We’ve reached the pinnacle of the NCAAB season with Villanova taking on North Carolina in the National Championship game.
The first weekend saw a some impressive performances led by some unfamiliar names. Stephen F. Austin’s Thomas Walkup and Arkansas Little Rock’s Josh Hagins both posted impressive games in the first round before being eliminated in the Round of 32. Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield proved deserving of his widespread acclaim with 63 points in his first two games. Duke’s Grayson Allen continued his high-level (and fairly irritating) play in back-to-back wins.
Following the opening rounds, Irish bookmaker Paddy Power posted odds for the 2016 NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player (MOP) and none of these players were listed as the favorite — that distinct honor belonged to North Carolina forward Brice Johnson.
The 6’9″ senior averaged 16.8 points and 10.5 rebounds per game during the regular season and continued his solid play by averaging 19.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 5 blocks over the first two rounds of the tournament. Considering that the Tar Heels were viewed as the consensus favorite to win it all, it wasn’t surprising to see Johnson’s name atop this list.
Days later, Bovada posted Tournament MOP odds with Brice Johnson (+500) and Perry Ellis (+550) listed as the favorites. Although there were several omissions, it was interesting to see some of the massive discrepancies — specifically Duke’s Brandon Ingram who was listed at +2500 as compared to the +9000 at Paddy Power.
The table below displays the MOP odds from Paddy Power, Bovada, and Sportsbook throughout the tournament.
|Player||School||Sprtsbk (4/4)||5Dimes (3/30)||Bovada (3/28)||Bovada (3/24)||Paddy Power (3/21)|
|Brice Johnson||North Carolina||-120||+240||+250||+500||+500|
|Joel Berry III||North Carolina||+500||+700||+700||+1400||+2500|
|Marcus Paige||North Carolina||+550||+900||+750||+1200||+2200|
|Zach Auguste||Notre Dame||N/A||N/A||N/A||+5000||N/A|
|Frank Mason III||Kansas||N/A||N/A||N/A||+2000||+1400|
|Wayne Selden Jr.||Kansas||N/A||N/A||N/A||+1400||+1700|
Below was published on March 24 prior to the Sweet 16:
It’s typically difficult to find value in these types of prop bets, but Ryan Arcidiacono intrigues me at 90/1. Senior guards typically dominate March Madness, and Arcidiacono fits that mold. The 6’3″ point guard is an excellent passer and a high volume three-point shooter. Add in the fact that Villanova has the sixth best odds of winning the championship (+1250), and it may be worth taking a flier on the Wildcat guard.
With only four teams remaining, the NCAA Tournament MOP odds have changed tremendously. Following the losses by Kansas and Virginia, front runners like Perry Ellis and Malcolm Brogdon were eliminated from consideration while several players have seen their odds skyrocket — including my pick Ryan Arcidiacono (+9,000). Arcidiacono averaged 17 points, 3 rebounds and 2.5 assists in wins over Miami and Kansas which caused his odds to jump from 90/1 to 17/1.
Teammate Josh Hart has really come through lately but Ryan Arcidiacono still has a shot at winning MOP. He’s now listed at +800 after opening +9000. However, it’s UNC’s Brice Johnson who has proven why he’s been the favorite all along, and is now listed at -120 odds.
Bettors should also be sure to visit our free college basketball odds page for the latest lines, injuries, public betting trends and more.
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David Solar is the Content Manager for Sports Insights and can be reached directly at David@SportsInsights.com