I’m not going to sit here and pretend that I am some professional handicapper, actually I am far from it. However, in a draft like no other where nobody knows what is actually going to happen there is definitely some good value to be had in some of the NFL Draft Props that some sports books are putting out.
Year after year, the media has their consensus of who should be selected at the top of drafts, and those ideas tend to differ from what actually happens. Teams have infinitely more information on these players than anyone in the media does, so I tend to lean towards where that information points me. I’m not saying I am going to get every pick right, no one ever will, but I try to be as objective as possible when doing mock drafts and have put in hours of research on this topic.
Based on nuggets I have seen throughout the draft cycle about how teams view certain players and positions in the draft, there are definitely some solid value bets to take if you’re looking to make some extra money.
Without further ado here are the eight best bets I have for the NFL Draft tomorrow night.
(THIS IS NOT FINANCIAL ADVICE)
*Odds via Bovada
Mac Jones to be the third overall pick (-200)
The 49ers have dropped hints ever since they traded up to pick three that Mac Jones is the guy they want. With Shanahan’s comments this week, that notion is a little more clear. Reports have come out that the 49ers’ brass has narrowed their selection down to Jones and Trey Lance, but GM John Lynch has said that at the end of the day it is Kyle Shanahan’s decision despite scouts pushing for Lance. I think because the general consensus of the media is that Jones should NOT be the pick, the odds are low. I would give it about a 95% chance you hear Jones’ name called for the third pick on Thursday. The odds aren’t insanely good, but it is free money in my opinion.
Azeez Ojulari draft position over 26.5 (+115)
I think there was a chance Ojulari could’ve lasted until the second round even before word came out that he has some knee injury concerns that are turning teams away. I think if he were to go in the first round, it wouldn’t be to a team picking before 26 anyways but rather a team who can draft for upside and not worry about the injuries like the Buccaneers. In a COVID year where it’s harder to evaluate players regardless, I don’t think teams will be too keen on taking players in the first round that carry the risk that players like Ojulari have.
Kyle Pitts to go fourth overall (-150)
Even with Pitts’ comments yesterday saying he thinks the Falcons will take a quarterback, what I have heard is that new head coach Arthur Smith loves Matt Ryan. Whether or not you want to believe it, Ryan is still a top-12 quarterback in the league and is owed around 50M dollars over the next two years with no easy out. I think the Falcons have a pretty good roster as it stands and the generational-like talent that Pitts is coming into that offense is far more valuable than drafting a project quarterback for two-three years down the line.
I think that the reports that they could take a quarterback are more smoke to get a team to pay a king’s ransom for their pick rather than actually wanting to take one. I would take this bet and run the money to the bank.
Jaycee Horn draft position under 12.5 (-155) / Jaycee Horn first CB drafted (+160)
I think there is a real possibility that the Cowboys could take Horn at pick 10, and even if not I don’t see him getting past the Eagles at 12. Small chance he could even go to the Panthers at pick eight if the top two tackles are off the board. Regardless, I think that Horn’s ceiling in the draft is pick 12 which is (obviously) under 12.5.
I can’t really see another corner coming off the board prior to pick 10 with the Cowboys and they need one badly. Maybe it’s just my love for Horn speaking, but I think there is really good value in both of those bets.
Jaylen Waddle first WR drafted (+700)
While I think there is a very good chance that Ja’Marr Chase goes to the Bengals at pick five, here is why Waddle is a great value. If the Bengals opt to (what I think they should do) take Penei Sewell over Chase, then all eyes go to the Dolphins at pick six. A lot of teams have reportedly ranked Waddle ahead of Chase on their big boards based mainly off the fact that Chase opted out last year. Waddle has game-breaking speed that can’t be replicated with just anyone, and has all the other tools necessary to be a great receiver at the next level.
Tua Tagovailoa had an average throwing depth of 6.4 yards last year, which is extremely low. They already have big and physical targets on the outside in DeVante Parker and Preston Williams. What they really need is a big play threat like Waddle to really open things up for Tua next year in hopes that he takes the next step.
For the odds of +700 compared to the realistic possibility of teams being scared about Ja’Marr Chase’s opt-out, I would play a small amount of money on Waddle being taken first.
Caleb Farley draft position over 23.5 (-120)
While I think Farley is extremely talented, I think that teams are very concerned about his back injury. I did some research and there is about an 80% recovery rate from the surgery that was performed on him early this year, but a 20% chance that your first-round pick may never be the same or even play again is a pretty high risk especially in a corner class as deep as this is.
There is a real chance that Farley doesn’t even get drafted in the first round in general, but I feel pretty confident that he won’t get drafted before the 24th pick.
Zaven Collins draft position under 25.5 (-120)
I think there is a sweet spot in the draft from pick 16 with the Cardinals to pick 19 with the Football Team where all those teams can easily be in the market for a linebacker. With Parsons and Owusu-Koramoah likely gone, I can see Collins being the third LB drafted. The odds that one of those three teams draft a linebacker are pretty high, and I really don’t see Collins getting past Washington at pick 19 given his athletic profile being perfect for Ron Rivera’s system. If the line was set at 19.5, I would be a little skeptical but 25.5 is simply too high for an athletic linebacker that is as coveted as Zaven Collins has been by teams to this point in the process.
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah first linebacker drafted (+650)
Between the opt-out and character concerns, I can see a player like Parsons sliding down the board pretty far. JOK is a very scheme versatile linebacker that can play in the box or out in the slot. He fits a couple of defenses at the top of the board infinitely better than Parsons does. While I can easily see a team falling in love with Parsons’ athletic profile and drafting him first regardless of his issues, the odds are simply way too good for something I can absolutely see happening.