The Trend: NFL Draft, April 28
Every single year, I tell myself that I am not going to get wrapped up in mock drafts and draft predictions. Yet, here I am after reading close to 40 mock drafts over the last week and convinced that I know every single pick that is coming off the board. I think the NFL Draft is one of the top events in football and the spectacle that it is, is nothing short of top-notch.
This year’s draft seems more dramatic than a junior high lunch table being occupied by the popular kids. It seems like 20 different NFL teams could use a quarterback, there are like 5 insane wide receivers, and there is a tight end that will probably end up as a Hall of Famer. So there is a lot to digest in the top-10 picks and there are probably going to be more trades than we have ever seen before considering we have already seen two different picks go down within the top six picks before draft day has even arrived. With all that being said, betting on this particular event is especially fun. You can either do that, or make a drinking game out of it, or both, but for the purposes of this website, let’s just focus on the bets.
Prop bets rule the draft and most of these numbers are made via mock drafts and historical trends that the Vegas robots can quickly crunch and punch out numbers. We are going to identify a couple of different value props and trends that you should look for. Before we get into the specific props, it is important to break down the last three drafts and see what teams have been doing in the first round.
2020: 4 QB’s drafted, 6 WR’s, 18 offensive selections, 14 defensive selections
2019: 3 Qb’s, 2 WR’s, 14 offensive selections, 18 defensive selections
2018: 5 QB’s drafted, 2 WRs, 17 offensive selections, 15 defensive selections
A couple things to take away here: Regardless of which side of the ball, the number drafted on offense or defense has not gone above 18, that’s important to note for later. Teams are not afraid to pull the trigger on quarterbacks and that should be the case yet again this year. The same can be said for wide receivers. Out of the positions I didn’t list, cornerbacks and defensive tackles were wildly popular to be taken in the first round.
So the first prop that we should easily cross off the list is OVER/UNDER 18.5 offensive selections in the first round. The odds at this prop are UNDER (+100). This seems like a no-brainer after analyzing the last three trends. I think a lot of bettors will be scared off on this bet because the first 10 picks could pretty much all be offensive guys, but the middle and late half of the draft will be heavy on defense. If the running backs don’t all get taken in the first, this number will stay under. In the different mocks I have read, the average is 17, the highest is 19, and the number should probably be right at 18. This could come down to the Bucs selection, but the UNDER is great plus-money value.
A really intriguing one is Justin Fields selected at number three (+260). The 49ers drafted into this spot to take a receiver and it could be Fields, Trey Lance, or Mac Jones. I don’t see the Niners going after Mac Jones this high and while Kyle Shanahan probably believes he can develop any quarterback, it’s hard seeing him pass on a guy like Justin Fields who has unfairly dropped down the board. I think if the Niners were going after Lance or Jones, they wouldn’t have traded up this high to get them. I love the value in this prop.
Sticking with a quarterback prop here, the OVER 5.5 QBs selected (+360) is an intriguing pick. It seems like a given that five quarterbacks are going in the first with Lawrence, Wilson, Fields, Lance, and Jones. After that, you have guys like Kyle Trask, Davis Mills, and Kellen Mond who is probably one of the biggest risers in the draft. There are rumors that the Buccaneers could take one of these guys in the 32 spot and there is also a possibility that a team will trade back into the first to get their guy. I don’t love this prop as much but the value is there for a small wager.
A pick that I really like is Packers WR Selections (+200). There are two reasons for why I like this pick. The first is because of the great plus-money value and the second is because the Packers are fucking crazy and it will make this bet fun. The Packers needed a wide receiver last year and they took a quarterback. If they don’t want to completely ruin their relationship with Aaron Rodgers, the pick really needs to be a wide receiver.
Jaycee Horn UNDER 12.5 is another pick that offers great value and should be fun to watch. The Cowboys need a corner at 10 and it will likely be Patrick Surtain II. Horn is a legit corner and a team may be interested enough to jump up to 11 to get him or the Eagles could be wise and take him at 12. The value here is UNDER at -115. I know it isn’t plus-money but it seems like a safe bet for a corner this talented.
Last pick we are giving out here isn’t for the first round but it is a quarterback. I prefer Kellen Mond over Kyle Trask but I think Kyle Trask UNDER 77.5 (-110) is great value when we are seeing how many teams are quarterback hungry in this draft. A team like the Panthers, Falcons, Patriots, Saints, Steelers, Washington, a handful of others will need quarterbacks in round two and I just don’t see Trask slipping past 77.