Featured in this article:
  • Wisconsin's Johnny Davis has surprised as Wooden Award favorite
  • Gonzaga's Drew Timme on comeback trail as preseason favorite
  • Paolo Banchero, Ochai Agbaji and Oscar Tshiebwe also offer betting value

2 Minute Read

He wears No. 1 for the 13th-ranked Wisconsin Badgers (14-2), and he might just be the No. 1 player in college basketball as well β€” that is 6-foot-5 sophomore guard Johnny Davis. The former three-star recruit has turned heads in his second season under Wisconsin head coach Greg Gard, who has helped transform Davis from a role player into the favorite to win the John R. Wooden Award in only one year.

Davis is +450 (bet $100 to win $450) at BetOnline to take home the award given to the nation’s top college basketball player. He is averaging a team-best 21.7 points – more than tripling last year’s numbers β€” to rank fifth in the country. He is also averaging 7.5 rebounds for the Badgers in 34.8 minutes per game as of Friday.

Kofi Cockburn Second-Favorite to Win Wooden

The second choice to win the Wooden Award plays in the Big Ten Conference as well, Illinois Fighting Illini center Kofi Cockburn (+550), who is right above Davis in scoring at 22 points per game. The 7-footer is shooting just over 60 percent from the field for the 25th-ranked Illini and averaging 12.5 rebounds, which is good for third-best nationally.

Below that duo on the betting board are four more players who appear to have some value at +900, Gonzaga’s Drew Timme (the preseason favorite), Duke’s Paolo Banchero, Kansas’ Ochai Agbaji, and Kentucky’s Oscar Tshiebwe. Timme (17.7 points and 5.9 rebounds per game) has been knocked down a bit from favorite status because the second-ranked Bulldogs (13-2) have already lost two games, but a strong finish to the season could push him back to the top. Gonzaga is still favored to win the NCAA Tournament, and Timme scored a game-high 30 points on 13-of-14 shooting in a 110-84 rout of the BYU Cougars on Thursday.

Banchero (17.7 and 7.3) may be the best freshman in the nation for the eighth-ranked Blue Devils, although they have lost two games already too. Agbaji has really made a nice leap similar to Davis for the ninth-ranked Jayhawks (13-2), as the 6-5 senior guard is averaging 20.6 points (up from 14.1 a year ago) on 53 percent shooting from the field. The 6-9 Tshiebwe leads the country in rebounding with 15.2 per game for the 18th-ranked Wildcats (13-3).

Matty Simo

"Vegas Matty" Simo is a Las Vegas-based writer who has covered the sports betting scene since 1996. His strong passion for sports, betting, writing, and everything Vegas-related has made him a go-to source for gamblers over the past two decades. Odds are you will find him either at a sportsbook, cheering on the Golden Knights, or behind his computer writing articles for GO and Odds Shark, where he has served as a contributor since 2014.

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