NFL Draft Odds: Bets For The Extravaganza In Las Vegas
NFL Draft Betting Tip:
The NFL’s wild 2022 off-season rolls on to the traditional centrepiece of the eight football-less months – the draft – this Thursday night and it’ll be tough to live up to the rest of the off-field drama we’ve seen in the last few months.
Though with Las Vegas the venue this year, NFL betting sites have plenty of markets that could see you hit the jackpot with the right bets.
What Is The NFL Draft?
The NFL Draft takes place over three days this year, from April 28 to April 30. The league’s 32 teams spend months beforehand scouting, analysing and interviewing the top college American football players before picking the very best to plug holes in their rosters.
And some have more holes than others. The Jacksonville Jaguars have the first overall pick for the second year in a row, with the Detroit Lions at number two and Houston Texans coming up at three.
Several teams have multiple first round picks this year having traded other assets, with the New York Jets placed to double up at both the fourth and 10th spots, while their local NFC rivals, the Giants, have the fifth and seventh picks.
Of likely Super Bowl challengers, Kansas City and Green Bay also have a pair each in the first round following blockbuster trades for their star receivers having gone down in the trade bonanza of recent months.
Meanwhile, the champion Rams have none because they traded their first round pick away for the man who led them to the Super Bowl, Matt Stafford.
Who Will Be The First Overall Pick?
Often a consensus first overall pick emerges during the draft season, but there’s been a lot of flux around the premier talents this year - especially with no outstanding QB prospects and a number of potential pass-rushing stars available.
Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux was considered to be the likeliest number one before the turn of the year, but an injury-affected season, plus concerns about his personality fit with teams, has seen his stock drop.
Until very recently, Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson was thought to be nailed on for Jacksonville first overall call, but expectations have flipped to a third quarterback crusher, Travon Walker, in the last week or so.
Hutchinson and Thibodeaux have both outproduced the Georgia Edge rusher in their college exploits, but he blew up the scouting combine with an explosive performance and Jaguars GM Trent Baalke has a history of selecting based on potential over production.
Walker is now heavily odds-on to go first, with betting sites offering a best price of 1/2, so it looks like the word is out on Walker.
It is possible the Jaguars are trying to smoke out a trade partner, in which case Hutchinson at 3/1, is the best bet.
Who Will Be The First Quarterback Drafted?
While the quarterbacks in this class aren’t as heralded as previous years, the desperation of teams to find the right guy under centre should never be underestimated.
Looking at teams who could be in the market for one, Detroit might spend their second overall slot on a passer, but defensive needs will probably trump on the night, so Carolina’s number six pick looks the earliest we could see a team take a swing.
Malik Willis has risen up boards in recent months after an impressive pro day, and his potential as a playmaker in the running game will appeal to some, but he’s likely to take time to settle into the pros, while Kenny Pickett looks far more ready to step into an NFL offence.
That could be decisive for the Panthers head coach Matt Rhule, who has cycled through both Sam Darnold and Teddy Bridgewater without success at starter.
His job might be on the line this year, making the 6/4 available on William Hill worth considering for Pickett to be the first QB off the board.
How Many QBs Will Be Drafted In The First Round?
Other teams looking for help at the position include the Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks, New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons, while Detroit have a second pick in the first round at 32 - and there’s always the potential for a surprise if another team falls in love with a prospect.
That goes some way to explaining why the line of 2.5 QBs to be drafted in the first round is as short as 4/11.
With Willis and Pickett the likeliest first round QBs, an additional name to watch is Desmond Ridder, a two-time AAC Offensive Player of the Year, who is priced at 5/6 to be drafted at 30.5 or higher.
He’s also a tempting 10/1 dark horse for the first QB to be drafted as he’s a potential starter for a needy team in 2022.
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How Many Wide Receivers Will Be Drafted In The First Round?
There are big expectations for this receiver class, and that means there are some big numbers expected on betting markets in the first round too.
The line for the total amount of wideouts drafted has been set at 6.5, with under a slight favourite at 41/50. A quick look at recent history shows just how high this number is – only twice in the last 12 drafts have six picks been spent on pass-catchers in the first round (2015 and 2020).
Five went last year, so this could be the sign of a change in the league approach to the position, a trend which would align with the huge contracts going to star receivers this offseason.
However, the historical record is hard to go against, and with the talent-level much talked about, it’s reasonable to think several target-needy teams wait to the second round or later to address their requirements.
Who Will Be The First Wide Receiver Drafted?
This almost feels as wide-open as the quarterback conundrum facing teams this year.
Garrett Wilson and Drake London are two of the popular names, but Jameson Williams presents speed neither of those possess and that could make the difference.
A complicating factor is he’s on the recovery trail from ACL injury sustained in the college playoffs. With the Atlanta Falcons picking at eight and clearly facing into a huge rebuild having traded away Matt Ryan, they can afford Williams the time he needs to fully recuperate before he shows his full potential in 2023.
He’s the 2/1 on BetVictor second favourite to be the first receiver off the board at various betting sites, and you can back him at 11/2 to be the eighth pick in the draft.
Position Of The First Player Drafted By The Buffalo Bills
A lot of the postseason chatter around the current Super Bowl favourites has suggested they could bulk up their running game through the draft, but the odds available with bookmakers have seen the chances of that recede as wiser heads prevail in Orchard Park.
The Bills’ biggest issue in their playoff loss to the Chiefs was that their defence could not stop Pat Mahomes in late in their Divisional Round showdown.
It’d probably be wiser to take a cornerback as they’ve already invested heavily up-front. They’re 2/1 to do just that.
Position Of The First Player Drafted By The Chicago Bears
The Bears are one of a few teams without a first round pick.
They could trade up on the night, but even if they hold tight until day two, they’re likely to be left with a plethora of receivers to pick from and that is certainly a position of need when you consider that Equanimeous St Brown is their second-best option behind Darnell Mooney currently.
They’re 21/10 to address that as soon as they’re on the clock.
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