Wooden Award Odds 2024: Edey Favored to Win Over Davis, Knecht

Zach Edey creates a classic horse racing analogy.

The Purdue center is the Secretariat of his day regarding the Wooden Award, given to the nation’s top college basketball player. He is the odds-on betting favorite, in a class by himself, to win a rare second consecutive time.

Like Secretariat, who rumbled to a record 31-length victory in the 1973 Belmont Stakes, Edey is roaring through the college basketball homestretch, alone. Just as the crowd stood to cheer Secretariat, who was so far ahead he was running by himself, the bettors now cheer Edey, who was so far ahead last month that his futures wager came down at most books.

And just as Secretariat’s victory is the symbol of horse racing dominance, Edey’s betting odds of -25000 to -3000 are as dominant as it gets.

But there is still some work to be done.

Edey’s backers, who got him at much better prices earlier in the season, just want him to play reasonably well during March Madness to preserve the award. That’s because postseason play does matter.

Dalton Knecht of Tennessee and RJ Davis of North Carolina (both +3000) may have won this any other year. They are Edey’s closest pursuers and indeed joined him this week in being named to the AP All-America team. Either would need to lead his team to the national championship and have Purdue bow out right away to have a chance.

Edey’s price is out of sight now, but landslides do teach us something. This one does, too.

The 7-foot-4 Edey was +175 to snare a Wooden repeat in November. Many gamblers grabbed that price at various sportsbooks when the college basketball season started.

They are beaming now, proof that the right angle at the right team leads to the right bet.

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To Win Wooden Award Odds

Here’s a look at the Wooden Award odds entering March Madness at the best sports betting apps.


Zach Edey To Win Wooden Award Odds

In retrospect, one can see how he started with plus betting odds. Nobody has won this award consecutively since Ralph Sampson did it in 1982 and 1983.

A player who wins as a junior will often skip his senior year and opt for NBA riches. That’s what Michael Jordan did, bypassing his senior year at North Carolina after taking the Wooden in 1984,

Even players who come back have a hard time reaching his level for two straight years. The most recent example was Oscar Tshiebwe at Kentucky, the returning honoree last year. He couldn’t repeat, as Edey dislodged him.

Edey is now poised to make history after a monster campaign.

He averaged 24.2 points per game, up from 22.3 last year. He procured 11.7 rebounds, 2.2 blocks, and 2.0 assists (a slight uptick from 1.5 last year). Edey also led Purdue to a Big Ten title, a high national ranking all season, and the expectation of making some kind of March Madness run.

Unfinished Business

The Boilermakers gained a No. 1 tournament seed and will play Grambling State on Friday.

There is one thing Edey is not likely to repeat. Nor will his Purdue teammates.

This team bitterly recalls last season, when Purdue became the second No. 1 seed ever to fall to a No. 16 seed in the NCAA Tournament. At a whopping -23, Purdue was shocked 63-58 by Fairleigh Dickinson, joining Virginia, which fell to the University of Baltimore Maryland County 74-54 in 2018.

The No. 1 seed is 150-2 all-time versus the 16 seed in March Madness. Edey gets a chance to get the bad taste out of his mouth from last season.

Edey wants to both set and avoid history. He would like to be the first repeat Wooden Award winner in 41 years. He also wants to avoid being the first No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16 seed in two straight years.

RJ Davis To Win Wooden Award Odds

The North Carolina guard blossomed beautifully in 2023-24, notching a career-high 21.4 points per game. He secured 3.8 rebounds and notched 3.5 assists per game. His 43% field-goal percentage was adequate.

He’s a guard and playmaker, unlike the in-the-paint force of Edey.

Davis was instrumental in North Carolina securing a 27-7 record and a No. 1 seed. Like the Boilermakers, the Tar Heels have a bad memory to get out of their heads. Theirs was recent, an 84-76 setback to NC State at -9.5 in the ACC Tournament Final.

One major difference between Davis and Edey is field-goal percentage. Edey hit at a remarkable 61.9 % clip versus 43.1 for Davis. That may be the biggest Wooden number separating these two.

Dalton Knecht To Win Wooden Award Odds

He’s a similar player stylistically to Davis — sound fundamentally and an excellent playmaker.

Knecht matched his best career numbers of 21.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game. Besides the All-American award, he was named the SEC Player of the Year.

He has shown the ability to hit from behind the arc and occasionally drive the lane. He may not be able to take over a game the way Edey can, but has proven he can elevate his teammates.

Like Edey and Davis, he wants to wipe away a bad recent memory. Tennessee, the No. 1 seed, was trounced 73-56 by Mississippi State in its conference tournament.

This is the stage he wants to put on a show.

Zach Edey, Caitlin Clark Poised to Make History

Both Edey and Iowa superstar Caitlin Clark look ready to do something unprecedented. They may combine to give men and women their first repeat winners together.

The female Wooden Award dates back to 2004. There have been several female repeat winners, but this would be the first male back-to-backer in more than 40 years. Clark won this award last year and appears primed to do it again.

Her last published odds of -250 at least give someone like JuJu Watkins of USC the chance to steal it in the postseason, but she’s rolling.


About the Author
Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo is an award-winning writer and broadcaster, who has covered the sports industry since the 1970s. He won the Sam Taub Award for Excellence in Boxing Broadcasting by the Boxing Writers Association of America in 1997, and is in the New Jersey and Atlantic City Boxing Halls of Fame. Bontempo has broadcast major fights all over the world. The advent of legalized sports wagering shifted his focus to this exciting new industry in 2018.

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