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2022 NBA Draft Odds: Paolo Banchero New Betting Favorite to Go No. 1 Overall After Massive Upheaval

2022 NBA Draft Odds: Paolo Banchero New Betting Favorite to Go No. 1 Overall After Massive Upheaval article feature image
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Photo by Lance King/Getty Images. Pictured: Paolo Banchero #5 of the Duke Blue Devils

It happened again — but this time, it seems far more serious.

As the Action Network reported Monday, several major American sportsbooks took significant sharp action on Paolo Banchero to go No. 1 overall in the 2022 NBA Draft. Those odds moved from +1600 on Sunday to less than +300 on Monday evening.

But, the sharps eventually bet back on Jabari Smith after multiple reporters — including ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski — said the Magic were still “likely” to take Jabari Smith Jr. with the No. 1 overall selection.

Over the next few days, the sharps continued their churn on Smith Jr. and his odds lengthened precipitously. The steam on Smith Jr. ended with Caesars listing him as long as -600. 

And then Wednesday night happened.

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Late Wednesday night at around roughly 12 a.m. ET, the books started moving toward Banchero to go No. 1 again.

This time, the movement was far more aggressive.

By the time the dust settled around 3 a.m. ET, there was a new favorite to go No. 1 in Thursday night’s draft: Banchero at a rough consensus of -200.

Smith Jr. had been as long as -600 but was now a consensus of +150 across major American sportsbooks. That’s a reduction in implied odds from 86% to 40% — a staggering change for the No. 1 draft prop, especially so considering the timeframe.

At Caesars, Smith Jr. is +140 with Banchero the favorite at -200. 

FanDuel held out changing their lines for longer than other sportsbooks, keeping Smith Jr. at a clip of -230 for some time. Eventually, FanDuel moved Banchero to even, then made him the favorite. The former Duke standout is -175 at the book as of publish.

Same roughly at DraftKings, Superbook, BetRivers, and PointsBet. Even factoring line copying from book to book, the pattern in which the books have gradually moved further and further toward Banchero is startling. 

This is the first time since the odds for the No. 1 pick opened that Smith has not been the favorite. 

Adrian Wojnarowski had said Wednesday that the Magic would take Smith No. 1: 

Woj says the expectation is that the Orlando Magic will select Jabari Smith Jr. with No. 1 pick tomorrow night.#NBATwitter #MagicTogether pic.twitter.com/scsm4WVNXN

— 𝙏𝙖𝙡𝙠𝙞𝙣’ 𝙉𝘽𝘼 (@_Talkin_NBA) June 23, 2022

Kevin O’Connor of the Ringer had a much more skeptical view while still having Smith No. 1 in his latest mock draft. 

The odds for Smith to go No. 3 shortened considerably as well, with Smith now the favorite at +150 at PointsBet. There’s been a consistent thread of reporting indicating that the Thunder plan to take Chet Holmgren, though it should be noted OKC keeps its cards extremely close to its vest. 

The most logical path to Banchero going first given all of the prior reporting is a trade between the Rockets and Magic. The Magic, if they prefer Smith or Holmgren, could potentially trade back to third. Houston would get Banchero, who they are clearly locked in on, and the Magic still get the player they would take at No. 1. 

However, why does Houston do that deal? Why does Houston blink and offer up more assets to take the same player they’ve been consistently projected to take, especially given it’s more money for the No. 1 pick along with whatever assets are included?

We’ll keep you updated on the markets for the No. 1 pick but headed into the day of the draft, the upheaval Wednesday night forecasts more unexpected turns before the Magic — or whoever holds the No. 1 pick — sends its selection to the league.  

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