While bettors making NBA picks remain keyed in on the Finals, the NBA Draft betting odds are worth a look these days as well. The top-5 selections this season belong to Orlando, Oklahoma City, Houston, Sacramento, and Detroit. These moribund clubs missed the playoffs and will pin their hopes on one of these potentially franchise-altering prospects.
Six teams hold multiple first round picks entering next week’s proceedings. San Antonio and Houston hold three first-rounders, something Oklahoma City did as well until a recent trade with the Denver Nuggets in which they flipped pick No. 30 for JaMychal Green. Following Wednesday’s trade of Christian Wood, five teams (Brooklyn, Dallas, LA Lakers, Phoenix, and Utah) don’t hold any picks at all, while another three (Toronto, LA Clippers, and Boston) don’t have a first.
Several teams are reportedly open to trading picks, including multiple teams holding lottery selections. Teams could package current NBA players to help facilitate draft day moves. Those trades, in turn, will affect NBA futures.
This year’s NBA Draft is scheduled to take place on June 23 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Here’s a look at the 2022 NBA Draft betting odds for the top-5 picks.
The Magic finished at the bottom of the Eastern Conference last season, going 22-60. That futility translated into solid odds for the 2022 NBA Draft lottery last month, which they won for the fourth time in franchise history. This opens the door for Orlando the land the top prospect in the draft, Auburn’s Jabari Smith.
The 19-year-old hybrid forward stands 6-foot-10 and strokes from long-range (42 percent), something the Magic desperately need considering they were one of the worst shooting teams in the NBA last season. Smith remains the consensus favorite to be the No. 1 overall selection, holding the best betting odds to be the top pick at nearly every sportsbook, though his odds continue to fade.
The Thunder finished 24-58, but have a budding backcourt star in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and a young playmaking wing in Josh Giddey. What Oklahoma City’s missing is an interior presence, which is evident considering the fact that the Thunder used more than a half-dozen players at center last season.
The 20-year-old from Minneapolis should feel at home in Oklahoma City. The concern with Holmgren remains his slight build, but at 7-feet tall with a 7-foot-6 wingspan, he projects as a difference maker on the defensive end. His length will impact the game from Day 1.
The Rockets finished with the NBA’s worst record last season (20-62), and the losses continued in the lottery as Houston slipped to the No. 3 overall selection for the 2022 NBA Draft. It’s fortunate for the Rockets they didn’t fall any further, considering this class is largely considered a three-player draft.
The 6-foot-10 Banchero’s elite skills and quickness should make him a tough cover for most bigs, and his length and strength will bother small players switching to him. Houston seems to have its backcourt of the future in place with Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr., so adding the player most scouts deem the most pro-ready prospect in the draft in the frontcourt could only accelerate their rebuilding efforts.
The Kings saw their postseason drought extended to an NBA-record 16th year in a row when they finished 30-52, four games from the 10-seed. But another dismal effort enjoyed a reward when Sacramento jumped up three spots, from No. 7, more than any other team this time around.
This pick stands as a pivot point in the 2022 NBA Draft, as the Kings could trade the selection or reach for a lower-rated talent considering their current roster makeup. A trade here likely signals a team moving up to select Purdue guard Jaden Ivey, who’s the betting favorite to go No. 4 at most sportsbooks. If the Kings keep the pick, selecting Murray might be the way to go considering he’d fill the hole at power forward next to Domantas Sabonis.
Murray’s pick slot odds for Under 5.5 current stand at -170 at Caesars.
The Pistons finished with the third-worst record (23-59) in the NBA last season, but slipped to the fifth overall selection following the draft lottery. Detroit could go in a number of different directions considering the state of their rebuild. But following the selection of Cade Cunningham No. 1 overall last season, the Pistons could look to complement him with another dynamic playmaking partner.
The best fit in that regard would be Purdue’s Ivey, especially considering the lack of development from Killian Hayes in the backcourt. Ivey’s abilities as a slasher and scorer would alleviate some of the offensive pressure from Cunningham. But the Pistons might need to trade Jerami Grant to Sacramento to ensure the selection of Ivey.
