Zion Williamson will be looking to solidify his perch as the favorite on the Most Outstanding Player odds at this year’s NCAA Tournament when he leads the top-seeded Duke Blue Devils into their Sweet Sixteen clash with No. 4 Virginia Tech on Friday as 7-point favorites on the March Madness odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
The 18-year-old forward quickly has rediscovered his dominant form since returning from a knee injury that sidelined him for five games. Williamson has averaged 27.6 points per game in five outings, capped by an impressive double-double performance in a narrow 77-76 win over No. 9 UCF that advanced Duke to Friday night’s matchup at Capitol One Arena.
Williamson is followed on the Most Outstanding Player odds by teammate RJ Barrett at +850. The 18-year-old Canadian earned USA Today Player of the Year honors after leading the Blue Devils with 22.8 points per game this season, but has been overshadowed by Williamson at this year’s NCAA Tournament despite averaging 21 points and 11 rebounds through Duke’s first two tournament contests.
Gonzaga big man Rui Hachimura rounds out the front of the pack on the Most Outstanding Player odds at +950 on the March Madness betting lines. A native of Toyama, Japan, Hachimura has averaged 19.7 points per game this season, but has seen limited action at the Big Dance, averaging just 23.5 minutes and 13.5 points per game during the Bulldogs’ march to a fifth straight appearance in the Sweet Sixteen.
Even without Hachimura racking up the points, the Bulldogs easily dominated on opening weekend, averaging 85 points in decisive victories over No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson and No. 9 Baylor, and are pegged as 7.5-point chalk in their Sweet Sixteen clash with No. 4 Florida State. However, Gonzaga has produced mixed results in past trips to the Sweet Sixteen, picking up wins in just three of nine appearances.
Elsewhere on the college basketball betting lines for this week, the Tennessee Volunteers look to return to the Elite Eight for the first time since 2010 when they take on No. 3 Purdue as narrow 1.5-point chalk.
Later on Thursday, the Big 12 regular-season champion Texas Tech Red Raiders look to return to the Elite Eight for a second straight year as they clash with No. 2 Michigan as 2-point underdogs, while the Oregon Ducks tip off against No. 1 Virginia as 8.5-point underdogs.
Friday’s action opens with No. 2 Michigan State clashing with the LSU Tigers as 6-point chalk and No. 5 Auburn battling top-seeded North Carolina as a 5-point underdog, while No. 2 Kentucky clashes with No. 3 Houston as slim 2.5-point chalk.
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