Wooden Award Betting Odds: Obi Toppin Leads Luka Garza
Selection Sunday is less than two weeks away, and we’ll be filling out brackets and betting on March Madness before we know it. With Zion Williamson making a late Rookie of the Year campaign in the NBA, this season’s John R. Wood Award race lacks big names.
Here’s a look at the Wood Award betting favorites as we head into the final weekend of the regular season for some teams and the beginning of conference tournaments for others.
Obi Toppin -143, PF, Dayton Flyers
If you’re a casual college hoops fan, or just starting to pay attention for March Madness bracket purposes, then you might not be familiar with Toppin. The power forward from Dayton has soared up the betting board for the John R. Wooden Award just as the Dayton Flyers have soared up the NCAA Tournament betting board. Dayton has the fifth-best odds to cut down the nets in Atlanta, according to oddsmakers. The Flyers’ success has come, in large part, thanks to their star power forward.
There has been no stoppin’ Obi Toppin this season, as the high-flying forward is averaging 19.8 points per game at a remarkable 63% shooting. Additionally, Toppin is grabbing just under eight boards a game and has proven to be a threat from the three-point line, making 38.8% of shots from beyond the arc.
For what it’s worth, Jay Bilas said on air that his vote for National Player of the year is with Toppin. It’s clear oddsmakers agree.
Luka Garza +115, C, Iowa Hawkeyes
We said there’s no stoppin’ Toppin, but Luka Garza might have something to say about that. The 6-foot-11 center has led the No. 18 Iowa Hawkeyes to wins against Texas Tech, Maryland, Michigan and Penn State.
Garza is carrying the Hawkeyes through one of the most grueling conference schedules in the country. In fact, the Big 10 could have as many as 10 teams playing in the 2020 NCAA Tournament. Every week is a battle, especially for a big man like Garza, who does a lot of his work in the paint.
Nearly averaging a double-double with 23.7 points and 9.8 rebounds per game, Garza is posting one of the more impressive Big 10 performances we’ve see in recent years.
Garza supporters will point to Iowa’s strength of schedule, which is the fifth-toughest, according to KenPom. Dayton’s? 103rd in terms of SOS.
So while Garza isn’t as efficient has Toppin, he is putting up more points and rebounds against tougher competition.
Is that enough for voters to give him the nod?
Myles Powell…G, Seton Hall Pirates
Seton Hall is on the verge of getting a No. 3 seed as they enter March Madness. Myles Powell, a senior for the Pirates, has a lot to do with that.
Averaging 21.5 points, Powell is the best player on the best team in the Big East. So you’re probably wondering why you can’t find Powell on the betting board at a lot of US sports books, such as FanDuel, PointsBet and DraftKings Sportsbook.
Powell is unlikely to beat out Toppin or Garza as things currently stand, but on the off chance he does win the award, your bets will be losers.
More John R. Wooden Award Betting Odds
All odds are courtesty of DraftKings Sportsbook book and accurate as of Tuesday, March 3, 2020.
- Obi Malachi Flynn +630
- Payton Pritchard +900
- Markus Howard +1000
- Devon Dotson +2000
- Cassius Winston +2000
- Filip Petrusev +2000*
- Freddie Gillespie +3000
- Udoka Azubuike +5000
- Ayo Dosunmu +5000
- Tre Isiah Jones +5000
- Jordan Nwora +5000
- Jared Butler +5000
Earlier favorites such as Michigan State’s Cassius Winston, Louisville’s Jordan Nwora and Kansas’ Udoka Azubuike have fallen. All three players are still forces to be reckoned with but haven’t quite had the season to make themselves legitimate John R. Wooden contenders as the season closes.
It is a two-person race between Garza and Toppin for the Wooden Award. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. As enticing as these longshots might be, especially if you haven’t paid much attention to the regular season, you’re better off just staying away if you aren’t willing to bet on Toppin or Garza.
Image Credit: USA Today Sports Images