NBA front office executives, analysts and fans may remember the 2022 NBA Draft as the night that the Magic selected Paolo Banchero over Jabari Smith. The sports betting world will remember it as the war between ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and bettors.
Below is the saga of Paolo Banchero odds, including insight from a pair of the sportsbook industry’s most respected voices.
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Paolo Banchero Odds: A Sportsbook’s Misfortune
Matt Lindeman, WynnBET Sportsbook’s senior lead trader, reposted the No. 1 overall pick odds on Saturday. He first noticed a couple of larger bets on Banchero at +2500. After moving it to +2000 on Sunday, several chunks of cash came flying in.
Nevertheless, the aforementioned Wojnarowski — one of the most trusted news breakers on NBA Twitter — insisted that the Magic were honed in on Smith. But on Monday, Jeff Weltman, Orlando president of basketball operations, expressed his pleasure in how their front office remained guarded during the draft process.
The market movement followed suit, bumping Paolo Banchero odds down to the +225 range. After that alternation, the steam flexed back and forth on Banchero and Smith across sportsbooks in the next few days, as Woj’s gospel clashed with bettors’ sentiment.
Damage From Paolo Banchero Odds
Despite taking down the No. 1 pick market entirely on Wednesday night, WynnBET’s losses on Paolo Banchero odds amounted to low six figures — with the Magic eventually selecting the one-time Duke star. Lindeman considers it the worst result during his time booking draft odds in the sportsbook industry.
On the flip side, DraftKings and Caesars were both small losers on Banchero while PointsBet was among one of the winners, considering Smith represented its biggest liability.
“They (bettors) caught us with our pants down to be honest,” Lindeman said. “We offered this market during college basketball season to generate some interest on these young stars. I just wanted to throw it back up when we got closer to the draft, and it was an oversight on my part because the market just isn’t solid enough to trust any other numbers out there. You want the young guys to learn how to move odds like this since it’s one of the hardest parts of the job. They just don’t get it until you make a mistake and get crushed. I’m hoping this is a lesson that saves us from making another mistake in future drafts.”
One Sportsbook Differed From The Rest
Lindeman stated that WynnBET may look to lower limits for future draft odds — in both NFL and NBA markets — which is a potential avenue for others sportsbooks. But another adjustment should come via state-by-state gaming control boards (GCB), as sources told TheLines that FanDuel Sportsbook reportedly released a one-way market, posing as a true No. 1 pick market after altering their odds on Thursday morning because of Wojnarowski’s report.
Multiple professional bettors told TheLines, Smith’s odds (reopened at -10000) were the only odds available to bet albeit Banchero, Holmgren, etc. still being options on the board. The Banchero button was there, but you could not place the bet.
In turn, the sportsbook aimed to even out its handle from the high volume of Banchero bets. Here are the consensus Paolo Banchero odds to be the No. 1 overall pick amidst the 19 hours leading up to the NBA draft:
- 1 a.m. EST: -130
- 5 a.m. EST: -200
- 8:30 a.m. EST: Off the board
- 11:30 a.m. EST: +260
- 2 p.m. EST: +175
- 6 p.m. EST: +280
- 7:30 p.m. EST: +130
- 7:45 p.m. EST: -130
- 7:50 p.m. EST: -200
- 8 p.m. EST: -5000
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Conclusions Following Paolo Banchero Odds
Jeffrey Benson, Circa Sports’ sportsbook operations manager, noted that GCBs could enforce stricter rules on draft betting in the future. That could include taking odds down more than a day in advance, so similar situations don’t come to light.
Keep in mind, a circumstance also arose during the 2021 NFL Draft. On April 3, 2021, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the 49ers were set on drafting now-Patriots quarterback Mac Jones at No. 3 overall. Jones was as high as a -305 favorite two days before the draft as a result, yet Trey Lance closed around -200 before San Francisco selected the North Dakota State product later that evening.
Moreover, eight states with legalized sports betting don’t even allow sportsbooks to post draft markets. Their reasoning is in line with not showcasing individual awards markets, stating an eligible betting market is:
“An event at which two or more persons participate in sports or athletic events and receive compensation in excess of actual expenses for their participation in such event.”
Although that logic doesn’t correlate in regards to a potential shift with draft markets, those states — among others — could employ a Nevada-like approach (pulling down draft odds 24 hours before the event) if they legalize them in the future.