The Orlando Magic have the first overall pick, and Jabari Smith Jr. seems to be the consensus choice. However, is there value in other draft positions in the futures markets? This article examines the 2022 NBA Draft from a betting perspective in order to determine where the value lies.
As the 2022 NBA Finals unfold, the importance of drafting and developing home-grown talent will be on full display. Both teams drafted their core players, with the Golden State Warriors selecting Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Jordan Poole. The Boston Celtics did the same with Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Grant Williams, and Robert Williams.
As the NBA Draft approaches on June 23, we have a bet with potential value as teams like the Orlando Magic and the Oklahoma City Thunder look to strengthen their young core.
First Overall Pick
I am confident that the Magic will select Auburn’s Jabari Smith Jr. with the first overall pick, and this will have an impact on my betting strategy on other markets.
The Magic have cap space and I anticipate they will steal center Deandre Ayton from the Phoenix Suns on a max contract, a contract the Suns have already shown they are unwilling to match.
Ayton and the Magic would be a perfect match because Ayton wants to be the face of a franchise and to be compensated accordingly. Forecasting the possible move of Ayton to the Magic is significant because it explains why I do not believe the Magic will draft Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren.
Signing Ayton and drafting Smith would completely transform the Magic’s future. The drafting of Holmgren and then being unable to sign Ayton, who plays the same position would set them back several years.
Second Overall Pick: Jaden Ivey (+4000 via DraftKings Sportsbook)
With the Magic locked into Smith with the first overall pick, the markets have defaulted to making Holmgren the favorite for the second overall selection at -320.
I do not share this sentiment regarding Holmgren. With a +4000 available on Ivey, I will bet against it. The NBA has evolved into a guards' game, and the Thunder's front office is wise enough to recognize this with the Purdue guard available to him.
This also would not be the first time Sam Presti selected an athletic guard in the draft over the big man everyone expected him to select. Presti drafted Russell Westbrook with the 4th overall pick in 2008 instead of his UCLA teammate Kevin Love. It may not seem so drastic now, but at the time, Westbrook was a third-team All-Pac-10 selection, and Love was considered the NBA's next great big man.
The key to the wager is the price since I do not believe Ivey should be +4000 in this market. The likelihood of him being the second overall pick instead of Holmgren is much higher than the odds of +4000 imply.
Where to Bet on the 2022 NBA Draft
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