Paolo Banchero Goes No.1 After Wild Ride at Betting Boards

  • Paolo Banchero was picked first overall by the Orlando Magic in the 2022 NBA Draft.
  • Banchero’s odds went on a wild ride in the last two days after NBA writer Adrian Wojnarowski initially insisted that the Magic were picking Jabari Smith.
  • Banchero is the 5th player in Duke history to be picked first overall in the NBA Draft.

The Orlando Magic selected Paolo Banchero with the first overall pick of the 2022 NBA Draft on Thursday,

While not many were surprised that Banchero went first in a draft that had no clear betting favorite, the selection was accompanied by one of the most elaborate smokescreens in the history of the NBA Draft, as far as betting is concerned.

Banchero Closed at -130

Banchero closed as the -130 odds on favorite to be picked first via Caesars Sportsbook. But the final odds line didn’t reflect the chaos that happened in the previous two days before that. With NBA writer Adrian Wojnarowski insisting that Jabari Smith would go to Orlando and the bettors going with Banchero, the odds went for a wild ride before Thursday’s actual draft.

At PointsBet, Banchero was already the -230 betting favorite on Wednesday morning but after Woj’s tweet, PointsBet and many of the top NBA sportsbooks took down their NBA Draft Top Pick betting boards. The FD Sportsbook was one of the few betting sites to keep their board at that time and they had Jabari back at -10000 and Banchero down to +9000.

When the other sportsbook put their boards back up, Smith was at -476 and Banchero at +300 via PointsBet. The FD Sportsbook also adjusted its betting board, putting Smith at -420 and Banchero at +280. At the end of Wednesday, the boards stabilized with Smith at -240 and Banchero at +160.

5th Duke Player Picked No. 1 Overall in NBA Draft

Banchero is the 5th player in Duke history to be picked first overall, the most for any school in the history of the NBA Draft. The University of Kentucky has 3 while 17 other schools have two each. On Thursday, Duke had 4 players picked in the 1st round, marking the second time in school history that it has happened in the modern Draft era. More players were picked from Duke in Round 1 of the 2022 NBA Draft than there were from the Big 12 (3) or Pac 12 (3).

The 6-10 forward averaged 17.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 3.2 assists while shooting 48% from the field and 34% from deep during his one-and-done season with the Blue Devils. He helped the Blue Devils reach the Final Four in Coach K’s final season as head coach. Banchero was only the third Duke player to score at least 15 points and grab 10 rebounds in his NCAA Tournament debut, joining current NBA stars Jayson Tatum and R.J. Barrett.

His collegiate career ended in a loss, however, as the Tar Heels defeated the Blue Devil 81-77 in a closely fought semifinals game. Despite the loss, Banchero shone with a double-double of 20 points and 10 rebounds to cement himself as one of the early favorites to be picked first overall in the 2022 NBA Draft.

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Shane Acedera / Author

Shane grew up watching the Magic & Bird rivalry but ended up rooting for Detroit's Bad Boys team in the 1990s NBA. He loves to tell sports stories and has been writing about sports since high school. When Shane isn't busy jotting down his thoughts, he's just chillin' at home with his wife Rocelle and their two dogs named Horry and Fisher. He recently added a new family member, adopting a handsome retired K-9 named Ranger.

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