Sizing up NFL Draft prop bets

Gambling lines offer clues on how things will go Thursday

Mike Schopp
April 23, 2019 - 12:12 pm

Using the site BetOnline, I'm looking over the NFL Draft prop bets to see what predictions might be right to make about Round 1 on Thursday night.


  • Will a top-10 pick be traded on draft day?

Yes: -700
No: +400

Obviously here the bettors are planning on somebody trading their early pick. Note that it has to be on Thursday to qualify. No Top-10 pick has been traded this year yet. There are good candidates to break the seal. The New York Jets spent their second-round pick last year to move up (Sam Darnold), and at No. 3 are in prime position to slide down. Is there a player someone will pay up for? A line of -700 seems steep for the likelihood of an early trade. Too steep for me. I might throw a nickel on the No side in case the market on these defensive players at the top of most boards just isn't that strong.


  • Will a quarterback be selected first and second overall?

Yes: +600
No: -1500

Let's say Oklahoma's Kyler Murray does go No. 1 to the Arizona Cardinals. We know that the San Francisco 49ers is into trades, having moved down a spot two years ago in the Mitchell Trubisky trade, then spending a pick on Jimmy Garoppolo. I can see the 49ers moving down, but is someone really going to No. 2 for one of Dwayne Haskins, Drew Lock or Daniel Jones? That would be shocking. If you've got the stomach for a -1500 line -- and the bankroll, as that's $100 to win $6.67 -- then play away as that seems pretty safe.


  • Quarterbacks selected in Round 1?

Over 3.5, -450
Under 3.5, +275

This over 3.5 line has jumped up in recent days. There's Murray, Haskins, Lock and Jones -- all ranging from surefire first rounder to probable. Then there's Will Grier of West Virginia, who of late has been the center of speculation among teams at the bottom of Round 1. That fifth year of team control is especially enticing in this day and age where first round quarterbacks are often starting Day 1. I'm totally on the over here. One potential thorn in the over's side is Josh Rosen; if he's traded to a team like Washington or Miami, that knocks one considered quarterback suitor off the list. Still, follow the money!


  • Ed Oliver selected eighth or earlier?

Yes: -300
No: +200

Put another way, this prop bet is "Will Ed Oliver be available for the Bills at No. 9?". The odds lean no. The Jets (No. 3) are rumored to be into him, and each of the Oakland Raiders (No. 4), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (No. 5) and New York Giants (No. 6) could make sense too. A bet on no here, I think, is a specific indictment on Oliver -- not a major one, but a slight one. That's opposed to there being a player or players that teams will jump up or "reach" for. I'm not leaning strongly one way or the other here.


  • Jawaan Taylor selected seventh or earlier?

Yes: -120
No +120

I like this one -- an even split focusing on the Florida tackle and the seventh pick, which belongs to the Jacksonville Jaguars. I like the idea of Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson more for the Jaguars, so I'd consider a small bet on the no here.


  • Montez Sweat selected eighth or earlier?

Yes: +250
No: -400

This comes down largely to whether you believe recent speculation that teams are worried about Sweat's health. Here's my regular disclosure that I'm gullible. With there being seemingly worthy alternatives in the top-eight, I have no reservations betting No here.


  • Will a wide receiver be selected 15th or earlier?

Yes: +150
No: -200

The Washington Redskins have the 15th pick. If you like them trading for Josh Rosen, then that's a tick toward Yes here. If not, perhaps Washington is in the quarterback market with this pick. They're also a candidate to trade up for a quarterback. I think most of the other teams in the top-15 won't get anywhere near a receiver with their picks, so I'll take No and roll the dice on the Redskins. Relatedly, there's an even -120 bet on whether D.K. Metcalf goes in the top-18. The 16th pick belongs to the Carolina Panthers; I'll predict there's an offensive tackle they like more. 17 (Giants) and 18 (Minnesota Vikings) don't seem like receiver spots for me. I'm a No here too.

  • Clemson players selected in Round 1?

Over 2.5, -120
Under 2.5, -120

I'm no after no on these picks so I want to share one yes that I like -- this one. I'll side with three Clemson guys going in Round 1 -- all defensive linemen (Wilkins, Ferrell, Lawrence).


I think it's that kind of year, where defensive studs are the story of the draft. There will be some quarterback action, but I think most running backs and wide receivers will have to wait. Rookie receivers need time, and running backs aren't worth the high pick. (Quarterbacks need time too, but teams aren't willing to wait.) 

I like that Clemson bet or ones like it because then your action can take you to the end of the first round. Same with the quarterback bet. I've been out with friends to bet on the draft the last couple of years and it's been fun, but by the end of it everyone is bored and tired. This can keep your interest up.

Good luck!

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