It’ll be a stunner if anyone but Jabari Smith is the Orlando Magic’s choice at the top of the NBA draft on Thursday night.
Smith is now at -550 at BetMGM to be the No. 1 overall pick. That means if you bet $10 on Smith to go No. 1 you’ll net just $1.82. Smith’s low odds come after ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted Thursday morning that Smith was likely to go No. 1 ahead of Chet Holmgren and Paolo Banchero.
As team boards finalize today, the 1-2-3 of the NBA Draft is increasingly firm, per sources: Jabari Smith to Orlando, Chet Holmgren to Oklahoma City and Paolo Banchero to Houston.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 23, 2022
Bettors are also believing in Smith’s chances to be the No. 1 pick. Over a third of bets are on Smith to go No. 1 and those bets make up over 70% of the total money wagered on the prop.
“The NBA Draft is a difficult event to handicap. Rumors and leaks can cause wild line movement. Jabari Smith Jr. closed as the favorite to be the 1st Pick but Paolo Banchero’s odds moved from +1600 to +200 earlier this week," BetMGM trader Christian Cipollini said.
Smith himself would also be shocked to go No. 1. He told Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes that he feels he's the No. 1 picked and would be "surprised" if he wasn't the Magic's pick.
As Cipollini said, Banchero’s odds have dropped over the past two days to be the No. 1 pick. He’s down to +200 from +350 to go No. 1, even if it’s still an extreme long shot that he’ll get chosen there. Holmgren’s odds, meanwhile, have skyrocketed up to +1000 as he seems set to go to the Oklahoma City Thunder at No. 2 ahead of Banchero. The Duke forward is likely to go at No. 3 to the Houston Rockets.
Smith, Holmgren and Banchero have been the top three in the 2022 NBA draft for quite some time. Their status has led many in and around the NBA to believe that the draft’s craziness unofficially begins at No. 4 with the Sacramento Kings’ pick. The Kings could trade out of that spot or keep the pick. Yahoo Sports’ Krysten Peek has the Kings picking Purdue’s Jaden Ivey at No. 4 in her final mock draft.
A Kings selection of Ivey could mean a continued backcourt makeover in Sacramento. The Kings traded Tyrese Haliburton to Indiana during the 2021-22 season and Ivey’s arrival could mean that Sacramento looks to move on from De’Aaron Fox.
You can view Peek’s mock draft in full here. She too has Smith, Holmgren and Banchero in that order as the top three picks in the draft.