The top three favorites to be selected with the opening picks of the 2022 NBA Draft have been set in stone for months, but there has been plenty of line movement along the way.
Now, with the draft less than 48 hours away, the betting market has seemingly come to a decision—for now. Auburn’s Jabari Smith Jr., who was -500 to be the first pick in the draft two weeks ago at offshore sportsbook BetOnline, is priced at -275 as of Wednesday morning.
Smith has been moving all over the market over the past month, going from -225 last week to -155 on Tuesday. The line movement becomes more impactful as the draft approaches though, so his -275 price tag on Wednesday is telling.
He was further down the list during most of the college basketball season, but Orlando has reportedly zeroed in on him as the top pick. The 6-foot-10 forward averaged 16.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists during his lone collegiate season, leading the Tigers to a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
While Smith has been bouncing around between -155 and -500 this month, there has been even more intriguing movement behind him. Duke standout Paolo Banchero was a 16-1 long shot to be the top pick two weeks ago, but he has been steadily getting steamed since then.
Banchero went to 10-1 last week before flying all the way up to +200 on Tuesday. His odds have lengthened slightly as of Wednesday morning, siting at +250. Still, it has been a surprising push that has positioned Banchero ahead of Chet Holmgren in the odds for the No. 1 pick.
Holmgren was the top-rated player in the 2021 freshman class and was the favorite to be the first draft pick for most of the season. He has been steadily moving the opposite direction as the draft approaches, though.
The 7-footer was +170 last week, +275 on Tuesday and has fallen all the way to +400 as of Wednesday. This steam on Banchero has not correlated with odds for the second overall pick, however. Holmgren is -225 to be the second selection in the draft, while Smith is +215 and Banchero is +550.
Essentially, some people believe Orlando could take a shot on Banchero, but Holmgren or Smith remain favored over Banchero to go to Oklahoma City at No. 2 depending on who is available. Holmgren was -250 to be the second pick last week.
All of the attention has been on Banchero getting steamed in the market for the No. 1 pick, but he is still expected to go to Houston with the third overall pick. BetOnline has him priced at -275, while Holmgren is +500 and Smith is +675. Banchero was -650 to be the third pick last week.
Meanwhile, Jaden Ivey is -140 to be drafted fourth overall and Keegan Murray is the +145 ‘chalk’ to go fifth. Murray is +115 to move up to No. 4, as they are the only two guys listed inside of 11-1 for that pick. Murray would be the second-oldest top-five pick in the last nine drafts.
There is a good chance that another large swing occurs in the betting market over the next 24 hours.