On Monday, the NBA Draft betting markets saw some major movement regarding Paolo Banchero going No. 1 overall. The former Duke standout moved from 16-1 to under 2-1 in a 24 hour period, as serious steam from big bets pushed his odds to go first on Thursday night.
By Wednesday evening, things had stabilized to have Jabari Smith, once again, as the heavy favorite (-350 at some books) to go first, but when people woke up on Thursday morning, Banchero was suddenly favored at -200, with Smith at +140 at Caesars as of 8:37 a.m. ET. Four minutes later, Adrian Wojnarowski sent this tweet pouring cold water on all that Paolo movement, insisting that Smith-Holmgren-Banchero was going to be the order of the first three picks 12 hours from then.
As team boards finalize today, the 1-2-3 of the NBA Draft is increasingly firm, per sources: Jabari Smith to Orlando, Chet Holmgren to Oklahoma City and Paolo Banchero to Houston.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 23, 2022
At that point, books pulled the odds off the board completely — with some refusing to put them back up. When others did return, Smith was as high as -10000 and Banchero back down to +900, but bettors were undeterred, once again hammering Banchero odds.
From -6000 to -1300 in one hour for Jabari Smith Jr. 🤯 pic.twitter.com/0hHF3LsdaJ
— Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) June 23, 2022
Now, Smith is -420 and Banchero is +280 at FanDuel (at 12:15 p.m. ET) and the odds have somewhat stabilized again, but it’s clear that some big bettors are holding out some belief that Banchero is going to go No. 1, which doesn’t necessarily mean to Orlando. There are some who think — and this isn’t coming from any major NBA newsbreakers but just some in the betting community — there could be a swap like the Tatum-Fultz deal between Boston and Philadelphia that sees Houston jump to No. 1 to ensure they get their guy in Paolo, with Orlando falling back with the belief that if it’s Chet or Jabari, OKC will take Holmgren and the Magic could possibly add another future pick (or another pick later in the first.
Again, there’s not a lot of smoke there, but considering just about every report indicates the Magic prefer Smith, it’s about the only explanation for the level of steam coming in on Banchero, despite the top NBA newsbreakers regularly saying things like this.
Waking up to all the No. 1 gambling movement overnight, my understanding is Paolo Banchero was scheduled to visit ORL on Monday, cancelled, but the Magic finally got on the phone with Banchero and his people Wednesday. Still, has been little belief ORL wasn’t going Jabari Smith.
— Jake Fischer (@JakeLFischer) June 23, 2022
We’ll find out who is right when the Draft begins at 8 p.m. ET, but right now it’s bettors vs. Woj.