2022 NBA Draft: Paolo Banchero overtakes Jabari Smith, Chet Holmgren as No. 1 pick favorite

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Paolo Banchero is now the favorite to be the No. 1 pick originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Could Thursday night's 2022 NBA Draft start off with a stunner?

Ever since the Orlando Magic won the draft lottery back on May 17, it's appeared to be a two-man race between Auburn's Jabari Smith and Gonzaga's Chet Holmgren for the top overall pick.

But, just hours before the Magic are set to officially go on the clock, Duke's Paolo Banchero has surprisingly overtaken Smith and Holmgren as the strong favorite to be the No. 1 pick, according to our partner, PointsBet. Banchero is listed with -223 odds to hear his name first, ahead of Smith at +130 and Holmgren at +850.

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Holmgren has the best odds to go second to the Oklahoma City Thunder at -150, followed by Smith (+100) and Banchero (+600). Smith is the favorite to be drafted third overall by the Houston Rockets at +130.

Despite Banchero becoming the betting favorite, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Thursday morning that Smith going to Orlando, Holmgren going to OKC and Banchero going to Houston is "increasingly firm."

So do the Magic really have a surprise up their sleeve, whether it be a plan to draft Banchero or even a potential trade of the pick to a team who wants the Duke forward? Or will Orlando simply begin the draft as expected by selecting Smith?

We're just hours away from knowing the answer.

Editor's note: All odds are provided by our partner, PointsBet. PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links.