By David Caraviello | | 3 mins
Michigan State’s Cassius Winston Tops Wooden Award 2020 Odds
He’s a senior point guard with exceptional vision and a knack for finding the basket, who can dish out assists in bunches or take over a game. By the time the 2019-20 college basketball season comes to an end, Michigan State’s Cassius Winston might also be known as something else: national player of the year.
The Spartans’ stalwart is the preseason college basketball betting favorite to win the Wooden Award, largely considered the game’s premier individual honor. His +500 odds outdistance those of Kansas forward Udoka Azubuike (+650) and Florida guard Kerry Blackshear Jr. and Gonzaga forward Killian Tillie (both +700).
Wooden Award 2020 Odds
|Kerry Blackshear Jr,|
All odds via 888sport are current as of publication but subject to change.
Winston Could Make History
Coming off a junior campaign where he averaged 18.8 points and 7.5 assists in powering Michigan State to the Final Four, Winston has a chance to finish his career as the lone player in history with 2,000 points and 1,000 assists.
Winston’s effectiveness was evident in last season’s Elite Eight, when he scored 20 points, including the deciding 3-pointer after rebounding his own miss with 34 seconds left, to knock off title favorite Duke. In an era of one-and-dones, Winston’s presence is a major reason why the Spartans are both preseason No. 1 and betting favorites to win it all.
‘I’m Back Now’
Winston’s heroics last season came despite suffering from tendinitis in his knees over the second half of the year. As teammates went down with injuries, he became even more indispensable than usual. Over his final 23 games, Winston averaged 39.6 minutes per contest. He told reporters “I’m back now” at a preseason media event.
Rough Early Road
Winston’s health will get tested right out of the gate, potentially against the Nos. 2, 3 and 4 teams in his first nine games. The Spartans open against No. 2 Kentucky, face No. 4 Duke on Dec. 3 and could play No. 3 Kansas in the Maui Invitational final.
Point Guards Rule
Winston could become the third point guard in the last four years to earn the Wooden Award. It went to Frank Mason of Kansas in 2017 and Villanova’s Jalen Brunson in 2018, before Duke forward Zion Williamson interrupted that streak last year. Winston would also become the fifth senior in the last seven years to receive the honor.
Other 2020 Wooden Award Candidates
Winston’s toughest competition for the Wooden Award? Azubuike averaged 13 points and nearly nine boards for Kansas last year before going down with a hand injury. Blackshear, a Virginia Tech transfer, should thrive on a loaded Florida team, while scorers Markus Howard of Marquette and Myles Powell of Seton Hall are darkhorse candidates.
Gonzaga has one of the top post players in the nation in Tillie, but the injury-plagued senior will miss the start of the season after undergoing knee surgery.