The Orlando Magic are on the clock for the 2022 NBA Draft, and several reports point to them using the first overall pick to select Jabari Smith Jr. out of Auburn, who’s the betting and public favorite at the online sportsbook.
The last three first overall picks were Zion Williamson in 2019 to the New Orleans Pelicans, Anthony Edwards in 2020 to the Minnesota Timberwolves, and Cade Cunningham in 2021 to the Detroit Pistons.
There’s been some uncertainty leading up to the selection, though ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Thursday morning hinted at a likely top three:
As team boards finalize today, the 1-2-3 of the NBA Draft is increasingly firm, per sources: Jabari Smith to Orlando, Chet Holmgren to Oklahoma City and Paolo Banchero to Houston.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 23, 2022
Smith Jr. brings the type of presence that can stretch the floor and provides a tremendous three-point stroke, which should lead him to some high-scoring nights at the NBA level. His shot separates him, along with his athleticism and rebounding, which currently has him as a -550 favorite to be the first player off the board. He might feel like a safe option here, but with the Magic looking to build around Cole Anthony and Jalen Suggs in their backcourt, one of these three forwards will fit in nicely with their current core.
If Smith Jr. isn’t ultimately taken by the Magic, Paolo Banchero has the second-highest odds to be the selection at +200, taking over that spot from Chet Holmgren, who now sits at +1000. It’s interesting how quickly things can change with Banchero’s line movement seeing his odds were at +900 earlier this week.
Paolo Banchero's ability to create and pass off a live dribble is what makes him special as a 6'10 playmaker. Changing gears, with a head of steam, seeing over the top, and reacting to rotating defenses, he's the type of player you can run your offense through, especially late. pic.twitter.com/cdbjcI94CK
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) June 23, 2022
Even with Smith Jr. the likely favorite, the tickets have been relatively spread out, with the former Auburn Tiger owning the highest percentage at 34.3%, followed by Banchero with 22.8%, and Holmgren with 20.5%.
The money has seen 70.7% go towards Smith Jr., Holmgren owns 15.7% of the handle and Banchero 11.9%.
With the race being narrowed down to three candidates and seeing a combined 98.3% of the money headed in their direction, Smith Jr., Banchero, and Holmgren are all the book’s biggest liabilities to be selected first overall.
Here are the updated odds as of Wednesday night:
|Player||Opening Odds||Current Odds|
|Jabari Smith Jr.||-105||-550|
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