Kofi Cockburn vs. E.J. Liddell for Wooden Award: How Odds Stand Ahead of Ohio State vs. Illinois

Kofi Cockburn vs. E.J. Liddell for Wooden Award: How Odds Stand Ahead of Ohio State vs. Illinois article feature image

Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Kofi Cockburn (Illinois)

No. 22-ranked Ohio State will travel to No. 15-ranked Illinois for the marquee college basketball matchup on Thursday (9 p.m. ET on FS1). The fight for the Big Ten regular-season title will be on the line tonight — along with a better seeding for the NCAA Tournament come March.

Illinois is a game back from Wisconsin and a half-game behind Purdue for the Big Ten lead, while Ohio State is a close fourth in the conference and 1.5 games back from Illinois.

But there's another race broiling in this matchup: Kofi Cockburn vs. E.J. Liddell for the Wooden Award.

Cockburn, the Fighting Illini's star center, has shot up the oddsboard to No. 2 after slipping during the middle of the season. Meanwhile, Liddell — the second-best favorite in January — has struggled to hold pace after a series of average to below-average performances for the Buckeyes forward.

Liddell's odds were just +800 about a month ago but have fallen to +2000. At BetMGM, he's tied for the 10th-best favorite to win the award granted to the best college basketball player in the country.

Below is a list of players with at least +4000 odds to win the Wooden Award via BetMGM.

Wooden Award Odds: Kofi Cockburn vs. E.J. Liddell

Oscar Tshiebwe+275
Kofi Cockburn+500
Ochai Agbaji+700
Johnny Davis+1000
Paolo Banchero+1200
Jaden Ivey+1400
Drew Timme+1600
Keegan Murray+2000
Bennedict Mathurin+2000
E.J. Liddell+2500
Jabari Smith+2500
Chet Holmgren+3000
Trayce Jackson-Davis+4000
Zach Edey+4000

The top 10 vote-getters are given All-American status.

Illinois are six-point favorites at home as of Thursday morning with the total set at 141 (check real-time college basketball odds here). Read below to see what our best bet is for tonight's contest — and our rationale behind it.

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Doug Ziefel
Jun 13, 2024 UTC