Let the Wooden Watch parallel the momentum of the college basketball season.
December dawns, college hoops obtain more gambling focus, and the award for the nation’s best player runs hand in hand with the rankings. Here, we look at the betting odds to be honored with the Wooden Award.
The Wooden Award has additional interest this year. Reigning recipient Oscar Tshiebwe of Kentucky seeks to become the first repeat winner since Ralph Sampson in 1983.
Larry Bird has won this award. So have Michael Jordan and Kevin Durant.
Lines are moving, and the betting is heating up.
Here’s a look at this field according to betting odds at DraftKings.
DraftKings Odds To Win 2022 Wooden Award
Here is a partial list of players’ odds to earn the Wooden Award this season.
|Armando Bacot||North Carolina||+1500|
|Jordan “Jelly” Walker||Alabama Birmingham||+5000|
Wooden Award Favorites
Here are college basketball players with short odds to earn the award.
Zach Edey +600 (Purdue)
Bettors try to catch a rising star before he’s gone.
On Wednesday, he was a DraftKings Wooden co-leader at +750. But the Purdue center shot to the favored role overnight, following a 25-point, eight-rebound performance in Purdue’s 79-69 triumph against Florida State.
He may soon inspire a Break Up the Boilermakers chant. Edey helped Purdue become 7-0 and rank as an early feel-good story in college basketball. Purdue entered the week ranked No. 5 in the polls.
You can’t miss him. At 7-foot-4, he is the tallest player in Big Ten history.
Edey entered the week averaging 21.7 points and 12 rebounds per game, both in the Top 10 nationwide. Oddsmakers will look at those two numbers along with Purdue’s ascension.
The Boilermakers reached the Sweet 16 last year only to be the team St. Peter’s beat to complete its epic Cinderella story. St Peter’s became the first No. 15 seed to reach the Elite Eight.
But this is a new year. Purdue is coming. And so is Edey, as a junior no less.
Next game: Sunday, vs Minnesota
Oscar Tshiebwe +750 (Kentucky)
Rare return to the college ranks after winning the award as a junior. Tested the NBA Draft waters and decided to take NIL (name, image, and likeness) money as a college senior instead.
Bettors have numbers to go by. He averaged 17 points, 15 rebounds, and sprinkled in 1.8 steals, 1.6 blocks, and 1.1 assists per game to win last year.
His early stats this year were 14 points and 13 boards. Those numbers should head up as the season hits stride.
Bettors will buy him at good prices and follow his trajectory with Kentucky, which has already lost to Michigan State and Gonzaga.
Next Up: Sunday at Michigan.
Drew Timme +1000 (Gonzaga)
Utterly solid. Averaged 19 and then 18-plus points per game for the Zags the past two seasons. Rebound average in the range of seven holds him back in this format. So does Gonzaga’s weak schedule. Partially offset by three assists per game, but that may not be enough.
Nonetheless, he’s the leader of a strong team. In the 2022 tournament, he tallied 32, 24, and 25 points in Gonzaga’s three March Madness games.
Timme was part of the Bulldog team that went undefeated during the 2021 regular season, missing a perfect campaign by losing to Baylor in the championship game.
Big forward shows the occasional ball-handling skills of a guard.
Next Up: At 6th-ranked Baylor on Friday. A must-see for bettors who want to handicap him in big games.
Marcus Sasser +1200 (Houston)
An emerging player on an emerging team.
Coming together nicely, with points per game going from 13 to 17 last year and a 25-point effort already this year for the surging Cougars.
Houston, which reached the Elite Eight before losing to Villanova last year, entered December atop the entire heap. The Cougars are the No. 1 team in the nation at 7-0 and, buoyed by seasoning from 2022 March Madness, may have a resounding year.
For this guard to win the Wooden, points probably need to get into the low to mid 20’s to separate himself from the high-profile big men. Whether he can do that remains to be seen, but gamblers are watching an improving player.
Next up: Saturday vs St. Mary’s. Sasser must use easier early-season games to pad stats.
Jalen Wilson +1500 (Kansas)
Instant visibility by playing for the defending national champion Jayhawks. Improvement arc was visible early, vaulting him from 11 points per game to 23 and from 7.4 rebounds to 9.
This has the stamp of a breakout year for him, regardless of whether he garners the Wooden. Bettors will note that and may look to play him all season long in points and rebounding categories.
Kansas opened the week at No. 9. It has already been tripped up by Tennessee.
Next up: Dec. 1 vs Seton Hall, Dec. 10 at Missouri.
Armando Bacot +1500 (UNC)
Armando Attitude. Intense lane player, capable of lighting a fire under his team. Nice arc, going from 12.3 points per game two years ago to 16.3 last year. Rebounds ascended from 7.2 to 13.1.
Unfortunately for his chances, the Tar Heels opened the season 5-3, and he splits attention with another good player, Caleb Love.
Next up: Sunday at Virginia Tech
Wooden Award Longshots
Here are a couple of longer-priced contenders worthy of consideration.
Marcus Dickinson +2500 (Michigan)
Here’s the longshot flicker. He appears to be the best player on a high-profile team.
In Michigan’s 70-68 loss Tuesday to third-ranked Virginia, he notched 23 points and had seven boards. This shows the potential extension of his improvement path up to 18.6 points per game and 8.6 boards.
All told, he’s about three points and three rebounds per game behind Edey, the favorite. That’s not a big gap for a guy here. Bettors can get another look at him against Kentucky on Sunday before deciding whether to pull the trigger.
He is likely to face Tshiebwe, the reigning winner. If the gap between Dickinson and Tshiebwe is small, bettors may take a stab. If it’s big, they’ll know why Dickinson is not a play.
Can he really improve enough to reach the top? Hard to endorse that big a move but his presence here shows that the entire top 10 is relatively balanced.
Jordan “Jelly” Walker +5000 (Alabama Birmingham)
Here’s a guy who may light up the scoreboard all year, even if it’s not for a powerhouse team. Bettors may seek him out for individual games, regardless of the award.
Walker leads the entire nation in scoring at 24.8 points per game at the end of November. That’s two points more than Jalen Wilson. Just sayin’.
The Blazers have twice scored more than 100 points in their 6-1 start.
Next Up: Sunday vs South Alabama.
Also read: Odds to win 2022 NCAA Tournament
Frequently Asked Questions
The Wooden Award honors the most outstanding college basketball player of the year as voted on by a pre-selected panel that represents all 50 states. Nominees are set forth by an advisory board. Accounting firm Deloitte tabulates the votes.
They are awarded by different groups. The Naismith College Player of the Year is handed out by the Atlanta Tipoff Club to the top men’s and women’s collegiate basketball players, and while a men’s and women’s player also receive a Wooden Award, a panel of voters chooses from a list of players nominated by an advisory board.