NBA Draft Odds, Top 5 Predictions, and Best Bets

With the NBA Draft less just 48 hours away, our team has locked in our projected top 5 and best bet picks for the first round.
Alex Sarr as our top NBA Draft pick
Alex Sarr was once the consensus #1 pick but now offers great odds for bettors who take him to go first.

The 2024 NBA Draft is a two-night event that will kick off with the Atlanta Hawks going on the clock at 8:00 PM EDT on Thursday. After months of research and anticipation, our team has identified who we think will go in the top 5.

Find our complete predictions and official best bets for the NBA Draft below:

#1 Atlanta Hawks: Alexandre Sarr (France)

In a draft where there isn’t a consensus number-one pick, Alex Sarr should slide through the cracks on draft night to end up as the top overall pick. While Zaccharie Risacher holds the best odds to become the first overall selection, Sarr’s ability to guard the 4 and 5 spots on defense along with a 7’4 wingspan makes him the big man with the highest ceiling in this class. While shooting just 30% from beyond the arc, his shot form and 71% free throw shooting project him to become at least an average shooter from long distance in the league.

Sarr plays with energy on both ends of the floor, which Atlanta has been lacking the past few seasons. As for his defense, Alex provides elite weak-side can switch onto shifty guards and wings without much of an issue. With trustworthy hands and solid transition numbers on the offensive end, he could develop some playmaking skills by his 3rd season that could make him the multi-dimensional big man he will need to become to live up to the 1st overall pick tag. While strength and consistency on offense are issues coming into his rookie season, Sarr’s ceiling should make him the 1st overall pick for Atlanta later this week.

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#2 Washington Wizards: Donovan Clingan (UConn)

DC impacts winning at an extremely high rate. A two-time champion at UConn, Clingan spearheaded their elite defense with his elite rim protection - 3 stocks per game in 2023-24. Looking ahead to his NBA profile, Clingan will try to bump his FT% up from around 50%, as that is a cause for concern for most franchises. His rim protection, weak-side defensive help, and energy are no-brainers when discussing what DC will give your franchise. He’s a low-maintenance center that can match up against any big in the league on defense with his size and strength.

Washington hasn’t had a big man stick for years and now with Daniel Gafford in Dallas, they should take a proven defensive impact player in Clingan instead of a Risacher who will need a few seasons to get integrated into an NBA offensive scheme. With Kuzma, Poole, and Coulibaly looking for on-ball opportunities, the Wizards will benefit enormously by drafting an anchorman on defense that will be NBA-ready from a physical and mental standpoint from game 1. Clingan wins basketball games and for Washington, that’s just the player they need.

#3 Houston Rockets: Zaccharie Risacher (France)

Risacher has a solid chance to go #1 to Atlanta, but he would benefit from developing with a franchise like Houston. The Rockets have a solid group of young wings in Tari Eason, Cam Whitmore, and Jabari Smith, but none who can shoot the rock like Risacher. ZR has a great shot form and played extremely well during his postseason overseas to bump his draft stock up to a consensus top 5 selection.

He projects to become a plus-shooter with solid mechanics and fluid off-ball movement that demands defenses to stay on their toes. He has some sneaky athleticism at the rim on both ends while being a flexible defender that can match up against both guards and wings. He’ll make for a good connector on the Houston offense that already has ball-dominant guards in FVV and Jalen Green who will look to get Zach the ball in open space as a cutter.

What Risacher isn’t is a self-creator. He would struggle in a system such as Washington or San Antonio as these teams don’t have long-term creators at the guard position, but with Houston, he wouldn’t have to make decisions on each possession on offense and maximize his potential as an elite 3 and D player in this league. We project Risacher as a top 10 prospect this class but don’t see him as the top 3 prospect the way experts and franchises are projecting him as. Number 4 to San Antonio feels like his floor.

#4 San Antonio Spurs: Stephon Castle (UConn)

Whenever Stephon Castle is on the court, winning basketball seems to follow. The freshman came into Dan Hurley’s squad as one of the top recruits in the country and was projected as a lottery prospect before taking the court in Storrs, CT. Fast forward a year later and Castle - who took on a lesser offensive role to help his team win their 2nd straight national championship - is my top prospect of the ‘24 class and has the highest ceiling of any guard.

