With the college basketball season starting on Wednesday, some sportsbooks have released sports betting odds for the marquee games of the season, such as the annual rivalry showdown between Duke and North Carolina, or Friday’s matchup with preseason No. 1 Gonzaga and Auburn.
However, no odds have been released for any games involving Michigan or Michigan State. But a few players from those programs have made their way onto the Wooden Award Winner futures list.
No Wolverine or Spartan made it into the top 30, but considering both programs made it into the AP Preseason Top 25, a futures bet may be worth a shot since both teams will be in contention for the Big Ten championship and a potential national title.
Here are the top candidates from the state of Michigan to win the Wooden Award:
Franz Wagner leads the longshots from Michigan to win the Wooden Award, coming in tied for the 23rd-best odds at +10000. For some perspective on how far Wagner’s odds are considered, if a bettor placed $1 for Wanger to win the Wooden Award, the wager would pay out $100 in winnings.
Last season as a freshman, Wagner averaged 11.6 points and was tied for second on the team in most 3s made (41) while converting at a 31% rate from 3-point range.
It was evident Wagner became more comfortable as the season wore on. He scored in double digits in each of Michigan’s final seven games, averaging 15.9 points per game during that span. Wagner also shot 13 for 34 from 3-point range (38%) in that stretch.
Isaiah Livers is the team’s top returning scorer from a year ago (12.9) and missed nine games last season due to injury. He decided to return for his senior season after withdrawing from the NBA draft.
Along with Wagner, Livers also connected on 41 3-pointers and made 40.2% of his attempts from 3. The Wolverines will have the luxury of two perimeter scoring threats with him and Wagner returning.
Last year Cassius Winston was a favorite for nearly every NCAA individual award. But with his departure, the Spartans are faced with replacing his production and leadership after the school’s all-time assist leader graduated to the NBA.
Leading the Spartans’ odds for the Wooden Award is Joey Hauser. The 6-foot-9 forward sat out last season after transferring from Marquette University. Hauser averaged 9.7 points and 5.3 rebounds per game as a freshman while converting on 42% of his attempts from 3 during his one year at Marquette. His size and accuracy from deep will make him a lethal offensive option with his ability to space the floor.
Michigan State will look to Watts to take over the primary ballhandling duties in Winston’s absence. Watts played alongside Winston in the backcourt last season and spelled him at point guard in stretches. During his freshman season, Watts averaged 9 points a game but found an offensive rhythm near the end of the season. In the last four games of the year, Watts averaged 17.8 points.
Henry might be the best pro prospect on the roster. He tested his NBA Draft potential before he decided to return to Michigan State for his junior year. Henry’s known as the team’s best perimeter defender, but he should see more offensive touches this year.
Iowa senior Luka Garza is the favorite to take the Wooden Award at +400. Illinois’ Ayo Dosunmu is second at +500 and Baylor’s Jared Butler is third with +600 odds.