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2022 NBA Draft Betting Preview: Smith, Banchero, Holmgren all Popular with Sports Bettors

As the NBA Draft approaches, the betting public is signaling with their money that they anticipate Jabari Smith of Auburn will be the first name announced Thursday night.

Smith was +100 at the sportsbooks prior to the recent draft lottery. Once the Orlando Magic was assigned No. 1 in the order, many bettors decided Smith was a logical match for them.

His odds shifted dramatically to -590 immediately after the lottery and have settled down to -286. On the entire betting menu, Smith going first has drawn 29.1 percent of the handle, by far the most of wagers offered, and 46 percent of plays specifically on the No. 1 selection.

A $2,106 bet on Smith, largest of any at the sportsbooks, was logged when he stood at -218. The wager contributed to Smith’s clear-cut status; he has pulled in 76.7 percent of the handle for lead-off pick.

With a late surge at the windows, Paolo Banchero of Duke has leapfrogged Chet Holmgren of Gonzaga into the No. 2 spot on the odds board. Banchero’s number shrunk to +195 early Wednesday from +225 the day before. Holmgren’s moved from +205 to +420.


The handle breakdown on the pair is almost evenly split — Banchero having attracted 11.6 percent, Holmgren 11.1 percent — but the Blue Devil maintains a sizable edge in tickets sold at 29.5 percent to 17.6 percent.

Despite the swap, Banchero (-335) remains the overwhelming choice on handle for wagering to be taken No. 3 overall with 72.9 percent. Yet Holmgren (+550) has accounted for the most tickets sold at 33.4 percent.

All three players trail long shot Jaden Ivey of Purdue for action on the No. 2 overall draftee. Ivey has lured 44.1 percent of the money and 34.8 percent of tickets at lofty odds of +2000.

Keegan Murray of Iowa will reward a good number of bettors if he goes fourth or fifth. He has registered the most money and wagers (43.5 and 29.4 percent) at -134 for No. 4 and the biggest handle (51.5 percent) at +150 for the next spot.

2022 NBA Draft Betting Trends

The most popular Over-Under for draft position based on tickets sold is Under 7.5 with Shaedon Sharpe (+140) at 14.8 percent. Those bettors would cash in if Sharpe, who attended Kentucky but never suited up there, is chosen among the first seven picks.

The most popular in that category according to handle is Benedict Mathurin of Arizona. Though his odds are -235, 9.3 percent of the public sees him going Under 6.5.

After Smith at No. 1, the bet sparking the most interest based on money is Under 1.5 on Baylor players coming off the board in Round One. The odds are -400.

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