2023 NBA Mock Draft: Predicting Top-5 Picks Using Sportsbooks

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Written By Eli Hershkovich | Last Updated
NBA Draft Odds

Bettors who took Nuggets odds to win the NBA Finals are grinning from ear to ear. That said, the prep time for gamblers between now and the 2023 NBA Draft is exceptionally brief, as rumors and smoke screens frantically appear in identical fashion until the main event on Thursday, June 22. The draft will be broadcast on ABC, ESPN, and streamed on ESPN+. Let’s delves into NBA Draft odds, converting sports betting odds into implied probability for each of the top-five picks.

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Mock Draft: Using NBA Draft Odds To Find Most Likely Picks

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1. San Antonio Spurs | Victor Wembanyama (C, France): -10000 (Odds Imply 99.0% Probability)

#GamblingTwitter isn’t shy about tossing around the phrase “lock.” Quite often, it fails to come to fruition. However, Wembanyama is an exception to the rule, representing the consensus No. 1 overall prospect for some time. The Spurs are seemingly the perfect fit for Wembanyama, considering their history of developing both Hall of Fame big men (Tim Duncan, David Robinson) and international stars (Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili).

Moreover, 2022 first-round selection Jeremy Sochan is an ideal pairing with Wembanyama. Not only does the one-time Baylor Bear exhibit a high ceiling, thanks to his athleticism, rebounding, and court vision, but he’s quietly refined his ball-handling ability as well. The Ben Simmons comparison isn’t far off.

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2. Charlotte Hornets | Brandon Miller (SF, Alabama): -225 (69.2%)

For months, NBA draft analysts pegged G League Ignite star Scoot Henderson as “the guy” behind Wembanyama. Sports betting odds didn’t have him as big of a Wemby -10000 favorite to go No. 2. But he was still the favorite, around -130, midway through the NBA playoffs.

Then last week, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony reported that “most teams” have Miller ranked second on their board, and many expect the Hornets to go that direction.

Miller opened at even money before jumping ahead of Henderson by 10-20 cents. Most recently, Givony’s intel forced bettors and bookmakers alike to react. Both Caesars (-300) and DraftKings (-250), display even more of an expectation that Miller will land in Charlotte.

I’d swerve in that direction, too, considering the insertion of Henderson could create a tussle at lead guard with LaMelo Ball. Meanwhile, the 6-foot-9 Miller is a versatile scorer who showcases his prowess via dribble handoffs and pick-and-pops.

Hornets general manager Mitch Kupchak could also trade the rights to the No. 2 overall pick. On Monday, NBA insider Shams Charania made headlines in regards to Pelicans’ interest in nabbing Henderson’s services. Would they consider dealing Zion Williamson in a package? More to come.

3. Portland Trail Blazers | Scoot Henderson (PG, G League Ignite): -175 (63.4%)

Speaking of Henderson, there’s no guarantee that Portland retains this selection, either. The Trail Blazers’ intent to compete while Damian Lillard is still among the league’s elite is well-noted. Shooting is a concern for the 6-foot-2, 195-pound guard, yet he’s a dominant force off the dribble. The likelihood of him falling past the third pick — should Miller shake hands with NBA commissioner Adam Silver before Henderson — is baked into the number as well.

Like Miller, Henderson’s price point is higher at Caesars (-200) and DraftKings (-185), as opposed to BetMGM’s figure above. But Givony passed on that Henderson had a “highly impressive workout” with Charlotte earlier in the week.

4. Houston Rockets | Amen Thompson (CG, Overtime Elite): -140 (58.3%)

The first of the Thompson twins in this draft, Amen’s uncanny shot release is at the forefront of some teams’ concerns. That isn’t the case for his size and athleticism as a ball handler, though. Meanwhile, the Rockets have their fair share of marksmen, along with 2023 first-rounder Jabari Smith, and are in need of a playmaker. Assuming Houston stands pat, Thompson certainly makes the most sense.

5. Detroit Pistons | Cam Whitmore (SF, Villanova): +105 (48.8%)

Welcome back to the rumor mill — this time in the betting sphere. After losing out on a higher selection on lottery night, the Pistons made one of the flashier moves this offseason by hiring Monty Williams, the 2022 NBA Coach of the Year with the Suns. Now, the betting market has heated up around Whitmore. He opened in the +440 range to go fifth overall.

In late May, I was told by a source that Jarace Walker (+325) was Detroit’s preferred target. But par for the course this time of year, Whitmore is nearing odds-on territory. Sometimes, patience pays off as a bettor. The Anthony Edwards comparison is warranted, as he only started to blossom in the latter part of his freshman season after tipping things off with a thumb injury.

Nevertheless, we’ve seen knee-jerk reactions in this market before (i.e. Paolo Banchero and his 2022 NBA Draft odds). The Pistons are another trade candidate among the top-five picks, too. Therefore, continue to monitor TheLines for more information on NBA Draft odds.

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