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Wiggins' Vegas Pro(p)spects

As you may have heard, the most hyped basketball prospect since Greg Oden will be in Lawrence this year... How awesome is it to be able to say that? Anyway, one of the perks that comes along with having the #1 talking point in College Basketball for the year is having the only player props in the sport.

We all know Wiggins is a high-flier, but will he be a high-earner for you in Vegas?
We all know Wiggins is a high-flier, but will he be a high-earner for you in Vegas?

(Note: This site doesn't endorse sports-betting etc. etc. legal mumbo-jumbo)

Here are the props listed for Wiggins from Bovada (the only CBB lines I could find):

Will he be selected #1 overall in the 2014 NBA Draft? Yes: -300 No: +200

Average points-per-game in the 2013-2014 NCAA season? Over 18: -120 Under 18: -120

Let's dive in. As you can see from those odds, Wiggins is the favorite to go #1 overall by a large margin; you'd have to bet $300 to make $100 (a.k.a. they think there's a 75% chance that Wiggins goes first). Let's take a look at the draft position of RSCI top hoops prospects over the last few years to see whether this is the sort of bet that's worth making.

2013: Andrew Wiggins (Unanimous) TBD

2012: Nerlens Noel/Shabazz Muhammad Drafted #6 and #14 respectively.

2011: Anthony Davis (Unanimous but for Rivals) Drafted #1.

2010: Harrison Barnes (Unanimous but for Rivals) Drafted #7 after Sophomore year.

2009: Derrick Favors Drafted #3. (John Wall was #2 and was drafted #1)

2008: Brandon Jennings (Unanimous but for Rivals) Drafted #10 after playing in Italy for a year.

2007: O.J. Mayo Drafted #3 (Derrick Rose was #5 and was drafted #1)

2006: Greg Oden (Unanimous #1) Drafted #1. (Durant was unanimous #2 and taken #2 overall)

So since Oden, only once has the #1 rated amateur player actually been drafted #1 overall. However, the last player that I recall having been anywhere close to the Oden hype was Anthony Davis, who did indeed go with the top pick... That having been said, there's a not-insignificant chance that the #1 pick could go to someone other than Wiggins for one reason or another, so don't take out a mortgage to make that bet just yet. However, if it was me and I wasn't paying through the nose for school I'd be on this one in the "Yes" column, after all, Kevin Durant put up INSANE numbers and couldn't unseat the Oden hypemonster, so I think it'll be tough for anyone else to do so this year.

Points per game: Since the 1997-98 season a total of 38 freshmen have scored more than 18 points per game, 16 of which have come from freshmen in the major conferences. The Big 12 has seen 26.2 ppg and 25.8 ppg seasons from Michael Beasley and Kevin Durant respectively, and an 18.2 ppg season from... Aaron Bruce of Baylor in 04-05. Last year's Jayhawk freshman phenom, Ben McLemore, was able to average 15.9 ppg, but wasn't a true freshman like Wiggins. No KU underclassman has averaged 18 ppg since 1997-98 (as far back as I've got statistics). This team is also about as stacked as a KU team has been in a long time, which means we may see more of a group contribution in scoring rather than a star man carrying a team as we saw with Durant and Beasley. That's the main reason I see 18 points to be a bit too high of a line for Wiggins to reach. Even if the Jayhawks play a very up-and-down style of ball, I think it'd be very tough to have a single player average that many points. That's without adjusting for the schedule of all schedules that Self's boys will be facing this year. It may mean more time in more games for Wiggins with fewer scheduled blowouts, but also means there won't be nearly the number of games in which Wiggins can bully minnows with his physical and athletic superiority as in a standard slate. This one is an "Under" for me.

Regardless, it's going to be a ton of fun having so much national interest on the program this year, and stat-watching will be an interesting diversion as the year goes on. Do you agree with my takes? Do you want to be able to reference this post as an "I told you so!" at the end of the year? Then go ahead and put your fake wagers in the comments!

(Stats courtesy of Sports-Reference)