The reigning National Player of the Year is back for another season, as we all await to see the encore performance for Purdue's 7-foot-4 center. Zach Edey is a favorite to win the Wooden Award again based on the latest college basketball odds at our best sportsbooks.
For the second year in a row, the reigning National Player of the Year has decided to return to college basketball. That is a sentence that used to be a rarity in the sport but is becoming more common in the NIL era.
Last year it was Kentucky center Oscar Tshiebwe, who didn't come close to meeting expectations in his final collegiate season. But there is plenty of reason to believe Zach Edey will have a better fate, assuming the walking double-double machine can stay healthy.
While our best sports betting apps don't yet have Wooden Award odds for the 2023-24 season, FanDuel has a two-way market exclusively for Edey's chances at defending his throne. He is being offered at +150 to repeat, but is there value in the no market instead?
Here is a look at our best Zach Edey Wooden Award odds (odds via our best March Madness betting sites).
Zach Edey's Wooden Award odds
Market at FanDuel states: Zach Edey to win 2023-24 John R. Wooden Award
The case for betting on Edey
As difficult as it is to believe, Edey will likely be better in his fourth collegiate campaign. After testing the NBA draft waters, Edey knows what areas of his game he needs to improve. I would expect him to spend all offseason working on such things, which include his ball-screen defense and willingness to extend his range.
Even with clear flaws as a pro prospect, Edey is a dominant force at the collegiate level. He averaged 22.3 points, 12.9 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks per game last year while playing 31.7 minutes per contest. As long as his box scores continue to look like that, Edey will be a contender in this race.
Purdue won the Big Ten en route to capturing a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament last year. Although the Boilermakers became the second top seed to ever lose to a No. 16 seed, this a roster that enters the year as one of the March Madness favorites. Playing on a title contender will increase Edey's chances to repeat.
Edey wrapped up the NPOY award early last year, as he was listed as a -330 favorite by January. There might actually be fewer worthy challengers in this year's race, meaning the +150 odds could end up being a bargain.
The case against betting on Edey
We mentioned it at the top, but it is rare to have a National Player of the Year return. Tshiebwe was just the third Wooden Award winner to come back for another year, per On3, meaning Edey is joining exclusive company.
Tshiebwe was the first since North Carolina's Tyler Hansbrough, and neither of those two players were able to replicate their trophy seasons. Ralph Sampson remains the only player to win consecutive Wooden Awards since they started awarding college basketball's player in 1977, as the Virginia center won it back-to-back in 1982 and 1983.
History is certainly not on Edey's side, which is important to note given his short price. Voter fatigue is real.
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