The 2022 NBA Draft will begin on Thursday night, as college basketball's best prospects wait to become a key piece of an NBA franchise.
The draft this year is full of questions about the top picks. Will the Orlando Magic Pick Auburn Sharpshooter Jabari Smith With the No. Pick 1 or go with Duke star Paolo Banchero Or Gonzaga's Chet Holmgren? Will the Sacramento Kings The No. 4 pick? Is there another prospect who could rise to the top on draft night, other than the top four?
Our experts are here to help you make the best wagering choices for this year’s draft.
Caesars Sportsbook – All odds
Jabari Smith is the odds on favorite to be chosen No. 1 overall. Is Smith a solid choice to be a part of the Orlando Magic? Or is there a better prospect such as Chet Holmgren, Paolo Banchero or both?
Doug Kezirian, ESPN Betting analyst: This is a difficult pass for me. Although I would personally draft Smith, there's enough buzz around Holmgren or Banchero. I avoid placing juice on draft betting because it is so wild. Smith should be the favorite, but you don't have to force him into this bet. Banchero's odds of winning went from 14-1 up to +175 within days. The value has gone. There's just too much noise.
Eric Moody is an ESPN Betting Analyst I recommend Banchero at +75 instead of Smith. According to NBA Draft analysts, he's the best player. In 39 Duke games, Banchero scored 17.2 PPG, 7.8 RPPG, and 3.0 APG. He was the true freshman's top scorer, ranking sixth in rebounding and fifth in field goal percentage. The Magic ranked 29th in PPG (104.8) last season, and could use a scoring machine. Banchero is a unique combination of size and agility that can score at any level.
Andre Snellings, ESPN Senior NBA Writer: Smith to the Magic is widely believed to be so popular that anyone could be surprised if they pick Smith. However, ESPN's NBA Draft ProjectionsHolmgren, Banchero and Smith are tied for third in the draft as the best prospects. Smith is third. This will be an issue on draft night, during their rookie seasons, and probably throughout their careers. Although these three players will be compared, Smith seems to be the most secure to draft to the Magic.
What is the best play in this NBA Draft's draft?
Erin Dolan, ESPN Betting Analyst: Keegan Murray Over 5.5 (+210). Despite arguments over the order, Smith, Holmgren and Banchero are now considered to be the top three picks. The Sacramento Kings are now No. 4 Detroit Pistons No. 5. According to reports, the Kings have thought about trading their pick. I believe Murray will be over 5.5. He isn't the type of athlete who would be in the top five. Next month, he will be 22 years of age. The top five NBA Draft picks the past two years were all freshman. Second, he scored most his points at Iowa in lower post and is 6'8″ tall so he can't score there against the best defensive players in NBA. His sophomore season saw him average 24 PPG and nine rebounds per game. It is not surprising that he would be drafted after the No. 5 pick.
Tyler Fulghum is an ESPN Betting Analyst E.J. Liddell Over 21.5 Liddell was a tremendous player for Ohio State. However, at nearly 22 years old, he's one the more senior prospects in this class. He isn't an athlete with elite athleticism or length. He will be targeted by a team near the end or the top of the second round.
Kezirian: Bennedict Mathurin under 6.5. This prop is likely to close at 5.5. Mathurin has serious hype to win fifth. I've heard from two podcasts that Mathurin won't be dropping below sixth. Over the last week, his odds of being the fifth pick have dropped from 20-1 to +240. Only his prop of 6.5 saw the juice shift. This is a powerful play.
Moody: Jalen Duren under 10.5. Duren is a post-centric prospect and one of the newest in this class. As a Memphis freshman, Duren had an impressive 12.0 PPG average and 8.1 RPG. Duren has recently been working out for the Portland Trail Blazers, who holds the No. 7 pick, but I'd love to see him go at the San Antonio Spurs. They don’t have immediate needs for a center but the quality of big men is available as well as uncertainty surrounding Jakob PoeltlThey could draft one this year based on's contract. If he can improve his fundamentals, Duren could become a major force in the next few years. San Antonio would be an ideal place to land in a program that nurtures and supports players. Duren has a great chance of being drafted before the deadline.
Snellings: Shaedon Sharpe under 7.5 (+160). Sharpe was a star athlete who had outstanding private workouts which helped him climb up the draft boards. Sharpe was the No. He was the No.1 player in his high-school class. He is one the most promising young prospects in the draft, with incredible physical tools, explosiveness, shooting ability and great shooting skills.
What do you look for in a NBA Draft bet? Is there a better prospect than Smith, Chet and Paolo?
Kezirian: It is much easier to predict the top round of a draft than the bottom. While there may be value with draft position over/unders, these odds have all changed drastically by now. It is best to tackle it early, then continue to learn information.
Moody: Many draft analysts do not recommend that you draft for fit. Because you don't know what your roster will look like in the future, it is best to draft the best prospects available. Although this applies to the top of draft, it is also true that finding the perfect match for your team in mid-to late first round can increase a team’s chance of success. Dyson Daniels, who signed last summer with G League Elite, intrigues. The 19-year old guard provides immediate and near-term value in both defense and offense. Atlanta Hawks He could find the perfect spot. The Hawks aren't known for scoring a lot of points. Trae Young Young is not on the court. Atlanta scored 119.3 per 100 possessions with Young last season, compared to the 109.4 points without Young. Daniels could be the answer.
Snellings: I look for intelligent momentum, fit, and a mixture of upside/risk/reward vs. each individual team's circumstances. Although I believe teams should draft talent towards the top, if talent is similar, then upside and risk/reward factors into play. A team like the Rockets would, for instance, be expected to go for the upside as that's their team's strength. It wouldn't make sense for them not to choose the best NBA-ready player over upside. They aren't ready yet to win. When it comes to “informed momentum”, I believe that the preponderance in reporting around the expectations for who a team likes is a key factor in determining where they are.
Sharpe is the prospect who catches my attention the most, because he has the greatest ceiling. His success in workouts shows that his upside can be realized.
Fulghum: Sharpe, who stands 6'5″ and has a height of 7 feet, is a freak athlete with massive hands and a 49 inch vertical leap. Sharpe was widely thought to be the top prospect in the 2023 class, before being reclassified into the 2022 category. While he didn’t play in any Kentucky games last season, NBA GMs as well as scouts should not hold Sharpe responsible. His physical traits and age are similar to his older brother, but he's only 19. Ja Morant. Sharpe is the fifth-shortest likely to be the No. Sharpe is the fifth-shortest possible pick to be No. 1. The market shows what teams think of his potential. After dealing CJ McCollum The Trail Blazers in New Orleans would be wise to not let Sharpe pass them at No. 7.
Are you expecting any surprises during this draft? Prospects who might be drafted higher than they projected on Caesars?
Kezirian: There will always be unexpected outcomes. It is hard to say where, but I think we might see one with the second overall selection. Sam Presti isn’t afraid of taking risks, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that he drafts. Jaden Ivey With the No. 2 pick. Although he would prefer to trade down and draft Ivey, sometimes there are no trades up. Presti once reached for Russell WestbrookIvey had a draft profile very similar to Ivey. Purdue guards are 20-1 to place second.
Moody: Ousmane dieng is the name that comes to my mind immediately. The 19-year old just completed his first season playing for the NBL's New Zealand Breakers. Dieng, who is 6'10, 200 lbs and has a wingspan over 7 feet, offers great upside to the NBA as a forward, despite his subpar averages. On Thursday, he could be the top-12 pick.