The annual NBA draft takes place today, Thursday. Each of the league’s teams will attempt to improve their rosters by selecting prospects that they deem the best choice for their squad.
The 2018 class is supposedly one of the better crops in recent memory, which raises the stakes for the evening.
Two top offshore sportsbooks, Bovada and BetOnline, have both posted a variety of prop bets for tonight. We have looked over the lines and have come up with the four that make most appeal as betting options.
One Villanova player being selected in first round (+1500 with BetOnline)
BetOnline lists the options of one, two, three or four Villanova players going in the first round. There’s a very slight chance that all four of Mikal Bridges, Donte DiVincenzo, Jalen Brunson and Omari Spellman go in the first round. Most likely, though, only one or two of them will be selected in the first round.
Bridges is an absolute lock to go in the first round with his good NBA measurables for a wing, as well as good defensive and shooting abilities to go with fantastic intangibles. DiVincenzo could definitely go in the first round, but scouts question his streaky shooting and lack of defensive awareness and length. He very well could slip tonight.
Meanwhile, Brunson was an excellent college player with lots of skill but very few natural athletic gifts. He is 6’2” with below-average length and poor athleticism, which means he will get picked on by NBA offenses when he is on defense. Will he be productive enough on offense to be a viable NBA rotation player?
Spellman has a nice jump shot, but he is somewhat raw for a 21-year-old prospect, which raises some questions about his potential. At 6’9” and 255 pounds, he needs to work on his body some more to be a factor in an NBA that stresses versatility.
Overall, there’s a decent chance only Bridges goes in the first round. This is definitely a worthwhile bet.
Mohamed Bamba going No. 5 or earlier (-240 with BetOnline)
Bamba’s ceiling in the NBA is Rudy Gobert with a jump shot, which is absolutely terrifying. Gobert never takes shots outside of about five feet, and he is still one of the top 20 or 25 players in the NBA thanks to his outlier length and instincts around the basket on both ends of the floor.
It seems very unlikely that he will slip past both the Atlanta Hawks at No. 3 and the Dallas Mavericks at No. 5. Both teams need a defensive anchor and a steady center, and Bamba could turn into one of the best big men in the NBA.
There has been some worrying about Bamba’s raw skill set. He has shown in all of his interviews that he is a very cerebral and intellectually curious young man. This reflects well on his chances to eventually maximize his immense potential.
Mikal Bridges going No. 10 or later (-180 with Bovada)
Every championship team needs at least a couple players like Bridges. The Villanova product is an unselfish defense-first wing who is willing to play on or off the ball. He projects as a very good role player with very little bust potential, but also he is probably not going to be a star. He’s already 21 years old.
The issue is that none of the teams in the top nine of the draft are at the point in their rebuilds that they should be looking at high-end role players. Every team in the top nine still needs to shoot for players who have more star potential, even if most of them are more risky than Bridges.
At pick No. 10, the Philadelphia 76ers would probably love to have Bridges, because they already have their foundation of stars in young studs Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Most teams ahead of them, though, will be looking for their next star, which suggests that he will be available at the 10th pick or later.
Collin Sexton going No. 12 or later (+200 with Bovada)
Sexton has a lot of athleticism and decent skill for a point guard, but there are concerns. He is not at all a natural facilitator (just 3.6 assists in 29.9 minutes per game for Alabama last season) despite being the team’s primary ball-handler. He is a mediocre shooter and he might not offer much on defense with his lackluster size and strength. To be fair, he does work hard on the defensive end, but he won’t be extremely versatile at the NBA level.
The Orlando Magic could potentially select Sexton at No. 6, but it’s easy to see him sliding if he doesn’t go there. NBA teams nowadays want primary ball-handlers who can create for themselves and others, and it’s unlikely that Sexton ever becomes a great playmaker for teammates.