The abbreviated 2020 NBA offseason has picked up steam this week, with the 2020 NBA Draft approaching and plenty of trades already going down. It’s only been about a month since the 2019-20 season ended, but there’s also only about a month left until the 2020-21 season begins. The expected chaos of this time crunch is starting to unfold, and it’s bound to get even crazier when the NBA Draft starts on Wednesday.
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First Overall Pick Odds Shifts
This may not be the strongest draft we’ve ever seen, but there aren’t too many drafts like this one in terms of the uncertainty around the top of the board. Back around New Year’s when the most recent college basketball season was still being played, it looked like a four-horse race for the No. 1 pick between Anthony Edwards, James Wiseman, LaMelo Ball and Cole Anthony. Anthony’s stock has dropped substantially since the season ended while Ball’s has been on the rise, but the shifts at the top still really haven’t slowed down. Here’s how the odds have moved over just the last two months:
Edwards was the favorite for quite some time, with Ball and Wiseman as similar-length long shots to pull off the first pick upset. That started to change in September and October, as Wiseman’s odds grew and Ball’s odds shrunk. Six days ago, Ball overtook Edwards as the favorite for the first time in the entire race, and just yesterday he had risen all the way to -200. As of Tuesday, however, Ball and Edwards are essentially co-favorites as the odds have shifted dramatically yet again. Ball holds a slightly edge at -115, but given the nature of this betting market it’s probably safe to assume we’ll see more changes before Wednesday night.
First Overall Pick Betting Splits
There really isn’t any disproportionate betting going on here, as Ball and Edwards are getting pretty similar shares of the market and are both around even money to be the first pick, despite all of the flip-flopping over the past year. It seems as though the odds reactions have been entirely based on news and speculation, and there isn’t any evidence that lopsided betting is playing a significant role.
It goes without saying but the second and third draft slots are heavily dependent on the first pick this year, since there’s still no telling which player will actually be picked first and therefore there is no way to know who will still be left for picks No. 2 and No. 3. It doesn’t seem like the second slot is drawing much betting action, as DraftKings Sportsbook bettors are probably more inclined to wager on the opening pick rather than try to figure out the guesswork at No. 2. James Wiseman has become the odds on favorite here, but at just -113 he’s only marginally ahead of Anthony Edwards at +100. LaMelo Ball is still in contention as well with a current line of +250. It’s probably safe to assume that the second pick will be one of these three players, but Onyeka Okongwu is also still hanging around at +1000.
The third pick is where things really start to get interesting, particularly regarding LaMelo Ball. Ball was a 30-to-1 long shot to be picked third when this market opened five days ago, but his odds have plummeted in a very short amount of time as he’s now actually ahead of Okongwu, and closing in on Wiseman and Edwards. If the odds are to be believed, Ball dropping to No. 3 doesn’t actually appear like the crazy guess that it would have been just last week.
Line movement on the fourth slot has been calmer, with only slight shifts in the five days since this market opened. Deni Avdija is the current favorite, with Okongwu and Obi Toppin close behind. Wiseman and Ball are still in the hunt here too, and the odds indicate that Anthony Edwards (+3000) dropping to No. 4 would be a much larger upset.
The eight pick (currently) belongs to the New York Knicks, and while there’s sure to be plenty of interest here given the seemingly-annual draft day Knicks spotlight, the odds haven’t changed at all for this selection. Here’s a snapshot of the current favorites to be selected eighth:
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