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basketball | Wednesday, June 22, 2022 12:29 PM (Revised at: Sunday, June 26, 2022 1:47 PM)

NBA Draft Best Bets: Thursday, June 23rd

NBA Draft Best Bets: Thursday, June 23rd
Contributor: ZUMA Press Inc / Alamy Stock Photo

It is finally time! The 2022 NBA draft takes place this Thursday starting at 01:00 (UK time) at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Coming right after the NBA Finals where the Golden State Warriors won the title, the NBA draft is one of the most important events of the year, as college prospects from all over the country and the world hope to hear their name called out by NBA commissioner Adam Silver. I’ve got my final NBA Best Bets article of the season ready and waiting and the betting for the draft tonight and odds are more than tempting.  Have a look and tell me what you think. Let’s go!

NBA Draft Best Bets: Thursday, June 23rd

  • Orlando Magic No 1 Pick Best Bet
  • Houston Rockets No 3 Pick best Bet

Odds as at 2 pm June 23rd 2022. Odds may now differ.


Orlando Magic No. 1 Pick Best Bet

The Orlando Magic finished the regular 2021/22 season dead last in the eastern conference with just 22 wins all season. Although their defence was decent, ranking 17th in the NBA in defensive rating and 14th in opponent field goal percentage, their offence was horrible. The Orlando Magic ranked dead last in the league in offensive rating, 29th in points per game, 28th in 3-point percentage and 25th in turnovers. The Magic are in full rebuild mode and they’ve been blessed with the number 1 overall pick in the 2022 NBA draft, so let’s talk about what they should be looking for in a player this year.

I have the Magic to pick Jabari Smith at 2.80 odds. Yes, I know that Paolo Banchero is favoured by the bookmakers to go first at 1.55 odds, but Smith is exactly what the Magic need at this point. They already have enough playmakers, and his scoring is something this team is desperate to get. Smith shot 41% from beyond the arc in college, and his stroke looks smooth and consistent. Smith is only 18 years old and has a lot of potential to grow, but what the Magic will be looking for is his offensive game which is already incredible for a rookie. On the other side of the floor, Smith has the ability to be physical with bigs, but also keep up with smaller guards on the perimeter, which is an important ability in today’s NBA.

  • Selection: Magic to Pick Jabari Smith
  • Best Odds: 2.50 (Bet365)
  • Stakes: 3/10

Houston Rockets No. 3 Pick Best Bet

Much like the Orlando Magic, the Houston Rockets had a dismal season this year, finishing at the bottom of the western conference with just 20 wins all year. No team had fewer wins than the Rockets this year, and they quite deservedly got the third overall pick in the draft. The Rockets were terrible on both sides of the floor, despite having a respectable roster. The Rockets only averaged 109.7 points per game, good for 19th in the NBA, but also allowed 118.2, putting them dead last in the league. They were also horrible handling the ball, with 16.5 turnovers and just 23.6 assists per game.

Is it a coincidence the Rockets traded Christian Wood to Dallas the same day Paolo Banchero worked out for them? I think not, and if he is available when the time comes, you can bet they would love to get their hands on him if he is available. With Jabari Smith almost certainly going to Orlando, and the OKC Thunder having their eyes on young Chet Holmgren, the most logical move for  Rafael Stone is Paolo Banchero. The young Italian-American prospect is the perfect fit alongside Jalen Green, and at 2.08 meters and 113 kilograms, he is already NBA material. Banchero’s offensive game is second to none in this draft class, as he can create his own shot, drain the three and lead the fastbreak. His defence is a big question mark, but for a rookie, that’s not uncommon.

His offensive game will make him an impact player right away in the league and is a safe pick either way. That said, he is 19 and will turn 20 when the season begins, which is likely why he will not go first overall, but will fall to number 3.  The bookmakers have him going to Houston at 2.80 odds, and there is a ton of value backing this pick.

  • Selection: Rockets to pick Paolo Banchero
  • Best Odds: 2.80 (Bet365)
  • Stakes: 5/10

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