Ivey’s pick slot odds for Under 4.5 current stand at -400 at PointsBet.
The Pacers finished the season 25-57 and lost their last 10 games in a row. As a result, they team is making their highest draft selection since taking Chuck Person No. 4 overall in 1986. Although Indiana has several needs, selecting Sharpe, who did not play at Kentucky, provides the Pacers with another wing with a sky-high offensive ceiling.
Rumors indicate Indiana’s looking to deal Myles Turner, which makes Memphis center Jalen Duren or Duke big-man Mark Williams a possibility. But either of those players would be a reach at No. 6 overall.
The Blazers missed the playoffs amid a rash of injuries last season. Portland dealt C.J. McCollum and could very well deal this pick as well. The Blazers and Atlanta have reportedly had talks about this pick, and Daniels seems like the Hawks’ potential target.
Even if Portland keeps the pick, Daniels has the potential to be a lockdown defender and improved throughout the G League season as a playmaker and spot-up shooter.
The No. 8 overall selection conveyed to the Pelicans as part of the Anthony Davis deal in 2019. This helps New Orleans accelerate their rebuild despite having made the playoffs last season. As such, the Pelicans can go in a number of directions.
New Orleans could use help on the wing, so adding Mathurin, one of the best three-point shooters in this draft class, would be another step forward. He won’t be an on-ball creator early in his career but should play well off McCollum and Brandon Ingram.
The Spurs made the play-in tournament after a 34-48 season and have a developing All-Star in Dejounte Murray. San Antonio has the flexibility of three first-round picks, so they could go in a few different directions here.
Still just 18-years-old, Duren is one of the youngest prospects in the draft but could replace Jakob Poeltl, should the big man leave following the final year of his deal. His physical build, at 6-10 with a 7-5 wingspan, makes him a ready-made rim-runner from day one.
The Wizards finished 35-47 and missed the playoffs, but could be willing to move off this pick in a win-now move to help Bradley Beal. Should Washington stick at No. 10 overall, targeting a guard seems most likely, and Johnny Davis is the best on the board.
An All-American at Wisconsin, Davis provides toughness, scoring punch, and point-of-attack defense that would complement Beal well. He has plenty of upside as a 20-year-old.
Davis sports -250 odds at DraftKings to be a top-10 selection, and favors Davis (-160) to go ahead of AJ Griffin (+130).
The Knicks missed the playoffs once again after finishing the season 37-45. New York enters the offseason with needs at point guard, but seem ready to pursue Jalen Brunson in free agency. The Knicks could use a center as well, and could get in the mix with trades in a win-now move.
Drafting Griffin would land the Knicks arguably the best shooter in the class, though there seems to be a wide variance in Griffin’s actual draft position. DraftKings favors Griffin (+500) to be the first pick for the Knicks in the 2022 NBA Draft.
The Thunder remain in full rebuild mode, though they consolidated future assets in the deal to acquire JaMychal Green this week. After taking one of the top prospects at the top of the draft, OKC is rumored to be pursuing a trade-up to land one of the class’s top guards, Jaden Ivey or, more likely, Shaedon Sharpe.
Should the Thunder stay at No. 12 overall, taking Dieng provides OKC with a high-upside wing, who at 6-foot-9, has intriguing defensive potential.
The Hornets hold two mid-first round picks, and the general consensus is that the team hopes to trade at least one of those selections. Charlotte wants to make a run to the playoffs under their new head coach, Kenny Atkinson, so adding two rookies to the rotation remains unlikely.
Baylor’s Sochan makes sense for the Hornets in this range. He’s one of this class’s best defensive prospects, providing switch-ability and versatility. DraftKings favors Sochan (-150) to be drafted ahead of Duke center Mark Williams (+120), who would also fill a need for Charlotte.
