NBA Draft Betting Odds: A Look at All the Markets

The 2022 NBA Draft is just a day away. It's not often the first overall pick is still up in the air this close to the Draft. Here's a preview of the current NBA Draft markets and odds. Who will get first overall?
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NBA Draft Betting Odds: A Look at All the Markets

Seemingly only hours after Golden State Warriors won their fourth championship in eight years, the NBA offseason is already underway. Things will kick into high gear on Thursday in Chicago, as the NBA Draft is set to go off with the Orlando Magic holding the first overall pick following the lottery. 

As we see in many seasons, the odds a few days ago are no longer, as money came in over the weekend on Duke prospect Paolo Banchero pushing him up the odds board. 18 to 1 to go #1 overall last week, Banchero is now as high as +240, currently #2 behind Jamari Smith, a -200 favorite across the board. A previous near-lock at #2, Chet Holmgren has slid down to +350, as the rise of Banchero has hurt his stock in the betting markets. 

With a host of players including Chadeon Sharpe (+10000), Jaden Ivey (+20000), and AJ Griffin (+20000) trailing just behind, let's take a closer look at who I expect to go #1 in the NBA Draft markets to get in on the action in Thursday’s draft.

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2022 NBA Draft First Overall Pick

Pick: Jabari Smith Jr (-165) (Bet $165 to Win $100)

*Odds Available at DraftKings*

Click Here for the Latest NBA Draft Odds

While there’s been a lot of smoke around Banchero being taken #1 by the Magic, I’m not buying that there will be fire. Playing in the much improved SEC last season, Smith Jr. got better as the season went on, and his 6’10” frame paired with his jumper has teams at the top of the board drooling. 

Despite still being a bit lanky, at just 18 years old Smith Jr. comes into this draft the youngest of the top 3 players, and a couple of years in the NBA system will no doubt fill out that frame. What he lacks in size now, he more than makes up for in upside with his enormous wingspan and ability to play all five positions. 

Averaging 16.9 points and 7.4 rebounds at Auburn, Smith Jr. was also one of the Tiger’s best defenders, as his size and athleticism allowed him to often guard the opposing team’s best players. Given the lack of shooters currently in Orlando, his jump shot alone likely gives him the opportunity to compete for a starting spot on day one. 

There are also the soft qualities in Smith Jr., who despite his youth has as much swagger and confidence as anyone in this class, and the moxie to become a future star in this league. With a father who played in the NBA, Smith Jr. knows what it takes to be successful at the next level, in addition to his physical gifts. 

Having worked out with just the Magic and Thunder in the lead-up to the NBA Draft, Smith Jr. is obviously confident he’s going to be one of the two, and I don’t see the Magic letting him slide past with the #1 overall pick. 

While the odds have gotten high, I expect them to come back down a bit with the Banchero smoke and would play this anywhere near -200.

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Johnny has been covering the sports betting markets and handicapping games for the better part of the past decade. Along the way, he has written for publications such as All-In Magazine, Blitz Predict, FantasyPros, Betting Pros, Sportsbook Review, and most recently, OddsChecker. In addition to giving out picks on Twitter, Johnny is the host of the podcast The Daily Sports Bet -- a 10 minute or less listen with actionable insights and no fluff or BS. Starting the podcast in June, he closed out 2021 up 26 units with a winning percentage of 55%.


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