Paolo Banchero now favored to be No. 1 pick

2022 NBA Draft prospect Paolo Banchero
Jennifer Pottheiser/NBAE via Getty Images
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Auburn forward Jabari Smith had been widely expected to be the No. 1 pick by the Magic in tonight’s NBA draft. A few stray predictions had Gonzaga big Chet Holmgren going first.

But overnight, the betting markets flipped, and Duke forward Paolo Banchero is now favored to be the top pick.

PointsBet now lists the odds at:

  • Paolo Banchero -200
  • Jabari Smith +130
  • Chet Holmgren +600

Does the betting market have intel that hasn’t yet been reported? Would Orlando really take Banchero first? Is another team trading up?

Did some bettors bet big on Banchero to swing the odds with a plan to bet even more on Smith with such favorable odds? As Banchero’s odds rose in recent days, a theory was the sportsbooks were just trying to create action. But Smith falling to +130 — meaning bettors would receive a bigger return than what they wagered — doesn’t match that theory.

It’s tough to tell what to make of this late development.

But for anyone who just assumed the draft would begin with Banchero to the Magic No. 1, Holmgren to the Thunder No. 2 and Banchero to the Rockets No. 3, there’s far more uncertainty now.