Kansas guard Ochai Agbaji shooting a jumper

Kansas guard Ochai Agbaji (30) shoots over Villanova forward Jermaine Samuels during the second half of a college basketball game in the semifinal round of the Men’s Final Four NCAA tournament, Saturday, April 2, 2022, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • Ochai Agbaji is a heavy favorite to win the NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player award
  • Caleb Love and Armando Bacot share the best odds from UNC players
  • Check out the odds, analysis and betting predictions below

Not only is Kansas guard Ochai Agbaji one of the five finalists in the Wooden Awards odds, but with his team competing for the national championship against North Carolina on Monday night, the senior has been made a heavy favorite to take home this year’s NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player award.

Guard Caleb Love and rebounding machine Armando Bacot share the best odds of any Tar Heels players to be named MOP of the tournament, an award that solely takes into account NCAA tournament games and has nothing to do with regular season or conference tournament play.

Let’s take a look at all the odds and best bets for players who will be competing in the final.

NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player Odds

Player Odds
Ochai Agbaji (Kansas) +120
Caleb Love (UNC) +500
Armando Bacot (UNC) +500
Brady Manek (UNC) +1000
Remy Martin (Kansas) +1000
David McCormack (Kansas) +1500
RJ Davis (UNC) +2500
Jalen Wilson (Kansas) +2500
Christian Braun (Kansas) +2500

Odds as of April 3rd at DraftKings Sportsbook.

How to Bet the 2022 NCAA Tournament MOP Award

The first thing you should take into account when deciding who will win this award, is picking who will win the game. The tournament MOP has been a member of the championship squad in every year since Akeem Olajuwon of Houston last won it as a member of a non-championship team in 1983.

Kansas is a -4 point favorite over the 8th seeded Tar Heels in a matchup of college basketball bluebloods in the Tournament Final on Monday, April 4th. If you think the Jayhawks will ride off into the sunset, stick with a player from the Big 12 champions.

You should also be looking at who has the hot hand coming into this final and who will have the edge in key matchups as a player’s performance in the final is weighed heavily in the decision of who gets the MOP.

NCAA Tournament MOP Favorites Coming into the Final

After a slow start to the tournament, Agbaji has saved his best performances for the biggest games. He averaged just 10.3 points on 33.3% shooting from the field in the Jayhawks’ first three games, but has upped that scoring to 19.5 ppg in the Elite 8 and Final Four combined, including going 6-7 from beyond the arc in their 85-61 win over Villanova on Saturday.

He’s been deadly from long distance all season long, shooting 41.1% from long distance and will be the go to guy for Kansas if they need buckets late in a tight game. With all those factors considered, it’s no wonder the oddsmakers have made him the favorite.

North Carolina has a few players who should be garnering tournament MOP attention. While the frontcourt of Bacot and Brady Manek have been massive to the Tar Heels tournament success this year, nobody has hit more big shots than guard Caleb Love.

The sophomore  dropped a dagger triple with 25 seconds left to bury their archrivals Duke and end Coach K’s career in the Final Four on Saturday, and scored the Tar Heels last six points of the game. Not including the overtime win over Baylor, where Love fouled out, he’s averaged 23.8 ppg in the tournament entering the final.

He’s displayed no fear and an appetite for shooting the ball in the most tense moments. Love has also shown ice in his veins at the charity stripe, shooting 86.1% from the line. You can bet North Carolina will be looking to get the ball into his hands if the game comes down to free throws at the end, where he can pad his point total.

NCAA Tournament MOP Longshots to Watch

Kansas has been one of the favorites in the NCAA Tournament odds since the first round and if they do emerge victorious on Monday night, Agbaji isn’t a lock to win the award. So who else can make a statement and etch their name in tournament lore?

How about a player off the bench, like guard Remy Martin? It’s been done before, as recently as 2018, when Donte DiVincenzo scored 31 points against Michigan and led Villanova to the title.

While Martin has been quiet of late, he led the Jayhawks in scoring in each of their first three tournament wins. If they fall behind and need a spark off the bench, he’ll be checking in first off the bench and looking to shoot his team back into the contest.

NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player Pick and Prediction

The key to your strategy here is deciding who will win the game and then picking the player from that team who you believe will have the best performance.

It’s been a dream run for the Tar Heels as Hubert Davis looks to become only the 2nd coach ever to win the tournament in his first season in charge. They’ve defeated three higher seeds to get to this point and have the feel of a team that’s about to achieve something special.

No player has been more key to that overall success in this tournament than Love, so take the UNC guard at +500 odds to take home tournament MOP honors.

Pick: Caleb Love, UNC (+500)

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George Nassios

NHL
NCAAB
Sports Writer

NHL
NCAAB





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