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2022 NBA Draft No. 1 Pick Odds Dramatically Swing

Both Jabari Smith and Paolo Banchero have been the betting favorite to be the No. 1 pick leading into Thursday’s 2022 NBA draft.

The 2022 NBA draft betting market is growing more volatile as time ticks down to the first pick Thursday night.

Paolo Banchero is the new favorite to go first overall on a few sportsbooks, including SI Sportsbook—for now or until the latest rumors swirl.

The latest SI Sportsbook odds for the No. 1 pick as of Thursday afternoon are: Banchero (-200), Jabari Smith (+120) and Chet Holmgren (+900).

But Banchero going first would go against ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski report Thursday morning that the order of the first three picks is “increasingly firm” with Smith to Orlando, Holmgren to Oklahoma City and Banchero to Houston.

Smith remains the favorite to go No. 1 overall at multiple sportsbooks, though his odds, once prohibitive, are swiftly dropping as the draft approaches.

The order in which those pairings occur has the potential to change due to the possibility of a trade.

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Banchero, the Duke forward, has been consistently mocked at No. 3 to the Rockets, including in Jeremy Woo’s final SI mock draft. Banchero’s odds to go higher than third have been rising all week, though late Wednesday/early Thursday was the first time he passed longtime favorite Smith to come off the board first.

Woo wrote Wednesday in his draft notebook that Smith, a forward out of Auburn, remained the favorite to go No. 1 to Orlando, but “due to the silence the Magic have successfully projected to the rest of the NBA, this can’t be treated as an absolute certainty, but it’s become a strong hunch shared by most around the league.”

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The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor alluded to Houston trading up to grab Banchero to ensure it lands its desired player in his final mock draft. In response to the shifting betting market, O’Connor wrote: “Has Orlando set its sights on Banchero? Or could the Rockets be moving up to first? If the Magic play their cards right, they might be able to land Smith at a lower pick while accumulating additional assets.”

The top three of Woo’s final mock draft did not match his final player rankings. Woo ranked Smith first, Banchero second and Holmgren third on his big board and he has Smith going first, Holmgren going second and Banchero going third in his mock draft.

Holmgren, a 7’0” center out of Gonzaga, was once thought of as the top threat to Smith’s chances of going first to Orlando, but his odds to go first or even second—where Woo has him mocked to the Thunder—have decreased.

The freshman is still tabbed as the likely No. 2 pick at SI Sportsbook, though it’s much closer today than it was earlier this week.

Holmgren (-150) is the favorite, followed by Smith (+110) and then Banchero (+900).

As for No. 3, there is no longer a clear favorite. Smith and Holmgren are co-favorites at +150 odds and Banchero, who was -200 to go No. 3 on Tuesday, is now +175.

The top of this draft has long been viewed as a battle between the aforementioned top-three prospects. A few players are in contention for the No. 4 pick, which belongs to the Kings. Purdue guard Jaden Ivey is a -188 favorite to land with Sacramento, though that number has been dropping as Iowa forward Keegan Murray’s odds have been rising. Murray has +138 odds to go fourth after he was +175 on Tuesday.

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