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Best Women’s NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player Odds: Aaliyah Edwards Has Value, Caitlin Clark Does Not

The field of 64 has narrowed its way down to just four teams standing, with only dogs and birds remaining: The North Carolina State Wolfpack, the UConn Huskies, the Iowa Hawkeyes and the colossal favorites, the undefeated South Carolina Gamecocks. By the end of this weekend, we will have named a new Division I collegiate women’s basketball champion. And (most likely) from that champion team, media voters here will come together to name a Most Outstanding Player of this Final Four. In states that allow collegiate player props and futures, ESPN BET is offering odds on the MOP award. I’ve taken these odds and cooked up one play for each remaining team in the field. Let’s get into the best women’s Most Outstanding Player bet from each Final Four team, including Aaliyah Edwards.

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Women’s NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player Bets

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South Carolina MOP Odds: Every Non-Kamilla Cardoso Starter

This is not meant as shade to Kamilla Cardoso at all — she’s the best player on South Carolina this year, clearly. However, I would not by any means call Cardoso the team’s star, due purely to the ensemble, team-based ball approach that Dawn Staley’s squad has to the game of basketball. ESPN BET opened Cardoso at -140 to win Most Outstanding Player, which would imply essentially that she should have the award fairly locked down if South Carolina wins the championship.

I don’t see it that way. Due to the balanced nature of this team, any member of the Gamecocks starting five has a fairly equal chance of having a standout performance in the Championship Game. Because of this, I’m recommending staying off Cardoso (now at +120) and instead splitting two units up evenly among the other four South Carolina starters.

I’m also recommending staying off freshman sparkplug MiLaysia Fulwiley (+800), who played 13 minutes or fewer off the bench in both the Sweet 16 against Indiana and the Elite 8 against Oregon State. Staley seems to be limiting Fulwiley’s role somewhat in these important games.

Best Women’s MOP Bet Today: 0.5 Units each on Te-Hina Paopao (+1800), Ashlyn Watkins (+1800), Bree Hall (+1800), Raven Johnson (+3300)

UConn MOP Odds: Aaliyah Edwards

UConn-South Carolina would be an extremely fun Championship Game matchup both in terms of great basketball on court and the game’s historic narrative. It would be a battle between this era of college basketball’s dominant team in South Carolina and the previous era’s juggernaut in UConn. It would also be a really great post matchup between two projected top-5 picks in the upcoming WNBA draft, South Carolina’s Cardoso and UConn’s Aaliyah Edwards.

If UConn does win the championship, Edwards will be the second-most likely player to be named Most Outstanding Player, behind Paige Bueckers. Bueckers is a transcendent two-way superstar and a media darling, but with her odds to win the award set at +750, I feel you might as well just take UConn to win the title, available at +700 on most books.

The odds for Edwards at +25000, however, are plain disrespectful. Edwards is a star in her own right; she’s an Olympian for Team Canada, a WBCA First Team All-American and a projected top-5 draft pick. The path to Edwards winning this award far more plausible than these long odds suggest. Against Iowa, Edwards faces a smaller defender in Hannah Stuelke in what should be a fast-paced game. She could come out of that with a high-scoring double-double with some defensive stats to boot. If UConn goes on to upset South Carolina on Sunday, Edwards winning her matchup against Cardoso on both ends of the floor will likely be key. There’s a ton of value here.

Best Women’s MOP Bet Today: 0.35 Units on Aaliyah Edwards (+25000)

North Carolina State MOP Odds: Saniya Rivers

I’m only going to talk about this one fairly briefly because, to be perfectly honest, North Carolina State upsetting South Carolina is a pretty fringe outcome. HerHoopStats’ modeling gives North Carolina State a 13.9% chance of pulling it off, and even that sounds kind of high. The idea of them pulling off that upset and then ALSO, two days later, upsetting Iowa or UConn? Super unlikely.

That being said, I cannot resist the value of five-digit plus odds on Saniya Rivers, who is arguably the best and most complete player on North Carolina State despite the amazing scoring run Aziaha James is on. James is priced at +1500, presenting a lot less value than Rivers. Not to mention the fact that, if North Carolina State does pull off a miracle, Rivers, a transfer from South Carolina, would be upsetting her former team and coach in the path to the championship. The narrative momentum behind that would be immense and something that media voters would respond to.

I wouldn’t put much more than a sprinkle on this considering how much of a longshot it is, but I would definitely set the odds of this lower than +25000.

Best Women’s March Madness Bet Today: 0.05 Units on Saniya Rivers (+25000)

Iowa MOP Odds: Don’t fall into the Caitlin Clark Trap

A stay-away counts as a play, right?

Iowa superstar Caitlin Clark is one of the biggest names in sports, period. She is bringing so many eyes to this sport. But if you’re new to betting on women’s basketball, please do not let your enthusiasm for this transcendent athlete lead you to leave value on the table.

ESPN BET is hanging Clark at +150 to win the award despite Iowa’s odds to win the title being longer at +300 at most books. This would imply there’s a decent chance that Clark could win the award even if Iowa does not win the championship. That’s simply not true. If Iowa doesn’t pull off the upset against South Carolina, I can’t see voters looking past that to give Clark the award over a player on the winning team.

In the 40 Final Fours in women’s NCAA basketball since 1982, media voters have awarded a player on the losing team the Most Outstanding Player award one time, in 1991. Ironically enough, if Clark did become the second player named Most Outstanding Player despite being on the team that lost the championship game, she would be winning the award against coach Dawn Staley, who is currently the only player in history who has ever won the award in this fashion. Despite how cool that would be, it’s not likely.

A better way to bet on Clark and Iowa at this juncture would be to place one unit on an exact result bet: Iowa over South Carolina, available at +425 at bet365.

Best Women’s March Madness Bet Today: 1 Unit on Iowa To Beat South Carolina (+425)

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