Like an oasis in the desert, the NFL Draft gives us a chance to quench our betting thirst during the seemingly interminable off-season. Whether you’ve got a betting itch to scratch or have some spare cash leftover in your account from last season, the draft is your only chance to get some action (where legal, of course) before September. So for those who may not have been grinding college tape and kicking out mock drafts for the past few months, here’s a primer on what will go down starting Thursday and the NFL Draft Prop Bets that, I think, present the best value.
Before we get to those picks, let’s take a 30,000-foot view of the draft. The talent level of this year’s class is relatively flat. There are not a whole lot of elite, game-changer-type prospects, but there is good depth of potential starters into days two and three. You could argue that at least the top five players drafted in last year’s draft would be taken before anyone in this year’s.
It’s a historically weak draft for quarterbacks. I compare this class to the 2011 class that saw Cam Newton go first overall, followed by luminaries Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert, and Christian Ponder. Replace Newton with Malik Willis. That should give you an idea of how I expect this class to turn out. With a third of the league at best unsettled at the most critical position, there’s a chance some underwhelming QB prospects could be severely over-drafted. The top of the draft should be heavy in the trenches, as I expect at least six of the top ten picks to be offensive linemen or pass rushers.
(Odds/lines courtesy of PointsBet (PB) and DraftKings (DK) Sportsbooks and are accurate as of this writing. However, odds may shift, potentially drastically, as the draft nears.)
NFL Draft Prop Bets
To Be Drafted in the Top 10
Malik Willis +100 (PB), -105 (DK)
As mentioned above, this is a bad QB class. Willis is the only one with the ceiling of an elite starter. Coming from a small school like Liberty, he’ll need development time, so he’s not plug-and-play, but he’s got a chance to be special. Jacksonville and the Jets are the only teams inside the Top 10 who wouldn’t take a QB, and New Orleans and Pittsburgh would likely try to trade up should Willis fall to the back of the Top 10. Safe bet at basically even money.
Jameson Williams +110 (PB), -125 (DK)
You’ll hear many people say Williams was the best WR prospect in this class before he tore his ACL in the FBS National Championship Game. Ignore them. He’s still the best WR prospect in this class. He might be the fastest WR in the draft in a walking boot (hyperbole alert). Among teams in the Top 10, Atlanta has a desperate need at WR, and the Jets need a field stretcher. Neither are likely to be competing for a playoff spot this year, so they could offer him the time to return from injury at his own pace. The disparity in lines here shows how important it is to shop around for the best price.
Draft Position Over/Unders
Kenny Pickett Over 15.5 -120 (PB), Over 16.5 -125 (DK)
Some will tell you that Pickett is the “most pro-ready QB” in the draft. That may technically be true, but it doesn’t matter if you’re already at your ceiling and have no room for growth. The arguments against him being an elite NFL QB are myriad: four-year starter at Pitt who didn’t break out until his final season when he had elite receivers to throw to; old for a prospect; exceptionally small hand size; poor performance during Senior Bowl week. When your best case scenario is peak Andy Dalton, and your likely outcome is current Sam Darnold, I have difficulty seeing anyone spend a premium pick on you. I expect Pickett to fall out of the first round altogether.
Christian Watson Under 39.5 +100 (PB), -130 (DK)
From FCS North Dakota State, Watson blew up the Combine with size-adjusted athleticism scores that evoked Calvin Johnson (I said evoked, not rivaled; don’t @ me). With picks 22 and 28, Green Bay badly needs at least one WR, and Watson is a straight-out-of-central-casting Packers prospect. Freak athlete, elite size/speed combo, and an outstanding blocker. I expect Watson to go at 28, and if not there, the Chiefs could take him with one of their picks at 29 and 30. At worst, Chicago at 39 seems like his floor, so I like this number.
George Pickens Under 38.5 +115 (PB), Under 36.5 +100 (DK)
Pickens isn’t generally discussed with the top tier of wideouts in this class, but he should be. He tore his ACL in preseason practice last year but made it back to contribute to Georgia’s national championship run. Pickens was a five-star recruit who dominated in a run-heavy Georgia offense as a freshman. If the Packers end up going WR-WR with their two picks, I expect Pickens to be in the discussion for the first, and worst case, he’ll be a priority trade target early in Round 2 for teams that got shut out of their preferred WR in the first round.
Nakobe Dean Over 30.5 -167 (PB), -130 (DK)
Finally, a line I like where DK’s price beats PointsBet. Dean is a good player, but he’s undersized, plays a position that doesn’t command premium draft capital, and has an injury history that reads like a biology textbook. His profile doesn’t read like a first-round pedigree.
1st QB Drafted Malik Willis -145 (PB), -190 (DK)
Pretty heavy juice, but I would comfortably lay it.
2nd QB Drafted Desmond Ridder +400 (DK)
Pickett’s a juiced favorite here, but I’m putting my (theoretical) money where my mouth is and taking Ridder, who’s been gaining a lot of steam throughout the draft process.
1st RB Drafted Breece Hall -250 (PB & DK)
That’s very heavy juice, but there’s no real competition here. Kenneth Walker has minimal passing game experience and will be limited to a two-down back initially in the NFL. Isaiah Spiller had a very disappointing combine and wasn’t even the best RB at Texas A&M. You may have to wait until day two to collect, but this should be a slam dunk.
Want more draft info? Club Fantasy has you covered. On Wednesday, 7 PM EST, we will be hosting our own Mock Draft with 7 guests from around the fantasy industry. Then, we are live-streaming Round 1 in a partnership with IDP Guys. Probably best to subscribe to our Youtube Channel!
Ahmad Gardner 1st CB, Ikem Ekwonu 1st OL, Devin Lloyd 1st LB Drafted +115
Ekwonu is the only one of the three I would sweat, as Evan Neal of Alabama is right there with him as the top offensive tackle, but I like this trio at plus money.
Travon Walker 1st Overall, Malik Willis 1st QB +120
Walker has recently been moved into the heavy betting favorite status to go first overall based on reporting from Jacksonville. If the books buy it, I like throwing him in with Willis as a parlay combo.
Malik Willis Top 10, Desmond Ridder 1st Round +175
There’s enough QB desperation to get Ridder taken in the 1st round. If he gets past Pittsburgh at 20, I expect he’ll be a “trade back into the first to get the 5th year option” candidate.
Malik Willis 1st QB, Ikem Ekwonu 1st OL, Breece Hall 1st RB drafted +200
Like the Gardner/Ekwonu/Lloyd parlay, Ekwonu is the only leg of this parlay that concerns me at all. However, this one comes at an even better price.
Malik Willis 1st QB, Jameson Williams 1st WR, Breece Hall 1st RB drafted +500
If you like Williams to go in the Top 10, and I do, there’s a decent chance he’s the first receiver off the board. Decent enough that it’s worth throwing in a unit or two at five to one.
Green Bay Packers to Select a WR With Both Their First Round Picks +550
In Brian Gutekunst’s first draft as GM of the Packers, he picked CBs with his first two picks, so there’s precedent for him doubling down to address a hole in the roster. Given their position at 22 and 28, barring an unexpected draft slide, WRs may be the best players available to him. Again, worth a few shekels to find out at this price.
New York Jets to Select Ahmad Gardner and Jameson Williams in Round One +800
This is exactly how I have it mocked out, so I’m a -5000 favorite to be all over this line.
Look out for more Club Dyntasy content after the draft. We’ll have articles and rookie rankings ready for your dynasty drafts.