How do you handicap the coaches, the general managers and the barrage of NFL mock-draft predictions?
That’s one stark assignment for bettors, as the league’s annual spectacular unfolds Thursday-Saturday.
Seven rounds. Two-hundred fifty-five players taken. Countless decisions, rumors, rumors ad speculation from scouts boil down to one’s ability to forecast administrative decisions.
This is the NFL draft lineup:
- Round 1: Thursday, April 25, 8:00 p.m. ET
- Rounds 2-3: Friday, April 26, 7:00 p.m. ET
- Rounds 4-7: Saturday, April 27, 12:00 p.m. ET
NFL Draft 2020 Betting Odds
For New York Giants fans, a major decision comes right away at FanDuel Sportsbook.
Big Blue has the fourth pick and has been expected to take offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs of Iowa. If that occurs, FanDuel pays handsomely with Wirfs as +250 to be selected in the top 5 picks and +300 to be the second offensive player taken.
It’s a no-brainer if most of what’s been written and said in New York media circles comes true.
Joe Burrow of LSU will be the first player taken overall. The Heisman Trophy winner and quarterback of the national champion Tigers has been pegged for the Cincinnati Bengals since December. Burrow is -10000 at most books, a number indicating you’d need to bet $100 for every $1 you want to win if he’s selected first.
Chase Young, the Ohio State defensive end, is slated to go second, to the Washington Redskins.
And then the crapshoot begins.
Will the Detroit Lions take Ohio State cornerback Jeffrey Okudah third? Or will they trade down to numbers 5 or 6, allowing either the Miami Dolphins or the Los Angles Chargers to take either Justin Herbert of Oregon or Tua Tagovailoa of Alabama to fill a quarterback void?
How does that impact the Wirfs bet? If one of those quarterbacks get taken earlier, that eliminates Wirfs as the second offensive player drafted. If you make the Wirfs wager, you’re banking on the Giants sticking to projected form and hope against a trade of draft positions. And that the Giants don’t throw you a curve and take Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons.
That’s why they call it gambling. You could hit that Wirfs bet twice, once, or not at all.
Multiply this scenario numerous times and you have the phenomenon of the NFL draft.
Let’s take a look at some interesting props in the books.
Fan Duel Lights Up Betting Board
It posted a selection of the top 3 picks, in order, like a trifecta at the race track.
- Burrow, Young and Okudah is +105.
- Burrow, Young and (Auburn defensive tackle) Derrick Brown are +600.
- And a wild one of Burrow, Tagovailoa and Young is 17-1.
Quarterbacks taken in the first round are over-under 4.5 with the over at +440 and the under at -700.
This is an intriguing play because three QB’s – Burrow, Tagovailoa and Herbert – will go quite early.
Will there be two more?
- Jordan Love of Utah is possible.
- That would make it four and put bettors right on the over-under border.
How many players from national champion LSU will be taken in the first round?
- The over-under is 5.5 with the over at +225 and the under at -310.
- Alabama has the same over-under with the over at +102 and the under at -130.
Clemson played in the national championship game, losing to LSU. But these Tigers only have an over-under of 2.5 selections in the opening round. The over is +225 and the under is -310.
Late Monday, FanDuel announced some new offerings.
- Unique promotions: FanDuel is also offering several unique promotions for new FanDuel Sportsbook customers including a $500 risk-free bet and a special market for former LSU QB Joe Burrow to be selected #1 overall with odds at +200 (max bet $25). Draft betting on the FanDuel Sportsbook is available for residents and visitors to New Jersey.
- Predict the Draft fantasy contest: For those who think they know how the draft will shake out, FanDuel Group is introducing the “$10K Predict The Draft – Fuel The Frontline” freeplay contest. Fans can predict the 10 players drafted in order — without a salary cap — and will get two points for every correct pick, as well as .5 points for any player chosen within one spot of their correct draft position.
- Draft Challenge: FanDuel is offering a second fantasy contest called the $10K Draft Challenge Free Play, where players build the ultimate team of players based on draft position. The players selected will earn points for when they are selected over the three full days of the draft. Similar to fantasy contests for football or baseball, players will choose their fantasy team wisely and balance their team against a salary cap. There are also team and player bonuses for being involved in trades. Fans can draft teams, try to score the most points and win a share of $10,000.
DraftKings: An Exceptional Potpourri
Every pick matters, especially for specific prop wagers at DraftKings.
How many defensive players will be taken in the first round?
- The over 15.5 is +130 and the under is -159.
- The offensive totally, conversely, is over-under 16.5.
- The over is -159 and the under is +130.
This is a nice play either way, especially if you have an inkling of a surprise selection in the first round. All it takes is a “buzzer-beating caucus” by one team’s drafting hierarchy, resulting in an unexpected pick.
That can alter the board, as teams find players they’d considered unavailable suddenly out there.
It’s a juggle and can shakeups can happen anywhere on the board. Logical areas of potential surprise involve teams with multiple first-round picks.
The Miami Dolphins have three. The Las Vegas Raiders, Minnesota Vikings and San Francisco 49ers have two. The multiple selections offer a ripe area for trades or teams taking a flier.
Can the entire first round be completed without a running back being taken?
- That’s +165 if you are right.
- The over is -200.
Same odds apply for wide receivers.
NFL teams are salivating over the SEC, according to the prop menu.
- The over-under for SEC players taken in the first round is a whopping 15.5.
- The over is +118 and the under is -143.
All major books also have numerous selections by team. And there are interesting player props.
Tagovailoa is generally listed at as over-under 5.5.
Meaning this bet hinges both on whether he’s favored over Herbert and whether the team that takes him is able to trade up.
PlaySugarHouse – Props Galore
Here is a report from researchers at PlaySugarHouse regarding the New Jersey market.
- Jerry Jeudy of Alabama to be the first receiver taken has the most bets of any prop
- Cole Kmet (Notre Dame) as the first tight end
- Wirfs as the first offensive lineman
Simmons and Wirfs are both favored by bettors to be picked by the Giants with the 4th overall selection.
Popular longshot bets: Tagovailoa and Young to go first overall.
Trifecta bets of selecting the top 3 picks in exact order are also popular. The most common combinations start with Burrow and Young, followed by Tagovailoa / Okudah / Herbert (in order of most to least bets)
Andrew Thomas over 10.5 and Jordan Love under 19.5 are the two most popular players in the draft bets.
- Thomas is an offensive tackle from Georgia.
- Love is the quarterback from Utah.
Two bets that have both gotten decent action:
- Tagovailoa to be the second offensive player drafted and Herbert to be the second quarterback drafted.
- Assuming Burrow goes first in the draft, these bets are taking opposite sides of one another virtually.
Bettors are taking under 5.5 players drafted in the first round for both LSU and Alabama
Surprise, Surprise, Surprise
Expect them. It’s what makes the draft fun, unpredictable and perhaps profitable.
Last year, the Giants made Daniel Jones the sixth pick in the overall draft. That was surprisingly early for a quarterback they probably could have gotten later. This shook up the Top 10 regarding offensive players and quarterbacks selected.
The Pittsburgh Steelers traded up for the first time in 13 years.
Offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor of Florida and quarterback Drew Lock of Missouri were considered, well, locks to be taken in the first round.
And they were not.
The Atlanta Falcons took two offensive linemen in the first round.
And so, it goes. Mock drafts get shredded. GM’s panic, hearing whispers about the team behind them, liking one of their players, perhaps coaxing the team to select someone too early.
And in the end, you are not handicapping stats. You are trying to read human beings.
It might be easier to read defenses.