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BetMGM has reported that 36.8% of bets at the sportsbook are on Bronny James, the eldest son of Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, for the No. 1 overall selection in the 2024 NBA Draft. His name recognition is driving a surprising number of wagers on the USC freshman in draft markets.

BetMGM revealed that Bronny James has more than twice the number of bets than Alex Sarr

BetMGM also shows that James has a commanding lead over Alex Sarr (-300), who has the second-most bets at 14%. James was not initially listed in the No. 1 overall market at DraftKings, but he entered the field last Thursday.

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. FanDuel reported that James has only 6% of the handle to go first overall, while BetMGM placed that figure at 4.1%

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. The long odds seem to indicate that a lot of small-money bettors are putting bets down on LeBron’s son because the gamblers know they have nothing to lose.

“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.”

According to ESPN’s latest mock draft, James is projected as a late-second-round pick well behind Sarr, Zaccharie Risacher, Reed Sheppard, Nikola Topic, and Matas Buzelis.

Lakers are the favorite to draft James

Moreover, DraftKings and BetMGM both list the Lakers as the favorite to draft James with +180 odds. At DraftKings, the Lakers are also the leader to select the 19-year-old in both bets (33%) and handle (60%).

However, BetMGM has LeBron’s former team, the Cleveland Cavaliers (10-1), as the handle leader with 34.8%.

In the 2023-24 season, Bronny averaged 4.8 points and 2.8 rebounds and made only six starts out of 25 games for the Trojans.

Since the Hawks hold the No. 1 selection in the NBA draft for the first time since 1975, it would be unwise for the team to take such a large risk on drafting James. Atlanta has a lot of options to consider sitting at the top of the draft board. The most logical move for the organization would be for it to put its faith in a more talented player.