Bronny James attracting wagers to be No. 1 pick in NBA draft

ByDoug Greenberg ESPN logo
Friday, May 24, 2024

Bronny James is one of the most intriguing prospects in the 2024 NBA draft class -- likely because selecting him could increase the chances for a team to land his legendary father, LeBron James, in free agency. That name recognition is driving an astonishing number of wagers on the younger James in draft markets.

At FanDuel, James has attracted 30% of the tickets to be selected first overall by the Atlanta Hawks, the most for any player at the sportsbook. BetMGM reports that the USCguard has 36.8% of the bets, well ahead of Alex Sarr (-300), who has the second most at 14%. James was not initially listed in the No. 1 overall market at DraftKings but found himself in the field as of Thursday afternoon.

James has consensus odds of 200-1 to be taken with the draft's first pick -- tied with Purdue's Zach Edey for the longest on the board. Those long odds, in addition to the discrepancy in bets to handle, would seem to indicate that a lot of small-money bettors are taking a flier on the wild scenario. James is projected as a late-second-round pick in ESPN's latest mock draft.

FanDuel reported that James has only 6% of the handle to go first overall, while BetMGM placed that figure at 4.1% -- a far cry from Sarr's commanding 65.5% of handle at the book.

"We're not concerned with racking up a liability there," BetMGM senior trader Halvor Egeland said. "It's all relatively small wagers, nothing over $100."

While the odds and most draft pundits would seem to agree that James going with the first pick would be ludicrous, there are other betting markets in play for the young player's talents.

DraftKings and BetMGM both list LeBron James' current team, the Los Angeles Lakers, as the favorite to draft the younger James with +180 odds. At DraftKings, the Lakers are the leader to select the 19-year-old in both bets (33%) and handle (60%), while BetMGM has LeBron's former team, the Cleveland Cavaliers (10-1), as the handle leader with 34.8%.

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