Castle measures in at 6’6 with a plus wingspan that helped him play impactful defense on opposing stars in the Big East all season long. At 210 pounds, he plays bigger than he should and could easily be the best backcourt defender on any roster within the top five of this draft giving him instant playing time for any coach.

Obviously, his sub-30% three-point shooting is a cause for concern as most NBA-ready guards shoot above Castle’s mark even as Freshman. With that being said, his form doesn’t need a ton of work and with his work ethic and size, I believe teams will start to work on his midrange and free throws which will then balance out his 3PT shooting into a respectable number around 35% at the end of his rookie season.

While most experts and teams have Risacher and Sarr atop their big boards, Castle understands what it takes to win a championship - even with a target on his back. Castle defended, rebounded, and scored at a high level throughout the season and into the NCAA Tournament all while taking a seat back to let Cam Spencer, Alex Karaban, and Tristen Newton run the show when hot.

Castle might not be a 25 PPG scorer or multi-time All Star by the time he earns a second contract in the league, but one thing is for sure - this guy will easily be an impactful basketball player for 10+ seasons because he is an athletic winner that plays both ends of the floor that marries energy with talent unlike anyone else in this draft cycle.

Dalton Knecht Draft Prediction
Dalton Knecht is not being projected in the top 5 but we think his offensive talent is too much to pass on.

#5 Detroit Pistons: Dalton Knecht (Tennessee)

Cunningham, Ivey, and Thompson have rounded out Detroit’s last three draft classes. While we haven’t seen these three players log a ton of minutes on the court together, these three athletes alongside Jalen Duren are Detroit’s future. In this draft, they have to nail the 5th overall pick with a veteran talent that can space the floor and shoot the rock. Their best bet is Dalton Knecht.

Knecht isn’t the best player available at this pick, but it is crucial to get a player with an extremely high floor to space the floor for their three young stars that they’re looking to develop with on-ball reps. Knecht shot nearly 40% from three and averaged 21.7 PPG in a competitive SEC this season. A late-career bloomer, Dalton will be a low-maintenance 3 and D pro with some sneaky athleticism around the rim.

Not asked to defend at a high rate in college, there will be questions early on if his body will hold up, but in a draft with plenty of questions at the top, Knecht delivers a set of skills to Detroit that they’ve desperately been missing with their last few highly drafted prospects.

Draft Riser Worth Betting - Carlton Carrington (PIT)

A modern combo guard that can one day lead an NBA offense, Carlton “Bub” Carrington is a top-10 ranked prospect on my draft board and is a sneaky lottery selection during the NBA draft. While teams such as Miami, LA, and Chicago are all looking for some high potential offensive PGs, Carrington should be at the top of their list as an unbelievable self creator that has the offensive package to become an All Star in the league. For a high usage player, his 41/32/79 shooting splits impressed me during his freshman season at Pitt, where he nearly led the Panthers to the NCAA tournament. Only averaging 1.9 TOV on 4.1 AST per outing, CC makes solid decisions with the basketball and can become one of those modern playmaking rebounding guards that teams envy with his 6’5 frame with a 6’8 wingspan.

His mid-range and paint game are two aspects he will have to work on with his offense, but as a low-maintenance guard who can play multiple roles depending on which team drafts him, Carrington will end up as a top 10 player in this class - the question is, who is willing to spend the lottery pick on the 18-year-old?

Draft Faller Worth Fading - Kyshawn George (MIA)

At a certain point, Miami wing Kyshawn George was going in the late lottery as a project wing that had great shot mechanics. However, looking back on Miami prospects over the past couple of classes and George’s overall tape with the Hurricanes, nothing stands out that should put George over the rest of the 3 and D wings in this class.

George lacks strength against bigger wings and other than shooting the deep ball at a high rate, didn’t do much for the Hurricanes that made them a better overall team. At the back end of the 1st round, wings such as Ryan Dunn of Virginia, Kevin McCullar of Kansas, and Nikola Djurisic of Serbia have a wider variety of skills than George and won’t need a year in the G-League to make an impact for a team pushing for a playoff spot or series victory. George projects to be a project player who doesn't have enough defined skills to be considered as a first-round selection.

NBA Draft Best Bets

Donovan Clingan First Overall Pick (+200)

In Order: Sarr-Clingan-Risacher (+1800)

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