NBA Draft Betting: Massive Odds Movement Around No. 2 Overall Pick
The NBA Draft takes place on Thursday. Per usual, NBA Draft odds have been on the move in the days leading up to the big night. The primary movement in NBA Draft betting follows the biggest storyline in the draft. With potential superstar Victor Wembanyama all but certain to go No. 1 overall to the Spurs, the draft essentially starts at No. 2 with Charlotte. There, Scoot Henderson was long a strong favorite. However, a mediocre season for the G-League Ignite, combined with a monster campaign from Alabama star Brandon Miller, has radically changed things.
No. 2 pick odds have swung wildly in the past week or so, but have settled for the moment with Miller a big favorite over Henderson. (June 22 edit: Henderson has again become a large favorite). Additional movement surrounds the No. 4 pick, where a longshot has crept up with shortening odds. Click any of the odds below to make a wager at the best sports betting sites.
Scoot Henderson Odds Shift To Big Favorite At No. 2
So high was Henderson’s stock entering the season that he was considered to have an outside shot of unseating Wembanyama at No. 1 overall. Another incredible Wembanyama season — including a dominating two-game run stateside against Henderson’s own G-League Ignite — scuttled that in a hurry.
Still, the young point guard was considered a lovely consolation prize at No. 2 and a potential future star.
After Miller’s campaign leading Alabama to a No. 1 NCAA tournament seed, though, things changed. The two players were considered in almost a dead heat.
Especially so considering Miller’s cleaner fit to Charlotte. The team badly needs quality wings to pair with LaMelo Ball and recently drafted Duke C Mark Williams. Henderson likely needs the ball in his hands to shine, but Ball has already proven himself a good NBA lead ball handler.
Doing their due diligence, the Hornets brought both players in for a workout. NBA insiders reported that Henderson clearly outshined Miller there. The NBA Draft betting market responded in a hurry, shifting Henderson to around a -250 favorite.
However, the team conducted a second round of workouts with the two hopefuls. This time around, perhaps feeling the heat, Miller reasserted himself with a stronger showing. Odds swung once again in kind. Miller rose to around -500 in consensus markets.
Both ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman released final (or close) mocks on Wednesday. Both have Miller going No. 2.
“All indications are that the Hornets are prepared to go with Miller here,” Givony wrote ($).
Final (?) Odds Shift Points To Henderson
Early Thursday morning, Miller remained the favorite, with Givony updating his mock around 9:20 ET and keeping Miller second.
However, reports in the following couple of hours began hitting the wire that Henderson would be Charlotte’s selection. Specifically, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that Henderson was “gaining serious momentum.” Wasserman followed with a tweet indicating most NBA decision-makers preferred Henderson.
That was enough to slam the markets, which eventually came down at many shops. They reopened with the numbers you can see above, favoring the young point guard once more.
Ausar Thompson Gaining Steam To Go Top 5
In an interview with TheLines a few weeks ago, ESPN Insider Bobby Marks made a rather surprising remark regarding the Thompson twins, Amen and Ausar. The Overtime Elite prospects, for context, have long been considered potential top-five picks. But, experts have consistently ranked Amen above his brother.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if you see Ausar go before Amen,” he said, mentioning the possibility of Ausar going as high as No. 4 (Houston). “I would be surprised, if at pick eight, one of them were still on the board.”
The market did not seem to agree. Where Amen was the consensus favorite to go No. 4, Ausar’s over/under was listed at 5.5 with heavy juice on the over. Bettors could find that over around -325 early in draft week.
It seems the market has come around to Marks’ view. Early Wednesday, money began pouring in on Ausar to have a favorable draft result. His odds have shortened into the reasonable range for No. 4. At some shops, he’s essentially co-favored to go No. 5 (Detroit). His over/under now sits at 5.5 (-160 over/+130 under) at Caesars Sportsbook.
June 22 update: These numbers have flipped as of around noon, to 5.5 (+130 over/-160 under). Additionally, the once unthinkable prospect of Miller slipping No. 4 now looks like a legitimate, if long, possibility.
Beware Blindly Following NBA Draft Betting Steam
While it can be alluring to tail draft betting steam in any sport — where lines moves can sometimes reflect privileged information — keep in mind that this isn’t always the case. A prime example took place at this very time last year.
In the days leading up to the draft, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that it was all but certain Jabari Smith Jr. would go No. 1 to Orlando. The market believed the report, with TheLines’ own Eli Hershkovich reporting Smith had odds of -10000.
Of course, massive late steam supported Paolo Banchero’s candidacy at No. 1, and the Magic indeed wound up taking the Duke product.
So while things look seemingly certain now, particularly regarding Brandon Miller at No. 2, that could still prove off base when draft night ultimately plays out.
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