2500
  • Grayson Allen (Duke) +2800
  • Bryce Alford (UCLA) +3300
  • Jevon Carter (West Virginia) +3300
  • Jalen Brunson (Villanova) +3300
  • Kris Jenkins (Villanova) +3300
  • Dwayne Bacon (Florida State) +3600
  • Caleb Swanigan (Purdue) +3600
  • Derrick Walton Jr. (Michigan) +3600
  • Devonte’ Graham (Kansas) +3600
  • Monte Morris (Iowa State) +4500
  • Semi Ojeleye (SMU) +4500
  • Przemek Karnowski (Gonzaga) +4500
  • Quentin Snider (Louisville) +4500
  • Johnathan Motley (Baylor) +5000
  • Bonzie Colson (Notre Dame) +5000
  • Jonathan Isaac (Florida State) +5500
  • London Perrantes (Virginia) +5500
  • Tyler Dorsey (Oregon) +6000
  • KeVaughn Allen (Florida) +6600
  • Shake Milton (SMU) +6600
  • Jock Landale (St. Mary’s) +7000
  • VJ Beachem (Notre Dame) +7000
  • Nazareth Mitrou-Long (Iowa State) +8000
  • Ethan Happ (Wisconsin) +9000

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