Although the Final Four hasn’t tipped off, there’s perceived value on the NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player prop with a quartet of teams remaining. But is that actually true?
Click on the odds below to place a bet, but we’ll explain why history says you might want to bookmark this page and come back Sunday or Monday to place that wager.
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2022 Most Outstanding Player Odds
Most Outstanding Player: Historical Breakdown
Here’s a list of the last three winners and their MOP odds leading up to the national title game.
|Year||Team||MOP Winner||Before Final Four||Before National Title|
Who Votes For MOP, And When?
Scott Phillips, who covered college basketball for more than a decade, described the process behind this market.
“A lot of these writers (who vote on the award) are saps and dipshits,” Phillips said.
No typos there. It’s a media award.
Phillips added in that these ballots are typically collected with around 10 minutes left in regulation of the title game. There are two recent examples who prove the MOP winner was voted upon before the final results — Kyle Guy and Villanova’s Ryan Arcidiacono (2016).
Guy “stole” it from De’Andre Hunter, who not only scored a game-high 27 points in the 2019 championship against Texas Tech but also drilled a game-tying triple with 12 seconds left in the second half. With that being said, Guy was “fouled” and hit the game-winning free throws in the Final Four versus Auburn.
Three years prior, Kris Jenkins nailed a buzzer-beating jumper from the top of the key to hand the Wildcats their first national title since 1985. But Jenkins was named South Region MOP during that tournament run, and Arcidiacano won MOP at the Final Four.
Don’t Bet Previous Award Winners?
The award isn’t always a byproduct of a player’s two-game showing, despite the award sometimes being called Final Four MOP. Last season, Baylor’s Davion Mitchell tallied a 12-point, 11-assist performance against Houston in the national semifinals and closed +400 two days later.
Mitchell, a soon-to-be NBA draft lottery pick, even followed that up with 15 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds versus No. 1 overall seed Gonzaga. However, Butler tallied a game-high in points (22) and assists (7) in the championship matchup, and Mitchell had already won the South Region MOP — similar to Jenkins.
On top of that, there are only five players who won both regional and NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player this century.
- Tyus Jones (Duke, 2015)
- Shabazz Napier (UConn, 2014)
- Kemba Walker (UConn, 2011)
- Sean May (UNC, 2005)
- Carmelo Anthony (Syracuse, 2003)
While there are 12 times when the MOP winner wasn’t on the title-winning team, Akeem Olajuwon (Houston, 1983) was the last to do so.
So unless a region MOP dominates his Final Four matchup — and title game early enough — voters are likely to look elsewhere. In theory, that may remove Paolo Banchero, Armando Bacot, Jermaine Samuels and Remy Martin from the conversation.
Let’s sift through intriguing names from each of the remaining programs. Bettors could accrue more value if they wait until after the Final Four, per the table above.
NCAA Tournament MOP Candidates
No. 2 Seed Villanova: Collin Gillespie (+900)
Surprising to some, the Wildcats’ title hopes aren’t dead — even without Justin Moore (torn Achilles tendon). Gillespie would need a pair of noteworthy offensive performances to cash this ticket, which he’s very capable of even in low-possession games. He’s also riding a popular narrative Phillips told TheLines about, after recovering from a knee injury that kept him out of last season’s NCAA tournament.
No. 2 Seed Duke: Mark Williams (+2000)
To say Williams has represented a prominent rim protector in March Madness might still be an understatement. The 7-footer is averaging 3.2 blocks in over 30 minutes per game thus far. Plus, his offensive assertiveness in the paint is even more evident since he’s stayed out of foul trouble. If Williams replicates that formula, these odds are a little too high.
No. 8 Seed UNC: Brady Manek (+2000)
The 6-foot-9 grad transfer torched Duke’s ball-screen defense in both matchups this season, shooting 11-of-20 from behind the arc. He’s also delivered a 47.0% 3-point clip in the big dance. Like we witnessed with Donte DiVincenzo, who shot 66.7% on 3s in the 2018 Final Four, catching fire on the biggest stage matters to voters.
Caleb Love (+2200) — the Tar Heels’ lead guard — is a single tick behind Manek (16) for the most perimeter makes during a four-game tournament span in program history. He’s worth considering as well.
No. 1 Seed Kansas: Christian Braun (+2800)
Similar to Manek, Braun hunts catch-and-shoot opportunities in transition. The Jayhawks generate the 61st-quickest adjusted tempo (via KenPom) across college basketball. The required number of possessions could be there if Kansas dictates the pace.
Moreover, the open looks should continue with opponents gearing their attention towards Ochai Agbaji, the 2021-22 Big 12 Player of the Year.