LaMelo Ball
Photo: Rick Rycroft/Associated Press

The world of NBA never sleeps; it was only last Sunday that we saw the Los Angeles Lakers crowned 2020 NBA Champions for a record-equalling 17th time, now the focus turns to highly-anticipated 2020 draft picks.

What is the NBA Draft?

The NBA draft dates back to 1947. It is an annual event that sees professional teams from the NBA (National Basketball Association) draft eligible players, usually from collegiate basketball, who want to play in the big league.

Commonly, the NBA draft takes place in June. However, due to the postponement of the league due to the coronavirus, it is taking place in October this year (2020). A total of sixty players are chosen during this event, and there’s always great speculation over which player will claim the coveted honour of being the 1st overall pick.

NBA Draft Betting

Prior to NBA Draft Day is the Draft Lottery. This determines the order in which the teams get to pick. To make things more interesting, teams are allowed to do side deals with each other to swap positions in the drafting process. As we stand at the time of writing, these are the five teams that will get to pick first this year:

  1. Minnesota Timberwolves
  2. Golden State Warriors
  3. Charlotte Hornets
  4. Chicago Bulls
  5. Cleveland Cavaliers

So, who do the bookmakers have leading the betting for 1st pick? Let’s have a look at the leading contenders.

Anthony Edwards: odds 1.40

At only 19 years of age, Anthony Edwards is the clear favourite to be this year’s number one pick for the NBA draft. He stands 1.96m tall and his position is shooting guard. During his sole year (2019/2020 season) playing college basketball for the Georgia Bulldogs, he averaged 19.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game. 

These stats combined with his amazing talent have made him one of the hottest teenage prospects in the game, and many bettors will be backing him to win the draft.

LaMelo Ball: odds 3.10

Also aged 19, LaMelo Ball has chosen a different route to get to draft day. He opted out of collegiate basketball and jumped into the professional game with the Australian National Basketball League team – the Illawarra Hawks. His favoured position is a point guard. Ball only completed twelve games for Illawarra before being sidelined by injury. 

Nevertheless, his stats are decent with 17 points per game, 7.4 rebounds and 6.8 assists, with a 37.7% shooting average from the field. Could LaMelo’s experience in the professional league help him leapfrog Edwards to become the number one pick? It’s unlikely, but far from impossible.

James Wiseman: odds 5.50

At number three in the betting, we have 7 foot 1 inch James Wiseman. He comes from the college basketball system where he played for the Memphis Tigers last season as a center. His towering presence on the court has seen him accumulate career stats of 19.7 points, 10.7 rebounds and 0.3 assists per game, and an impressive field goal percentage of 76.9. 

Obi Toppin: odds 41.00

An outsider whose name has been on the lips of many fans recently is Obadiah Richard Toppin, commonly known as Obi Toppin. Like LaMelo, he has also enjoyed a slightly different journey to draft day 2020. After graduating from Ossining High School, he failed to receive any offers to play in the NCAA Division 1. Therefore, he joined the Dayton Flyers in the Atlantic 10 Conference, where he earned the Rookie of the Year title as his side’s leading scorer. 

He plays as a power forward and his 2019/2020 stats of 20.0 points per game, 7.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists, while shooting 63.3% from the field have made him one of this year’s hottest prospects. Obi looks certain to be a 1st round pick, but will he pull a late surprise and be number one overall? You can get 40/1 on him if you think so.

Best Way to bet on the NBA Draft

If you want to get in on the action of Draft Day betting, it’s worth checking out some new betting bonus codes that are available. These cover a wide range of sportsbook promotions such as free bets and match deposit bonuses. By utilizing these offers, you may be able to have a risk-free wager on your favourite pick, or you could roll the dice on Obi or another outsider to hopefully score some big profits.