The NBA Draft is days away on June 23. Fates will be changed overnight — not only for teams and individual players but possibly bettors too. That's because the looming Draft is filled with betting props. But which are the best bets to make for the 2022 NBA Draft? We think we have an idea. Read on for our three favorite props of the night!
Best Bet For Number-One Overall Draft Pick
Let's begin with the top spot, which is currently owned by the Orlando Magic, whose all intents and purposes are holding tight and staying in the draft position. Top online sportsbooks are largely in agreement: it's a two-player, maybe three, the battle to be picked number one overall in the 2022 Draft. The betting options are as follows:
|Jabari Smith Jr.||-190||-190|
Orlando could plug in either betting favorite — Holmgren or Smith Jr. — into its lineup and immediately benefit. Both are big men but with different talents. Smith Jr. is a larger scoring threat on the perimeter, which is tailor-made for today's NBA offensive style. Holmgren, on the other hand, has insane defensive talents. The seven-footer can defend almost anyone, which is also well-suited for today's NBA landscape.
The argument to draft Holmgren is he would be reunited with Jalen Suggs. The two played together at Minnehaha Academy in Minneapolis prior to their respective times in Gonzaga. But Smith Jr. is the more "marketable" player of the two, which, let's be honest, is a factor in this decision. Orlando hasn't had a superstar personality since the days of Dwight Howard a decade ago, and Smith Jr. is more likely to replicate that than Holmgren is.
Then again, that's not to say Smith can't produce on the court. His scoring ability would be an immediate upgrade for an offense that ranked as one of the league's worst during the 2021-22 campaign. In particular, Smith is a deadly shooter for his size. He averaged 42 percent from 3-point range in college, while the Magic collectively hovered at 33 percent last season. Oddsmakers are right to favor Smith Jr. here because that's our bet to make as well.
Best Bet For Number-Four Overall Draft Pick
It's widely believed that some combination of Smith Jr., Holmgren, and Banchero will go one through three. But after them, that's really where the NBA Draft becomes a wildcard. Holding "all the cards" at the fourth spot is the Sacramento Kings, who have plenty of options. If they stay in the spot, these players are likely to be on the board for them to become the fourth-overall draft pick:
Most NBA brass believes the Kings are in trade mode at their current four spots. That's because Jaden Ivey is the clear-cut best player on the board (after the aforementioned three players) with a lot of interest from other NBA teams. The Purdue sophomore is widely heralded as the draft class' best guard, but at the same time, he's not a great fit for the current Sacramento roster.
Ivey's game actually resembles what Sacramento has in its current guard and franchise cornerstone, De'Aaron Fox. Both are so-so shooters that prefer to drive the ball inside and create havoc. Do the Kings really want both clogging the court with the same style? They just traded budding talent Davion Mitchell for creating that same exact problem alongside Fox.
Something tells us the Kings are staying put at four — despite rumored trade interest from the likes of the Knicks, Pistons, Pacers, and Wizards. We can't overlook the fact that, well, Sacramento is arguably the worst-run NBA franchise and has been for a decade, no matter who the head coach or general manager is. The odds are this Kings franchise makes a bad decision with this draft capital. In our opinion, that's staying put and drafting wing Keegan Murray, who does fit its roster well right now.
Best Bet Between Nikola Jovic And E.J. Liddell Being Drafted
NBA Draft bets go well beyond just what player gets selected at what number. No, there are also one-on-one matchups like this bet between Nikola Jovic and E.J. Liddell over who gets drafted first. Here's how top-notch NBA betting sites currently have this close bet pegged:
Both forwards are expected to go between the mid-to-late first round. The betting favorite, Jovic (not to be confused with MVP Nikola Jokic), is an oversized wing who does most of his damage from the perimeter. Liddell, on the other hand, is an advanced stats dream of a player that had the eighth-highest box plus/minus in NCAA last year.
Each of the two is quality player, but let's be real, Jovic has way more upside. While Liddell can be an immediate impact player on all 30 NBA teams, Jovic has the potential to become a franchise player if given time and support. Whether fair or not, the upside has a huge influence on drafting, and Jovic would clearly win on that front. We sense a team takes a risk on Jovic in the mid-first round before Liddell is drafted.
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