Jared Smith’s NBA Draft analysis: Wild changes in odds for the first pick, best bets from our prop expert

Auburn forward Jabari Smith (10) goes to the basket pas South Carolina forward Keyshawn Bryant (24) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, March 5, 2022, in Auburn, Ala.
Photo of Jared Smith

Jared Smith

NBA · 6 days ago

Show Bio

Jared Smith, a versatile host and analyst with over 10 years of experience in sports media and two decades as a sports bettor, has joined the Pickswise team as a lead betting analyst. Smith will serve as a full-time content creator, producing informative and engaging content every day across multiple platforms.

It’s time to draft again. Whether it be NFL or NBA, betting on the draft offers a unique opportunity to put yourself on a level playing field with the sportsbooks if you know where to look for information and are quick to act on it. I initially broached this topic in April’s NFL Draft column, but I’ll reiterate now for the NBA audience.

Betting the draft is unique because there are no power ratings to assist sportsbooks in setting lines. The only “data” oddsmakers have at their disposal are the same press conferences and combine results the general public also has access to. That means knowledge is power and the line moves will be hyper-reactive to the news cycle.

“Besides moving numbers off of bets we take, we are also refreshing Twitter and other betting apps as well to see where the market is going,” said Westgate senior risk supervisor Casey Degnon.

This also means booking the draft is mostly a losing proposition for sportsbooks, as the markets tend to be very one-sided and it’s nearly impossible to stay ahead of the news cycle. Oddsmakers have protected themselves recently by lowering the limits allowed on draft bets and not opening certain markets until more information becomes available closer to draft night. However, if the last 2 NFL Drafts have taught us anything, it’s that enough money can still be made to make it worth your while.

How to read the tea leaves

An example of this hyper-reactivity to NBA Draft news took place on June 20, when Orlando Magic president Jeff Weltman made some confusing public remarks about the team’s interest in Paolo Banchero for the first overall pick. Instead of admitting to reporters they brought Banchero in for a workout, Weltman dodged the question entirely and instead gave a cryptic response about how his organization prefers to be “buttoned up” when it comes to visits and workouts.

That comment raised red flags for bettors who monitor the NBA Draft market closely because it directly contradicted how the team handled Jabari Smith, whose workout in Orlando on June 9 was made very public.

So there are three ways to digest this. First, and the most likely scenario, Weltman is declining to comment on Banchero’s workout because the workout never happened. At this point it’s safe to assume the Magic know who they are taking first overall, and if Banchero found out the team was already sold on Smith, either one or both parties involved could have decided not to waste anyone’s time with an unnecessary workout.

Secondly, Weltman is being intentionally vague about Banchero with the hope of stirring up trade interest for the first overall pick because he knows another team behind him is interested in the Duke prospect.

Thirdly, and admittedly this is the most far-fetched scenario, Weltman intends to draft Banchero first overall and is trying to mask his interest to the public. If this is indeed his intent, Weltman has a terrible poker face.

Regardless of what option ends up being the correct end result, the market responded very quickly after Weltman’s comments. Overnight, Banchero’s odds to be drafted first overall were slashed from +950 to +400 at FanDuel. He saw a similar drop at the Westgate that consisted of both sharp and public money.

“It was some sharp money at first that started the freefall of his odds for us at 16/1 but as we started to go lower there was some public money mixed in as well,” added Degnon. 

Wild odds swings lead to NBA Draft markets being taken down

This market got flipped on its head on Wednesday night, with Banchero briefly taking over the role of favorite to be taken first overall. At 8:00am ET on Thursday, he was -210 odds to be taken first at FanDuel Sportsbook, with Smith out to +125.

But at 8:41 am ET, Woj dropped a bomb that tilted the market back in favor of Smith in a big way, sending out this tweet about the top 3 picks being pretty much set in stone.

This prompted several sportsbooks to take down the market for the first 3 overall picks entirely. Meanwhile, FanDuel reopened with Smith at -10000 odds to be taken first overall, which implies a 99% chance of that event occurring.

Who will be the #1 pick?

With all the shenanigans that have taken place in the hours leading up to the draft, it’s hard to take anything anyone says at face value, and further shows how hyper-reactive these markets can be.

Woj is the most well-sourced reporter in the NBA, so my head says to trust him, which means it will end up being Smith taken first overall. It’s also reasonable to assume at this point the overnight movement towards Banchero was either a headfake or someone with big exposure already on Smith hedging their bet.

“I personally think it will be Jabari Smith from Auburn,” added Degnon. “That would also be our best result out of the 3 guys that have been murmured to go number one.”

How am I betting the draft?

All of the bets I’ve made for the draft have come from one source, Bobby Stanley, who appeared on “Let’s Bet It” on Thursday morning to explain the reasoning behind his picks.

