NBA Draft Betting All About Bronny

Bronny James is already proving good news for both sportsbooks and the NBA’s television partners.

The son of current Los Angeles Laker and future Hall of Famer LeBron James isn’t even expected to go in the first round of the NBA Draft on Wednesday. Still, bettors have made his the most popular speculative markets in a year when most scouts agree that star power will run out early in the selection process. That should lead to solid ratings at ESPN/ABC for the less-glamorous second day of the draft well after the Atlanta Hawks make the sexy No. 1 pick, likely either favored Frenchmen Alex Sarr or Zaccharie Risacher.

“Bronny’s the number one storyline, at least in the minds of bettors for this upcoming draft,” Fanatics Sportsbook senior editor Max Meyer told Gaming Today.

Fanatics Sportsbook’s three Bronny-centric markets are booming:

  • First-overall pick

“We opened him at 200-1. He’s now 500-1,” Meyer said. “He has the second-most bets in this market at 16%, only behind Donovan Clingan at around 26%. But these are, obviously, small bets.” Perhaps more like souvenirs, but folks are buying.

  • Drafting team

Meyer: “That has been by far the most popular market and draft bet. Fanatics bettors have been all over the Lakers. We opened the Lakers at +160 to draft Bronny. He’s now -130.”

“The Lakers to draft Bronny has drawn over seven times more handle than any other NBA Draft bet.”

  • James’s over/under draft position

“We opened that 40 and a half. It was still 42 and a half yesterday, but it’s really, really climbed up since, and now it’s 48 and a half. … That market and the ‘Which team will draft Bronny?’ market are getting 10 times more handle in the past 24 hours than first-overall pick.”

Bronny James Odds at Bet365:

  • +175 to be a first-round pick
  • +5000 to be a Top-5 pick
  • +20000 to be the Number 1 pick
  •  +20000 to be the Number 2 pick
  • +20000 to be the Number 3 pick
  • +20000 to be the Number 4 pick
  • +20000 to be the Number 5 pick
  • His most-bet prop is “Which Team Will Draft him” with the Lakers leading at roughly 45% of the bets.

Lines Move at Top After Wemby Ate 2023 Draft

Associated Press photo of Atlanta Hawks general manager Landry Fields. Brant James illustration

Meyer said lines for the top-overall pick have fluctuated between Sarr, Risacher, and Clingan depending news cycles. It’s a definite departure from last spring when Victor Wembanyama was long a foregone conclusion to the San Antonio Spurs.

“He was like -10000. It was a joke,” Meyer said. “Everyone knew he was going first unless something really terrible happened. That was the lock of locks and I think just because there is a price that heavy, there wasn’t as much interest with last year’s NBA Draft, even though there was the buzzy name. It was really two years ago when there was the mix of all those intriguing prospects and the uncertainty of who was going first when it was Jabari Smith, Chet Holmgren, and Paolo Banchero. That was the ultimate, perfect storm in terms of line intrigue.

“While there is definitely intrigue at the top, I think the fact that two of the top guys are foreigners, people didn’t watch them play college basketball, and so I don’t think there’s the same level of interest, just with the lack of name or brand awareness.”

So here comes Bronny.

About the Author
Brant James

Brant James

Lead Writer
Brant James is a lead writer who covers the sports betting industry and legislation at Gaming Today. An alum of the Tampa Bay Times,, espnW,, and USA Today, he's covered motorsports and the NHL as beats. He also once made a tail-hook landing on an aircraft carrier with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and rode to the top of Mt. Washington with Travis Pastrana. John Tortorella has yelled at him numerous times.

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