NBA Draft Betting Odds: Paolo Banchero’s No. 1 Overall Pick Odds Moving Drastically

NBA Draft Betting Odds: Paolo Banchero’s No. 1 Overall Pick Odds Moving Drastically article feature image

Photo by Lance King/Getty Images. Pictured: Paolo Banchero (Duke)

Thirty-six hours ago, we had a pretty good idea of how the top five of Thursday’s NBA draft would go.

The Orlando Magic would either take Jabari Smith Jr. or Chet Holmgren. Smith was the odds-on favorite after the lottery, and his odds lengthened considerably until the last two weeks. That's when we began to see considerable movement back towards even between Holmgren and Smith, with Smith the slight-to-moderate favorite.

Duke forward Paolo Banchero would go No. 3, with the idea that Houston traded Christian Wood in part because of its certainty in building around Banchero.

Then Jaden Ivey was likely to go No. 4 — either in an awkward fit with the Kings or after a trade — followed by either Keegan Murray or Dyson Daniels to Detroit (possibly another team after a trade).

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But that was thirty-six hours ago.

Things are different now.

In particular, starting Sunday, a series of bets came in on Banchero to go No. 1. Banchero was 18-1 or longer to go No. 1 on Friday. As of this writing, Banchero has moved to just 4-1 at DraftKings.

SuperBook Sports opened Banchero at +1600 on Monday and immediately took sharp action on Banchero, according to Jeff Sherman, VP of Risk Management at Superbook. The book has moved Banchero all the way to +400 as a result.

BetMGM has seen a four-percentage-point increase on Banchero to go No. 1, as well. They had Banchero +1600 as of Sunday night, moved him to +900 on Monday morning and as of this writing, also have him at +400.

Caesars has Banchero all the way at 3-1.

This comes after word has spread of two different developments:

  • Holmgren has not provided his medical report to most teams and did not participate in the NBA’s heart screening at the Draft Combine, per a report from Matt Babcock of
  • Holmgren has indicated he would prefer to play for OKC, per the Ringer’s Ryen Russillo.

This of course is a bit strange because even if Holmgren were off the table for Orlando due to his reluctance, it would logically follow that Smith’s odds would get shorter as a result.

But instead, Banchero’s odds are moving up.

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Multiple sources told Action Network that as of this weekend, Orlando has not decided on the No. 1 pick. Without a clear-cut option, this typically leads to speculation the week of the draft, so perhaps this is just speculation running rampant. But if it is, it’s happening across multiple books at a significant percentage of handle.

Bill Simmons and Russillo discussed on their podcast how the “smart draft people” had said Banchero was the best player on the board. Is that enough to spark this level of sharp movement?

Finally, it’s notable that so many draft experts like the Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor and others have had Banchero No. 1 on their big boards, but not mocked to Orlando.

Multiple draft consultants told Action Network this week that Banchero was the Best Available Player on their boards. This was a prevailing sentiment last year with Evan Mobley — who finished second in Rookie of the Year, but also did not go No. 1 and instead went third to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

What’s prompting the market move on Banchero? Does this forecast something with the Magic or with the top two picks? Or is this just more smoke surrounding an already very loose time in terms of misinformation and innuendo?

Some bettors are clearly hoping where there’s smoke, there’s fire towards Banchero being the No. 1 overall pick in Thursday’s draft.

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