Michigan State’s Cassius Winston Opens as +140 Favorite to Win National Player of the Year
- Michigan State's Cassius Winston is a +140 favorite to win the Naismith Award
- Louisville's Jordan Nwora and North Carolina's Cole Anthony are tied for second at +550
- Duke's Tre Jones is at +850
As the start of the college basketball season draws closer (Nov. ), the odds on the favorites to bring home the Naismith Award have arrived. Unsurprisingly, a veteran star on the top-ranked team in the nation is the preseason favorite: Cassius Winston (Michigan State, senior) leads the pack at an extremely short +140.
Behind him, it's a mix of returning stars and highly-touted freshmen.
2020 Naismith Player of the Year Award Odds
|Player||Team||Odds at Bovada|
|Cassius Winston (Sr)||Michigan State||+140|
|Jordan Nwora (Jr)||Louisville||+550|
|Cole Anthony (Fr)||North Carolina||+550|
|Devon Dotson (So)||Kansas||+750|
|James Wiseman (Fr)||Memphis||+800|
|Tre Jones (So)||Duke||+850|
|Myles Powell (Sr)||Seton Hall||+850|
|Kerry Blackshear Jr. (Sr)||Florida||+1000|
|Markus Howard (Sr)||Marquette||+1000|
|Sam Merrill (Sr)||Utah State||+1500|
There are arguments both for and against Winston's Naismith candidacy. The positives are obvious: he averaged 18.8 points and 7.5 assists per game a year ago, and he's the point guard and on-court leader of the 2020 March Madness favorite. This will also be Winston's senior season, and if the race is close, he'll have a bit of a sentimental edge with voters.
Cassius Winston: born leader.@MSU_Basketball‘s star PG dropped 26 & 4 in the win! #MarchMadness pic.twitter.com/FhIAUqILjZ
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 21, 2019
However, it's also possible that Winston will share much of the load this season. Yes, Joshua Langford will be out until at least January, but the Spartan roster still has a ton of talent and depth. Gabe Brown is expected to fill Langford's spot, and Aaron Henry, who cut his teeth as a freshman in Langford's absence last year, will play a big role. Kyle Ahrens, Rocket Watts, and Xavier Tillman should all be pivotal pieces as well.
Many believe this to be the best roster in the nation. Winston, with all of this around him, only has to be a great captain of the ship. He'll certainly put up great numbers, but Winston can afford, and will be willing, to defer.
Tre Jones Takes Over at Duke
Tre Jones took a backseat to Zion Williamson, Cam Reddish, and RJ Barrett last season, but he now leads the Blue Devils. Make no mistake, Jones still contributed to that star-studded team. He had 9.4 points per game, 5.3 assists per game, and 3.8 rebounds per game a year ago. They weren't eye-popping numbers, but he was solid and reliable as the fourth option on a loaded team.
Tre Jones has FIVE threes tonight 🔥 pic.twitter.com/KiGq3ur37W
— SI College Hoops (@si_ncaabb) March 30, 2019
Now, as he takes over a bigger role as a sophomore, can he elevate to Naismith-level? Last year, he shot a subpar 41.4% from the field, and just 26.2% from the three-point line. For comparison, the favorite, Winston, shot 46% from the field and a deadly 39.8% from three.
If Jones wants to rise to the elite levels, his number one goal is clear. He must start knocking down more of his shots.
Cole Anthony Arrives at Chapel Hill
Roy Williams has to replace the top-five scorers from last year's UNC team. To do that, they'll turn to true freshman Cole Anthony.
UNC freshman Cole Anthony is a human highlight reel 💯
(via @Cbrickley603) pic.twitter.com/kmuL9Zf27S
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) August 29, 2019
Cole is the son of former NBA guard Greg Anthony. At 6'3″, 190 pounds, he's taller and thicker than his old man and has good size for a college guard. He was the MVP of both the McDonald's All-American Game and the Jordan Brand Showcase, and aside from Zion a year ago, is one of the most-hyped freshmen in recent years.
Anthony won't be alone in reloading the Tar Heels. Armando Bacot and Leaky Black should step into significant roles alongside him. It is unquestionable, however, that Anthony is option number one in Chapel Hill.
What's the Best Bet?
When it comes down to it, Louisville's Jordan Nwora is the best bet here.
Nwora is the ACC Preseason Player of the Year, as well as a first-team Associated Press Preseason All-American. He made a massive leap last season, and many now see Nwora as the centerpiece of Louisville's ongoing resurgence under Chris Mack.
.@LouisvilleMBB freshman Jordan Nwora dropped the 🔨 on Pitt during today's win. #MustSeeACC pic.twitter.com/gKmgvytbQu
— ACC Digital Network (@theACCDN) February 11, 2018
As a sophomore, Nwora averaged 17 points per game and 7.6 rebounds per game. He shot 44.6% from the field, as well as 37.1% from behind the three-point line. He could have taken off for the NBA, but decided to return for another year at Louisville.
At the end of the day, Nwora is the primary guy for the Cardinals, and he should put up huge numbers this season. Winston will be great, but Jordan Nwora (+550) is the way to go here.
The post Michigan State's Cassius Winston Opens as +140 Favorite to Win National Player of the Year appeared first on Sports Betting Dime.
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