NBA Draft Betting Guide: Top 2022 NBA Draft Bets
The 2021-22 NBA season has officially come to a close. As the Golden State Warriors bask in their NBA Finals victory, the rest of the basketball world is turning its attention to Thursday’s draft at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Even though we’re mere days from the 2022 NBA Draft, there’s no such thing as a sure bet. However, there are a few draft bets worth considering between now and Thursday night.
Chet Holmgren First Overall (+205)
The Orlando Magic have had lots of success with the first-overall pick in years past, selecting franchise icons Shaquille O’Neal and Dwight Howard. This year, Orlando is deciding between Auburn’s Jabari Smith Jr. and Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren for the honor of being the top pick in 2022.
Following a breakout season with the Tigers, Smith has become the betting favorite to go first overall. Yet if we know anything about the Magic’s M.O., the smart bet would be to take Holmgren.
There’s a reason Holmgren was the projected top pick going into the college basketball season. The 7-footer is an outstanding prospect who can space the floor, make passes, and shoot from a distance. Defensively, his rim protection makes him a future All-Defensive pick. And despite his slender frame, the 20-year-old proved himself against elite college athletes during his lone season with the Bulldogs.
On betJACK Training Camp, bettors can find Holmgren as low as +205 to go first to Orlando. While the Magic may ultimately settle on Smith, there’s enough star potential with Chet to make them consider going with the lanky center.
Keegan Murray Fourth Overall (-106)
Unless we’ve been given the ultimate smokescreen, the top three picks will be Holmgren, Smith, and Paolo Banchero, in some order. So it’s fair to say the draft begins with the Sacramento Kings at fourth overall.
Following the big three, the next best prospects in this draft class are Purdue’s Jaden Ivey, Iowa’s Keegan Murray, and Kentucky’s Shaedon Sharpe. Considering Sharpe sitting for the entire 2021-22 season, it’s unlikely we’ll see Sacramento go with him. So the decision comes down to Ivey and Murray, with the Boilermaker a favorite at -167.
Ivey’s enhanced odds might have something to do with the rumors that the Kings are shopping the fourth pick. Yet if Sacramento stays at four, Keegan Murray feels like the play.
Sacramento's backcourt of De’Aaron Fox and Davion Mitchell is locked down, making Ivey a bit of a redundancy. Yet with Harrison Barnes and Trey Lyles both free agents in 2023, the 6-foot-8 Murray can be a long-term answer as a shooter on the wing and a finisher in the paint.
If the Kings trade the pick, chances are Ivey goes fourth. But if they stay put, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Murray serve as the first upset pick of the night.
Cavaliers to select Johnny Davis (+1200)
The Cleveland Cavaliers are closing out the lottery at 14th overall. Kansas’ Ochai Abbaji and Ohio State’s Malaki Branham are two of the favorites to go to Cleveland in the first round, with the two shooters listed at +350 and +400 respectively. But there’s a value play we need to consider.
Cleveland will be hard-pressed to find an available player possessing more upside than Wisconsin’s Johnny Davis. The 6-foot-5 guard was the Big Ten Player of the Year and a consensus top-10 pick for the 2022 NBA Draft throughout the bulk of the collegiate season. But a late-season ankle injury hurt his stock enough to throw his draft position into question.
Given Cleveland’s offensive inconsistency, Davis would make a ton of sense for Cleveland. While he’s not the shooter a guy like Branham, the former Badger is more polished and can likely contribute to a playoff contender sooner.
Davis’ +1200 odds could mean the sportsbooks feel he’s likely going within the first 13 picks. But there’s no question he’s worth a flier.
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