2022 NBA Draft odds: Santa Clara's Jalen Williams, LSU's Tari Eason favored as Chicago Bulls' initial pick

The 2022 NBA Draft is tonight. Who might the Chicago Bulls select at No. 18?
Hero Image

Prepare for a wild day around the NBA with trade rumors flying ahead of tonight's draft. About the only thing we know with near certainty is that Auburn's Jabari Smith will go first overall to Orlando, Gonzaga's Chet Holmgren will go second to Oklahoma City, and Duke's Paolo Banchero third to Houston. All books have taken down odds to go 1-2-3 at this point as those selections are considered such sure things. DraftKings has an interesting prop active: Which player will be the Chicago Bulls' first pick tonight? Former Santa Clara guard Jalen Williams is favored at +500.

A reminder that this prop is tied simply to whichever player is the Bulls' initial pick – the pick doesn't have to happen where Chicago is currently slotted at No. 18 overall. If the team trades that selection and only has a second-round pick (which it currently doesn't), for example, this prop remains active if you bet it.

The Bulls are in win-now mode assuming they are able to re-sign unrestricted free agent Zach LaVine, and there have been rumors that the team is heavy after Jazz All-Star center Rudy Gobert. It would take a lot more than the No. 18 pick to get Gobert – a trade would likely involve Nikola Vucevic and other current assets.

Chicago does need defensive help in the frontcourt, yet it's the guard Williams favored on this prop. Last year as a junior at Santa Clara, the 6-foot-6 Williams was first-team All-West Coast Conference and a finalist for the Lou Henson Award, given to the nation's top mid-major player.

Williams finished second in the WCC (Gonzaga's conference) at 18.0 points per game and was the only player in the nation to average at least 18.0 points, 4.1 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game while shooting 56 percent from two-point range and 41 percent from deep. Williams is built in the mold of Thunder star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and will be the first Santa Clara player drafted since Hall-of-Famer Steve Nash in 1996. The CBS Big Board ranks Williams as the No. 21 overall prospect.

LSU forward Tari Eason is the +600 second favorite as the Bulls' choice. As a Chicago fan personally, I have seen Eason mocked to the Bulls perhaps more than any player and he would fill a frontcourt need at 6-foot-8, 220 pounds.

Last year as a sophomore, he was All-SEC first team and SEC Sixth Man of the Year. The transfer from Cincinnati averaged 16.9 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 1.1 blocks and 1.9 steals a game. As a terrific defender with a 7-foot-2 wingspan and huge hands, he has been compared to New Orleans' Herbert Jones, one of last year's surprising rookies. The CBS Sports Big Board ranks Eason as the No. 19 overall prospect.

Serbia's Nikola Jovic (+800) and Duke's Mark Williams (+800) round out the favorites as the Bulls' first pick. Williams makes a ton of sense as he's essentially a younger version of Gobert. If Chicago takes him, any potential trade with Utah becomes much less likely. 

Looking for the best picks against the spread, sharp plays on the total, and props you can take straight to the pay window? Join Jonathan Coachman on the Early Edge as he speaks with SportsLine's top handicappers to preview the day's biggest games. We promise to keep it short, sweet and to put some green in your pocket. Early Edge is in your feed every single day by 11 a.m. ET. Subscribe right here on YouTube to watch daily, plus don't miss the Early Edge specials and live shows!

Matt SeveranceSeverance Pays