Here is how I allocated Bobby’s bets in my portfolio:

Ousmane Dieng under 11.5 draft position -135 (1u at Draftkings) *Play of the Day*
Ousmane Dieng top 10 pick +110 (0.5u at Draftkings)
Jalen Duren over 10.5 draft position -136 (0.5u at Draftkings)
TyTy Washington under 19.5 draft position -110 (0.5u at Draftkings)
Tari Eason under 17.5 draft position +110 (0.5u at Caesars)

Pickswise is the home of free NBA picks and predictions. Make sure to check out our coverage throughout the offseason in advance of 2022-23.

Virginia Bonuses

See All
FanDuel Sportsbook

$200

Bet $5, Win $200 In Free Bets!

Sign up for a new account with FanDuel Sportsbook and make your first deposit

Bet $5 on any sport, any market

Win $200 in free bets regardless if your bet wins or loses

Must be 21 years or over to participate. Reward paid in site credit. Offer valid for new players only. Full terms available at FanDuel Sportsbook.

PointsBet

$500

Get 5x $100 Risk-Free Bets!

Sign up for a new PointsBet account

Make a bet of up to $100 and receive a refund if you lose

Get this offer once a day for the first 5 days you sign up

Must be 21+. Full terms are available at PointsBet.

DraftKings

$200

Bet $5 on Any MLB Game, Get $200 if Your Team Wins!

Sign up for a new account with DraftKings Sportsbook and make your first deposit

Bet $5 on any MLB team to win their next game

Win $200 in free bets + any cash winnings from your original wager

Offer valid for new players only. Must be 21 years or older to play. Reward paid in site credit. Full terms available at DraftKings Sportsbook.

Monkey Knife Fight

$100

Claim Instant Deposit Match up to $100 + Free $5 game

Register for a Monkey Knife Fight account & deposit using promo code PICKSWISE100

Monkey Knife Fight will match your first deposit up to $100

Deposit $100 and you'll get $100 bonus + a free $5 game

18+. Terms and conditions apply. You must live in one of the states where real money DFS is legal.

PointsBet

$2,000

Get $2,000 in Risk-Free Bets!

Register for a new PointsBet account & deposit

Receive a free bet refund up to $500 if your first fixed odds bet loses

& a free bet refund up to $1,500 if your first two PointsBetting Wager loses

Must be 21+. Full terms are available at PointsBet.

Caesars Sportsbook

$1,500

Get up to $1,500 Risk-Free First Bet!

Sign up for a new Caesars Sportsbook account

Make your first deposit of $50+

If your first bet is not a winner, get it all back as a free bet (up to $1,100) if you lose!

21+. Terms and conditions apply.

BetRivers

$250

Get a $250 Deposit Bonus!

Sign up for a new BetRivers account using promo code PICKSWISE

Make a deposit & get it doubled up to $250 total

To get a $100 bonus, deposit $100

Must be 21+. Play in IA Only. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-BETS OFF

Unibet

$500

Get a $500 Risk-Free Bet!

Register for a new Unibet account & make a deposit

Place your first bet up to $500 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $500

New players only. Terms & conditions apply. 21+. VA only.

BetMGM

$1,000

Get a $1,000 Risk Free Bet!

Register for a new BetMGM & deposit

Place your first bet up to $1,000 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $1,000

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

FanDuel Sportsbook

$1,000

Get a $1,000 Risk Free Bet!

Register for a new FanDuel Sportsbook account & deposit

Place your first bet up to $1,000 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $1,000

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

DraftKings

$1,000

Get a $1,000 Deposit Bonus!

Register for a new DraftKings Sportsbook account & deposit

DraftKings will match 20% of your deposit up to $1,000 total

To get a $100 bonus, deposit $500

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

Monkey Knife Fight

$100

Claim 100% Instant Deposit Match up to $100!

Register for a Monkey Knife Fight account & deposit using promo code PICKSWISE100

Monkey Knife Fight will match your first deposit up to $100

Deposit $100 and you'll get $100 bonus + a free $5 game

18+. Terms and conditions apply. You must live in one of the states where real money DFS is legal.

Yahoo DFS

$25

Get $25 in Site Credit With Yahoo DFS When You Deposit $5!

Register for a new account with Yahoo DFS and deposit $5+

Enter a $5 DFS contest

Upon entry, you will receive a bonus $25 in credit into your account!

21+ and new players only. Full terms available from Yahoo DFS.

PointsBet

$100

Bet $100 Risk-Free on every NBA Finals Game

Sign up for a new PointsBet account

Make a bet of up to $100 and receive a refund if you lose

Each NBA Finals game, your first Fixed Odds bet on the game will be Risk-Free up to $100

Must be 21+. Full terms are available at PointsBet.

TVG

$300

Get a $300 Risk-Free Bet with TVG Racebook!

Register for a new TVG account and make a deposit

Place your first single horse win-type bet up to $300

If your horse doesn't win you'll get a refund up to $300

21+. T&C's apply. Please gamble responsibly.

TwinSpires

$200

Get a $200 Sign-Up Bonus with Twinspires Racebook!

Open your TwinSpires.com account using offer code BET200

$200 bonus cash will be credited in increments of $100 for every $400 wagered

To earn the full $200 bonus players must wager $800 within 30 days

21+. Terms and conditions apply.