Ochai Agbaji of the Kansas City Jayhawks

After the Jayhawks beat the Wildcats to reach the NCAA Tournament Championship game, Vegas oddsmakers made Ochai Agbaji a +115 favorite to win the March Madness Most Outstanding Player award.

Close behind are UNC players Guard Caleb Love (+450) and rebounding machine Armando Bacot (+550).

Get insights and the latest MOP odds before the Kansas Jayhawks take on the UNC Tar Heels for the biggest prize in college basketball at Caesars Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana on April 4.



2022 NCAA Tournament MOP Award Betting

Before betting on the NCAA Tournament MOP, you should consider a few points. Firstly, the MOP winner has been a member of the championship squad every year since Akeem Olajuwon won it with runner-up Houston in 1983.

There have only been 12 instances in which the winner of the MOP award was not on the championship team.

Secondly, be aware that the media panel that selects the winner only considers player performances from NCAA tournament games. Lastly, a player’s performance in the final is usually the biggest deciding factor for voters.

So as Kansas is a -4.5 point favorite over the 8th seeded North Carolina, wagering on a Jayhawk to secure the honors makes sense.

Yet as this year’s March Madness has produced its fair share of shocking results, never rule out the Tar Heels from winning the NCAA title.


Odds provided by Bovada.


Why Ochai Agbaji Is The MOP Favorite

Although Agbaji started the tourney slow, he has been on fire in the biggest games. After averaging just 10.3 points on 33.3% shooting from the field in the Jayhawks’ first three matchups, he increased his scoring to 19.5 ppg in the Elite 8, and Final Four combined.

In his team’s 85-61 win over Villanova on Saturday, Agbaji went 6-7 from beyond the arc.

With a 41.1% shooting average from long distance, the 21-year-old will likely come to the rescue if Kansas needs buckets to win a tight game.

When considering the star’s scoring ability, it’s unsurprising that online sportsbooks have him as a hot MOP favorite.



The Tar Heel MOP Contenders

Despite being underdogs to win the NCAA Tournament final game, the Tar Heels have some stars capable of winning MOP.

However, although Armando Bacot and Brady Manek have been vital to North Carolina’s success this year, nobody has hit more big shots than guard Caleb Love.

The sophomore pulled off a crushing three-pointer with only 25 seconds on the clock to end Duke’s run in the Final Four on Saturday. Love has been consistent throughout the tournament, averaging 23.8 ppg before the final.

As he’s shooting 86.1% from the line, the fearless young talent is a formidable opponent.

Expect North Carolina to send him the ball if the game comes down to free throws at the end. If this likely scenario occurs, the 20-year-old has a solid chance of winning MOP.



Could Martin Win MOP?

The Jayhawks are this year’s March Madness favorites – but even if they become champions, Agbaji isn’t a complete lock to win the Most Outstanding Player award.

Remy Martin has the credentials to come off the bench to upset the odds. While backing a non-starter might seem a risky choice, it happened recently: in 2018, Vilanova’s Donte DiVincenzo scored 31 points to beat Michigan and secure MOP.

Admittedly, Martin has been quiet of late – hence his +1000 odds. Nevertheless, he led the Jayhawks in scoring in each of their first three tourney victories. Therefore, if Kansas fall behind and need to mix things up, he could take to the court to shoot his team back into the lead.

This type of narrative would likely win the hearts of MOP voters.



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Ben Perks
Writer

Ben began his journalism career over ten years ago. Since then, he's hacked away at his keyboard to produce articles for various publications, struggled to call football soccer, and cut off his hair to hide the fact he's going grey.