Smith, Burke Leading Candidates for Final Four MOP

treyburke-michigan-ncaatournamentFor American sports fans, March Madness is one of the most heavily anticipated times of the year. Over the years, the NCAA Tournament has seen so many memorable moments, games, and individual performances, and this year is no different. Michigan’s Troy Burke-inspired comeback against Kansas and Wichita State’s shooting blitz in the final minutes against Gonzaga will go down as two of the most memorable moments in this year’s tournament, and those two teams, along with Syracuse and tournament top seed and favorite Louisville, will be looking to make even more memories in the next few days as the tournament and the college basketball season comes to a climax in Atlanta.

The Final Four has been the stage for many stars and star performances, with the likes of Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, and Michael Jordan all being an integral part of championship teams on the college level before going on to reach great heights on the next level. Time will tell whether any of the premier players on show this weekend will reach such heights, but it’s quite likely that the Most Outstanding Player award will go to one of those players. So if you like to bet on March Madness and want to throw down on some MOP futures, you know who your best bets are.

Russ Smith is the leading scorer of the tournament favorite, so it’s no surprise that he’s the MOP favorite at 4/5, especially given the big numbers he’s put up thus far. In four games, he’s averaging 26 points per game and is shooting 54% from the field, and in the Sweet 16 against Oregon, he scorched the Ducks for 31.

You’d have to figure the top pro prospect left in the field and the likely winner of all of the major national Player of the Year awards would be up there in the mix, and you would be correct, as Michigan point guard Trey Burke is the second favorite behind Smith at 7/4. Burke’s shooting only 35% from the field thus far in the tournament, but he got hot when it mattered against Kansas in the Sweet 16. And when he hasn’t shot well, he’s certainly distributed it well, notching 31 assists in four games.

Those two are far and away the best bets, but if you’re looking for a value bet, a trio stand out, in Michigan’s Mitch McGary (12/1), Louisville’s Gorgui Dieng (15/1), and Syracuse’s C.J. Fair (20/1).