2022 NBA Draft: No. 1 pick odds lean heavily toward Jabari Smith

Jabari Smith #10 of the Auburn Tigers looks on in the first half against the Miami (Fl) Hurricanes during the second round of the 2022 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Bon Secours Wellness Arena on March 20, 2022 in Greenville, South Carolina. Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images/AFP

The 2021-22 NBA season came to an end when the Golden State Warriors defeated the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals.

After the season, the offseason begins this week with the 2022 NBA Draft. Major sportsbooks including BetMGM and DraftKings are forecasting where tomorrow’s stars could be picked.

The NBA Draft takes place Thursday evening at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

The draft lottery drawing resulted in the Orlando Magic having the first overall pick, with Auburn’s versatile second-generation star Jabari Smith likely to be the pick.

The Oklahoma City Thunder are next in the first round, followed by the Houston Rockets and the Sacramento Kings.

It is currently unclear which prospects match these teams.

Jabari Smith tops the charts

The favorite as a top draft pick, as well as the leader of a very talented pool, is undeniably Jabari Smith Jr. The Auburn University product follows in the footsteps of his father, who also played in the NBA as well as Spanish and Mexican leagues.

The forward spent a year at Auburn and averaged 16.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.0 blocks in 34 collegiate games while shooting 42 percent on 3-pointers.

Smith is expected to be a suspension because he is one of the top three picks.

Duke’s Paolo Banchero and Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren are also considered safe top picks.

Available international talent includes Frenchman Ousmane Diengo, scheduled for the first round, and Serbian Nikola Jovic.

A great unknown: where Canadian Shaedon Sharpe ends up.

The explosive shooting guard signed with the Kentucky Wildcats in September 2021 but did not play last season.

The 2 point

BetMGM and DraftKings have Smith Jr. as their first overall pick and the recent move gives him an even bigger lead on the field.

Smith, who also gets most of the action, started at -105 when the lines opened but was -165 on June 20th.

Holmgren is the hedge. Jalen Suggs, a high school teammate from last season’s Magic freshman pick, the 7-footer now has a good chance of being first pick. He opened at +145 but recently switched to +115.

Even so, Holmgren already made it clear that he would prefer to slip to the Thunder in 2nd place.

Banchero goes in the opposite direction at BetMGM. He opened at +350 to be top pick and is now at +1500.

Smith controls 27.1% of the action while Holmgren currently owns 24.5%. Banchero receives 16.5% of all bets.

A similar ranking can be found at DraftKings. Smith’s current odds of being the best pick are -175. Holmgren is in second place with current odds of +150.

Rounding out the top 3, Banchero is rated +950 for being the top pick.

Smith gets most of the action on DraftKings.

He has 38% of the handle and 28% of the bets. Holmgren follows with 34% and 24% respectively. Banchero gets 23% and 21%.


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