The number of ways to bet on March Madness in Nevada, at least on the men’s side, just grew. Late Thursday, the Nevada Gaming Control Board issued approval for sportsbook licensees to take wagers on a player award prop related to that tournament.
Nevada sportsbooks can now take action on the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Most Outstanding Player Award. How soon they will get those markets up and who the favorites will depend on how the action goes from here.
Nevada approves player award prop
It’s important to note that this approval is only for the men’s tournament. The markets can now open but most close before the final game of the NCAA D1 Men’s Basketball Tournament each year.
This move puts Nevada sportsbooks on equal footing with their counterparts in other states. It also creates an incentive for bettors to try to forecast an overall winner for the tourney this year.
In the award’s history, spanning all the way back to 1939, instances of winners of this award not playing for the team that won the tournament are rare. The last time that happened on the men’s side was in 1983 when Houston’s Hakeem Olajuwon got the award.
Last year, Baylor’s Jared Butler claimed this award. Over the decades, the shortlist of names to win this award on the men’s side also includes Hall of Famers like Carmelo Anthony, Patrick Ewing, and James Worthy.
Books in Nevada will probably move quickly on this opportunity now that they have it. Expect some contenders in the region to appear near the top of the markets.
Arizona, Gonzaga players likely favorites
If you’re looking for possible favorites before you head to the casino, look no further than the Gonzaga men’s roster. Chet Holmgren and Drew Timme, both of the Zags, have good chances to share space in the top five or ten spaces in the field.
Also likely to appear near the top is Arizona’s Bennedict Mathurin. As March Madness is already into the Round of 64, the field should be smaller than it might have been if NV sportsbooks had been able to get this market live before the tourney began.
For example, Kentucky’s Oscar Tshiewbe is now ineligible for this award as his team lost in the Round of 64. Players must appear in the Sweet 16 or subsequent games to be eligible.
Regardless of which player wins, this market offers a way for bettors to differentiate their plays as they watch the games at an NV sportsbook. It also means a new way for those books to try to hold onto that money.