College Basketball Picks: John Wooden Award Odds and Predictions
by George Monroy - 2/11/2014
The John Wooden Award is one of the highest individual honors that a college basketball player can earn. The award was, of course, named after the legendary UCLA Bruins’ coach, and it’s given out to the most outstanding men’s and women’s college basketball players on an annual basis. On the men’s side of the award there are really only four names in contention, with one player, Creighton’s Doug McDermott, being the huge favorite to take home the trophy with under a month left in the regular season.
The award itself takes into account a players grade point average—it must be 2.0 or better—his team contribution on both ends of the floor, as well as demonstrating model citizenship and strength of character on and off the court. Let’s take a closer look at the odds for the John Wooden award and figure out if there is any value in placing a wager on the futures bet for these college basketball picks.
Doug McDermott (Creighton): -1600
McDermott is a huge favorite to win the award, and at this point it might be too expensive to even wager on. The Creighton Bluejay has been nothing but outstanding all year, with averages of 25.3 points per game, 7.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists while leading his team to a 19-4 record and No. 18 ranking in the nation. Creighton has seven games left on its schedule before conference tournament play begins, and at this point it would take a monumental collapse for McDermott to not be the favorite to win this award when voting rolls around at the start of the NCAA Tournament.
Nick Johnson (Arizona): +1000
Johnson’s 15.9 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game have led the Arizona Wildcats in their outstanding run throughout the regular season, but the speedy guard’s trouble with winning the award comes from the fact that he is not even the most well-known player on the team. Freshman Aaron Gordon has received the lion’s share of the hype all year, and for as well as Johnson has played, his chances at winning the award are not great.
Jabari Parker (Duke): +1200
Wagering on Parker is where the value play comes in. The freshman is one of the most well-known players in the nation, has a ton of hype behind him, and is undoubtedly the best player on his team. Parker leads the Blue Devils with 19.2 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game to go along with a No. 8 ranking in the nation. With seven games left and the ACC tournament left on the schedule, Parker has more than enough time, and the talent, to strengthen his case as the best college basketball player this season. The freshman’s big test will come on Feb. 22 when Duke faces No.1 Syracuse in a matchup that could very well close the gap between Parker and McDermott.
C.J. Fair (Syracuse): +1800
Fair is the best player on the best team—so far—in the nation and will continue to have a solid chance at winning the award. If the senior can help lead Syracuse to an undefeated season, his stock will definitely rise in the ‘player of the year’ race. Fair’s numbers are solid but not as impressive as McDermott or Parker. There is value at +1800 simply on the fact that the Orange continue to be so good.
The Bet: McDermott’s is probably going to win the John Wooden award, but wagering on it at -1600 may not be the best idea. Injury or a myriad of other factors make the bet too risky of a wager—especially for those bettors that do not have the bankroll to support such a large bet. For those sports bettors that are looking to speculate on a futures bet, taking either Parker or Fair at +1200 or +1800 is the way to go.
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