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Last Updated Mar 17, 2022, 17:26 PM

NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player Picks, Predictions, Odds

While historically 12 players that didn't win the championship have won the NCAA Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, all those instances happened a long time ago. Akeem Olajuwon in 1983 is the last player on a losing team to take that award so in considering MOP propositions for the 2022 Tournament, the focus should only be on teams that can realistically win the championship. 

Drew Timme and Chet Holgrem lead Gonzaga as the obvious favorites for this award on the #1 overall seed in the bracket but they are priced accordingly. Here are a few players that offer a better potential reward and could provide an opportunity on the current market.

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MARCH MADNESS BETTING RESOURCES

Ochai Agbaji (Kansas) +2000

Among players on the 1-2-3 seed line, no one scores more than Agbaji with 19.7 points per game. Kansas doesn’t have the high-end quality wins of some of the other top contenders this season, but the Jayhawks have been handed what looks like one of the most favorable regional paths of the top tier teams. Agbaji put up 56 points in three games leading Kansas to the Big XII tournament title and the ball will be in his hands in big spots late in games.

Jabari Smith (Auburn) +2500

Smith is a candidate to be the #1 pick in the NBA draft this summer and Auburn is one of the higher scoring teams in the field posting nearly 79 points per game. Smith averaged nearly 24 points per game over his final seven games even with a disappointing early exit in the SEC tournament.

Auburn is a team that many are looking to fade after an uneven run late in the season but the Tigers caught a break to stay on the #2 line and the Midwest region looks like the weakest of the four quadrants with arguably the weakest #3, #4, #5, and #6 seeds as Auburn and #1 seed Kansas should have a great chance to match up in the Elite Eight.

Andrew Nembhard (Gonzaga) +3000

The payout on Nembhard is about three times higher than on Timme or Holmgren for the #1 Bulldogs. Nembhard leads Gonzaga in minutes and is the one player Mark Few will be reluctant to take off the court even if the Bulldogs build big leads as he could fill up the box score with assist and rebound counts along with his complimentary scoring.

Opponents are going to need to load up in the front court to handle Gonzaga’s size inside while Julian Strawther will get the most attention beyond the arc. Nembhard could find favorable opportunities with open looks and he is also an elite free throw shooter that will likely boost his scoring totals late in games at the line.

Kellan Grady (Kentucky) +5500

Many see Kentucky as a serious national title threat even while being unable to snag a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament field. The Wildcats wound up with a more difficult regional draw than some of the other top contenders, paired against Baylor and with UCLA in the South region as well, while the Round of 32 matchup will be a challenging one.

Oscar Tshiebwe is the highest profile player for Kentucky but he will face constant double teams in the tournament and if Kentucky is to make a Final Four run, they will need to hit outside shots. Grady is the only quality, high-volume 3-point shooter for Kentucky, hitting over 42% on over 200 attempts.

Bryson Williams (Texas Tech) +5500

Texas Tech leads with its defense but Williams will be the guy to carry the Red Raiders on offense. In three games against Kansas this season Williams scored a combined 72 points as on the biggest stage he will carry a much bigger scoring load than his season average suggests.

Williams can score inside and out as while he is not a high-volume 3-point shooter, he hit over 40 percent on the season. As a #3 seed Texas Tech is not priced like a serious championship threat but Duke has been an inconsistent performer as the #2 seed in the West region while #1 seed Gonzaga has not faced many defenses of this caliber this season. 

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