For all your betting needs on the top 5 in the upcoming draft on June 23
As part of a continued partnership with DraftKings Sportsbook, we’ll go over the favorites to go at each spot in the top 5 as well as what I consider to be the best bet to make.
First overall pick — Orlando Magic
As the odds indicate, it’s widely considered to be a two-man race for the top pick in this draft between Auburn’s Jabari Smith Jr. and Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren, both of whom are big men, though Smith is much more of a perimeter-oriented shotmaker than Holmgren, who profiles as a generational defender at the center spot thanks mostly to length and timing.
Holmgren would be my pick if I were running the show in Orlando, and that’s due in part to the time he spent playing in high school alongside last year’s top 5 pick by Orlando, guard Jalen Suggs, who also played one year at Gonzaga. Holmgren visited Orlando a week ahead of the draft.
However, Smith Jr. reportedly performed excellently in his workout in Orlando; his only other workout during the draft process will be with Oklahoma City, who holds the second pick. His strong workout leads many to believe he’ll be the pick, hence his billing as the favorite.
Let’s make some money and go with the value pick that’s still very realistic.
Final bet: Chet Holmgren (+125)
Second overall pick — Oklahoma City Thunder
OKC is pretty lucky in that they seem to be pretty high on the two of Smith Jr. and Holmgren, so if they stick with a two-man race themselves, they just have to pick the one left after Orlando picks.
There is, however, a rumor floating around that lends itself to a pretty awesome value pick:
— Kyle Cohen (@kylecohenNBA) June 1, 2022
Just because of the value from the Ivey selection as well as the uncertainty at the top, this could be the best call if you’re looking for a big payout.
Final bet: Jaden Ivey (+2000)
Third overall pick — Houston Rockets
Houston’s also in a pretty advantageous position picking at three. They have a few young, skilled guards already in the fold, such as 2021’s second overall pick Jalen Green, as well as Kevin Porter Jr., and former Arizona State first round pick Josh Christopher.
And they’re lucky enough to be all but guaranteed their shot at one of the three star-caliber frontcourt prospects, most likely to be Paolo Banchero, who should fit well alongside last year’s first round forward, Alperen Sengun. Hard to see them going any other direction.
Final bet: Paolo Banchero (-550)
Fourth overall pick — Sacramento Kings
Here’s where things start to get funky. Reports make it seem unlikely that the Kings will remain at 4 and make this pick themselves, but even if they do, it’s a pretty weird spot for them to be.
Assuming the top 3 is the three forwards and it goes chalk, Ivey is the clear best player available here, though his uncertain shooting outlook doesn’t look great next to mostly-non-shooter De’Aaron Fox, not to mention both of them like to get downhill and work from there, which can clog up the court.
There’s been, however, a lot of talk around league sources that the Kings should — and are likely to — forget fit and just take the overwhelming talent that Ivey is, so that’s what we’ll do here as well.
Final bet: Jaden Ivey (-400)
Fifth overall pick — Detroit Pistons
This is a spot that I really like for Sharpe because the pairing next to Cade Cunningham makes way too much sense. Detroit has a lot of optionality here, though, since Cunningham can make easy fits for most archetypes; others I like include Dyson Daniels (+800), AJ Griffin (+2000), and Johnny Davis (+4000).
Final bet: Shaedon Sharpe (+550)
DraftKings provides odds for a few more categories as well, so here are my favorite value picks for each:
- Top 10: Jalen Duren (+100), AJ Griffin (+210), and Ousmane Dieng (+450).
- Bennedict Mathurin draft position: Over 6.5 (-135), meaning taken after the 6th spot.
- Nikola Jovic or EJ Liddell drafted first: Jovic (-130).
- Team’s first pick: Cleveland Cavaliers — Malaki Branham (+400).
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