We’re mere hours away from the 2022 NBA Draft, but there really hasn’t been a clear-cut top prospect like a Zion Williamson or an Anthony Davis.
However, there has been a sudden shift in the odds for who will go first. According to SI Sportsbook, Duke forward Paolo Banchero has emerged as the new betting favorite with -200 odds to go first overall to the Orlando Magic.
Banchero and Auburn forward Jabari Smith Jr. have been in a dead heat for the top odds for weeks. Under the latest odds, Smith is +120 to go first while Gonzaga center/forward Chet Holmgren is a distant third at +900.
But Smith has been rumored to be the leading candidate for the top spot recently. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported earlier this morning that it will be Smith to Orlando, Holmgren to the Oklahoma City Thunder at 2, and Banchero to the Houston Rockets at 3.
The bettors must know something that Woj doesn’t. If not, they may be in for a world of monetary hurt.
As a freshman at Duke this past season, Paolo Banchero was one of the top players in the country. He averaged 17.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game while helping the Blue Devils reach the Final Four.
Banchero earned First-Team All-ACC, ACC Rookie of the Year and Second-Team All-American honors for his efforts.
If he goes No. 1 overall tonight as the sports books seem to think he will, he’ll be the fifth player in Duke history to be the top pick.