2022 NBA Draft Opening Odds: Who Is Predicted to Be the No. 1 Overall Pick?

Chet Holmgren defends Paolo Banchero.
Chet Holmgren defends Paolo Banchero. / Joe Rondone/The Commercial Appeal via

As the 2021-22 college basketball season nears March Madness, the top prospects for the 2022 NBA Draft are starting to take shape. 

Auburn freshman Jabari Smith has stood out above the rest, even ahead of Paolo Banchero and Chet Holmgren, and WynnBET has shown that in its opening odds for the No. 1 selection in this year’s NBA Draft: 

Smith can do it all as a 6-foot-10 forward, and the fact that he’s shooting 43.3 percent from beyond the arc has quickly made him the top prospect in the eyes of oddsmakers.

Odds to Be No. 1 Pick in 2022 NBA Draft

  • Jabari Smith: -150
  • Paolo Banchero: +150
  • Chet Holmgren: +400
  • Jaden Ivey: +800
  • AJ Griffin: +2500
  • Benedict Mathurin: +5000
  • Jaden Hardy: +5000
  • Jalen Duren: +5000
  • Johnny Davis: +10000
  • TyTy Washington: +10000
  • Patrick Baldwin Jr.: +20000
  • Caleb Houstan: +50000
  • Peyton Watson: +50000

Who to Bet as the No. 1 Overall Pick

The hard thing about betting on a player to get selected No. 1 overall this early is the fact that he has to fit with the team that gets the No. 1 selection. 

For example, the Detroit Pistons drafted guard Cade Cunningham with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, meaning they’d likely take a big like Smith, Banchero or Holmgren if they win the draft lottery. 

However, a team like the New York Knicks, that appears to be lottery bound, is in desperate need for guard help. Would the Knicks reach and take Purdue guard Jaden Ivey over one of the esteemed big men if they win the lottery?

That remains to be seen. There are so many moving parts. From the lottery, to potential trades, to the NBA Draft Combine that can affect these positions. Because of that, I am inclined to stay away from Smith, as betting on the favorite doesn’t bring much value and there’s a chance he could lose the spot over the next few months. 

Holmgren, who was the No. 1 player in the freshman class entering this season, presents some serious value at +400, but his slight frame has raised questions about how he will adapt at the NBA level. 

Right now, I’d advise bettors to wait and see, but there certainly are several intriguing candidates at the top of this year’s draft.