NBA Draft Betting Guide: Props, Over/Unders, and Matchups
Some years, the NBA Draft is shrouded in mystery. Occasionally, the first pick isn't a guarantee. Sometimes the number-one is locked in for months, but then nobody knows what to expect.
This year, it's a little of both. Duke star Zion Williamson is all but a lock to be the first overall pick for the New Orleans Pelicans. FanDuel Sportsbook has Williamson at -8000 to be the first name called. That's about a 99% probability.
After Zion, it's not like we're looking at a complete tossup. Consensus mock drafts and the betting market point strongly to Ja Morant of Murray State going second overall to Memphis (-2500 on FanDuel Sportsbook, 96.2%), followed by Duke's RJ Barrett to the New York Knicks (-2000, 95.2%).
Only then do we start seeing some different opinions, for the most part.
So, where are there value opportunities available?
Fourth Overall Pick
The most likely pick, based on FanDuel Sportsbook, is Garland (-152), followed by Culver (+400) and Hunter (+600). The Pelicans very easily could trade this pick, throwing a wrinkle into the team fit angle. If the Pels do use this pick, with Lonzo Ball and Jrue Holiday on the roster, they may not snag Garland -- who logged just five career games in college -- to clog up the backcourt.
Given how tightly packed this trio is in terms of the consensus ranks and perception, the value on both Hunter and Culver is intriguing. (You can also snare Hunter at +126 to go in the top five in case he slides to five.)
Culver actually grades out as the third-best prospect in the draft by FiveThirtyEight's CARMELO projections. If New Orleans keeps the pick, they may look to someone other than Garland.
Coby White Over/Under
Coby White is a lethal scoring combo guard who would fit with just about any team in the NBA, but the line is pretty interesting on FanDuel Sportsbook. White is -215 to be picked within the top six but +164 to go after pick seven.
We already know he's not going in the top three. If a team decides to trade up to get a distributor, it'd likely be Garland fourth overall. The rub here is that the Phoenix Suns own the sixth pick and could use a backcourt mate for Devin Booker.
White grades out as the sixth-best prospect by FiveThirtyEight's model, and it really comes down to whether or not you think the Suns snare him at sixth overall and/or if you think that Hunter and Culver go fourth and fifth. Then, the Suns could chance it with Garland at sixth overall. With the odds being what they are (+164) that he slides outside the top six, there seems to be value on the over.
First to Be Drafted: Rui Hachimura or Brandon Clarke
A pair of Gonzaga Bulldogs are head-to-head for a first-off-the-board bet. Rui Hachimura (-230) is more or less locked in to the tail end of the lottery, anywhere between picks 11 and 14 regardless of where you look. That'll be hard for Brandon Clarke (+150) to best, but his projections are much more volatile. Clarke has been mocked 9th to the Wizards, 10th to the Hawks, 11th to the Timberwolves, 14th to the Celtics, and 19th to the Spurs.
In terms of sheer rankings and projections, Clarke grades out better both via ESPN and FiveThirtyEight. It's certainly not unthinkable that Clarke's positive qualities win out over Hachimura's rawness.
First to Be Drafted: PJ Washington, Tyler Herro, or Keldon Johnson
This Kentucky trio has no real consensus among the mock drafters, but going by oddsmakers, PJ Washington (-180) is a pretty heavy favorite over Tyler Herro (+250) and Keldon Johnson (+380).
Depending on where you look, you can basically find any permutation of Wildcats in mock drafts, and that suggests that there's value on either Herro or Johnson. Herro's profile implies the highest ceiling at the next level, based on FiveThirtyEight's models, and he edges out his teammates via ESPN's rankings, as well.
Herro at +250 is an interesting wager, but even Johnson at longer odds (+380) is viable.