The Cavaliers were one of the NBA’s best stories last season with their young core making a push for the playoffs. Cleveland disappointed in the play-in tournament, in part, because of defensive deficiencies on the perimeter. Adding a 3-and-D wing to help their stellar interior defenders is the way to go.
Kansas’ Agbaji is the top senior in the class and could play right away considering his 6-foot-10 wingspan and solid shooting stroke. DraftKings lists Agbaji as the betting favorite (+350) to be the first pick by the Cavaliers during the 2022 NBA Draft.
If the Hornets hold on to both of their first-round picks, which seems unlikely at this point, but selecting Duke’s Williams makes sense. Williams would immediately provide a much-needed lob threat on offense and his 7-foot-7 wingspan should make him an impactful rim protector.
The Hawks stand among the many teams looking to make a move in this draft. If Atlanta can’t trade up for one of the wing defenders, they could look to fill a need at backup point guard with Kentucky’s Washington, who could work as a secondary shot creator.
The Rockets rebuild needs to continue with the best talent available to them, and Branham’s combination of size and scoring instincts provide value here. Also, he just turned 19, so there’s plenty of upside here.
The Bulls are reportedly open to trading this pick in what’s shaping up to be a pivotal offseason for Chicago. If they keep this selection, Eason stands as a good fit for a squad that could use some additional size and athleticism in the front court. DraftKings favors Eason (+600) as Chicago’s first pick during the 2022 NBA Draft.
With the Timberwolves reportedly shopping D’Angelo Russell, and Patrick Beverley joking about being traded to the Miami Heat, Minnesota may opt to fill the point guard position in the draft. Wesley can immediately pressure opposing defenses and has plenty of size and upside. DraftKings favors Wesley (-250) to go before Dalen Terry (+200), another guard prospect.
Being one of two teams with three first-round picks affords the Spurs with the flexibility to select based on upside. Jovic is a 6-foot-11 Serbian forward comfortable playing out on the perimeter, and the Spurs have never shied away from international talent. DraftKings favors Jovic (-150) to be selected before E.J. Liddell (+120) during the 2022 NBA Draft.
The Nuggets traded veteran forward JaMychal Green earlier this week, so finding his replacement in the draft makes sense. Liddell comes with a near 7-foot wingspan and plenty of defensive versatility, which will help Denver should they choose to make this pick instead of packaging it as part of another move.
The Grizzlies remain one of the deepest teams in the league, so they can go in a number of different directions with this pick. Although they may need a backup point guard if Tyus Jones leaves in free agency, picking Jalen Williams provides a versatile bench piece with a 7-foot-2 wingspan and experience at point guard at Santa Clara.
Following a disappointing end to the season, Philadelphia is reportedly gauging trade interest on a number of veterans on their roster and this draft pick could be used as a sweetener in a potential deal. If they keep the pick, the 19-year-old Hardy provides a high-upside scorer down the line.
The Bucks also finished their season in the second round, unable to defend their NBA title beyond that due, in part, to injuries. Adding Kessler provides Milwaukee with an elite rim protector and an eventual replacement for Brook Lopez.
Houston’s third pick can go in a number of different directions, so picking a high-upside prospect with defensive versatility makes a lot of sense at this point in their rebuild. PointsBet lists Beauchamp’s odds at -125 to go Under 26.5.
The Heat regularly flip first round picks for established veteran talent, so there’s no telling if they’ll actually keep this pick. UniBet favors (-167) Over 1.5 players from Baylor being selected in the first round.
The Grizzlies may package this pick in a trade for veteran help, but if they take Braun, they’re getting a college vet ready for spot minutes in the NBA. Braun has good defensive length and can shoot. UniBet lists the odds for Over 1.5 Kansas players selected in the first round at -112.
Denver could go a number of ways with this pick after acquiring it from Oklahoma City. McGowens provides defensive-minded wing to help on the perimeter. Taking him instead of Duke’s Wendell Moore hits UniBet’s Under 4.5 Duke players picked in the first round, which has -560 odds.