College basketball returns to action seven months after Uconn’s victory in the national championship game.
Back then, Zach Edey and Kyle Filipowski seemed ready for an NBA adventure. Ron Holland was on the verge of playing college basketball again, while bountiful schools went after Hunter Dickinson. The landscape has drastically changed since, though.
We are now only days away from the start of the new college basketball season (Monday, November 6) with a pretty clear look at the rosters.
Edey and Filipowski still play NCAA basketball, Dickinson made a big move to Kansas Jayhawks who stand tall in the early odds for the championship alongside Duke Blue Devils.
This is an ideal time to look at the best players ahead of the new college basketball season. We will also show you the best Wooden Award Winner odds for each star to make sure you get maximum value for our predictions.
|Duke Blue Devils
|North Carolina Tar Heels
#1 — Zach Edey (Purdue Boilermakers, +175 with BetMGM)
Zach Edey is by far the main favorite to defend his 2022/23 Wooden Trophy Award ahead of the new campaign. The seven-foot-four junior led Purdue to the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament last year with staggering numbers, including 22.3 points and 12.9 rebounds per game for the season. The impressive center added 2.1 blocks per game as well.
Thanks to Edey, the Boilermakers are still the main Big Ten contenders, but they will have to do something special to outclass the likes of Kansas and Duke in the battle for the championship. It is very difficult to argue against Edey as the main Wooden Award winner candidate, but looking at the current odds across the top US sportsbook apps, we can’t find better value than his current +175 price tag.
#2 — Kyle Filipowski (Duke Blue Devils, +900 with DraftKings)
Kyle Filipowski has established himself as one of the most dominant interior scorers in college basketball after an amazing ACC Rookie of the Year-worthy campaign last year. The 7-foot sophomore surprisingly turned down NBA money and returned to Durham to take the Blue Devils to the national championship and dethrone Zach Edey in the National Player of the Year race.
Filipowski averaged 15.1 points and 8.9 rebounds last time out. Can he make it to a double-double average in the 2023/24 campaign? We must say the +900 odds for his win in the Wooden Award trophy contest look more than attractive, and we’d not blame anyone who dares to go that way. We’d also back him over Edey with such a significant price difference.
#3 Hunter Dickinson (Kansas Jayhawks, +900 with DraftKings)
A former All-American Hunter Dickinson has made one of the most expected transfers in college basketball history by replacing Michigan with Kansas this summer. The Jayhawks had enough quality to lock a No. 1 seed last season, but the lack of interior offensive presence prevented them from going all the way to the national championship.
Kansas has resolved the issue by signing one of the best bigs in the nation, significantly boosting their chances for the crown. We can’t wait to see Dickinson getting fed by one of the best point guards in the league Dajuan Harris Jr. Dickinson averaged 18.5 points and 9 rebounds per game last season with the Wolverines.
We’d not be surprised to see the seven-foot-one senior improving these numbers in the Jayhawks’ shirt. If he does so, and remember that Kansas is the top favorite for the national championship this year, Hunter Dickinson is well worth a shot for the National Player of the Year Award at the sky-high +900 odds with DraftKings sportsbook real money app.
The other big US sports betting operators have him at +700 or +750 for the prize.
#4 — Donovan Clingan (UConn Huskies, +1700 with BetMGM)
UConn Huskies will have one hell of a task to defend the national championship title with a significantly changed roster. The champions lost Adama Sanogo, Jordan Hawkins, and Andre Jackson Jr. among others, but they should still be poised for another deep NCAA Tournament run with new weapons at their disposal.
Donovan Clingan was a perfect backup for Sanogo with 6.9 points and 5.6 rebounds per game (in just 13.1 minutes per match) in a title-winning campaign. The seven-foot-three sophomore should now step into a new role as the team’s major star and we have plenty of reasons to expect him to explode in the 2023/24 season.
From a betting perspective, the value is certainly there, as we have the main star of a title-defending team at +1700 to win the Wooden Award.
#5 — Armando Bacot (North Carolina Tar Heels, +2000 with DraftKings
We will complete the list of the best five players for the 2023/24 college basketball season with Armando Bacot. The big man enters his fifth year with the North Carolina Tar Heels. We remember Bacot for his amazing form during the 2022 March Madness when he became the first man ever to record six separate double-doubles in a single NCAA Tournament. Bacot led the Tar Heels to the national championship game where they fell to Kansas Jayhawks.
Injury kept him away from the last season’s NCAA Tournament, but Armando is back for his fifth attempt to take North Carolina to the title. While he will undoubtedly post strong individual numbers, we are not convinced as to how far these new Tar Heels could go in such a strong competition.
The +2000 for his National Player of the Year Award still looks great, though, and we have nothing against anyone who tries with this longshot.
- Tyler Kolek (Marquette Golden Eagles, +3500 with BetMGM)
Kolek is an elite passer with fantastic shot-making decisions. He plays on a strong Golden Eagles roster and we love the +3500 odds offered by BetMGM for Tyler to take the flagship individual award home. For context, DraftKings currently has him at +1400 to win the same award.
- Oumar Ballo (Arizona Wildcats, +3000 with DraftKings)
Ballo should flirt with double-double numbers this season and he is poised to be one of the leaders of the Arizona Wildcats after averaging 14.2 points and 8.6 boards per game last time out.
- Max Abmas (Texas Longhorns, +3000 with DraftKings)
Abmas is one of the best scorers in college basketball. He made a big move from Oral Roberts where he averaged 21.9 points per game last season. He will face tougher rivals in the Longhorns’ shirt but will at the same time have a shot at the Wooden Award if he hits the floor running with the new team.