Who is the safest bet to take home the 2019 NCAA tournament's Most Outstanding Player award? Duke freshman Zion Williamson, as expected, is the heavy favorite.
Heading into the Sweet 16, most of the surviving teams are feeling a sense of relief that they made it this far, knowing that a couple more wins will get them to the Final Four. The pressure is also on some of the favorites to perform even better in order to advance and live up to pre-tournament expectations.
The top-seeded Duke Blue Devils are the perfect example in the East Region. The Blue Devils have failed to cover the spread in two NCAA tournament games so far at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com, although freshman phenom Zion Williamson has more than done his part by averaging 28.5 points and 7.0 rebounds after already winning ACC Player of the Year, ACC Rookie of the Year and ACC Tournament MVP honors.
If Duke ends up winning the national championship, it will likely be due to Williamson's heroics, which is why he is the +350 betting favorite (wager $100 to win $350) to take home the Most Outstanding Player award for the NCAA tournament.
Teammate R.J. Barrett is the +850 second choice and could steal MOP honors if he puts together a spectacular performance in the Final Four or if Williamson were to get into foul trouble at that point of the tournament. The risk with wagering on either Blue Devils player, though, is that they could easily get bounced from the Big Dance this weekend.
That is why bettors would be wise to take a player on a team they think is a sure thing to get to the Final Four in Minneapolis. The top-seeded Virginia Cavaliers might have the easiest remaining road in the South Region, and they also have a couple of quality candidates to win MOP in De'Andre Hunter and Kyle Guy, who are both listed at +1000 on those college basketball betting lines.
Betting on Hunter and Guy is like taking the Cavaliers to win the national title, but at even better odds. Virginia is the +425 second choice on the March Madness odds behind favorite Duke to cut down the nets on April 8.
Honorable mention for MOP goes to point guard Cassius Winston of the second-seeded Michigan State Spartans in the East. Winston is also +1000 and might have a chance to take out Williamson and the Blue Devils in the Regional Final. If the Spartans can pull off the upset there, then he may be considered the favorite going into the Final Four.