2020 NFL Power Five Draft Prop Odds
April 15, 2020
By Tony Mejia
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The 2020 NFL Draft takes center stage as the showcase event for the sporting world for the entire spring on Thursday April 23, 2020.
VegasInsider.com has provided plenty of in-depth betting analysis and you can check out more specific pieces here.
NFL Draft Betting Resources
Pac-12 'under' lone 'chalk' prop worth riding
While roughly half of the NFL Draft’s first round is expected to hail from the SEC, you can still wager on props for the remaining leagues in the Power Five.
FanDuel set its odds for NFL Draft first-round picks. The total expected to hail from the Southeastern Conference was placed at 15.5 but there are also has numbers available on multiple players from the Big Ten, Big 12, ACC and Pac-12 hearing their names called on April 23.
My position on there being at least 16 players drafted out of the SEC in the first round remains unchanged as the first week of April ends but there are still a few weeks left to determine how teams will approach what promises to be the most unique draft ever.
The lack of pro days and workouts due to COVID-19 have created obstacles for teams due to travel restrictions and gathering guidelines, but it remains to be seen whether teams will find a way to get a closer look at prospects they’ve zeroed in on.
The Big Ten is expected to have the most players selected behind the SEC and have its total set at 5.5, which looks low considering three of the top six picks are likely to hail from the league. The Big 12’s number is set at 3.5 while the ACC and Pac-12 should each have at least two players taken but have to clear 2.5 first-round picks in order to prevail for ‘over’ bettors.
Ohio State’s Chase Young, who set the Buckeyes’ single-season sack record with 16.5, will be the first defensive player chosen. College teammate Jeff Okudah is considered the top defensive back in the draft. He’ll be the first cornerback taken and may go top-five. Iowa’s Tristan Wirfs is arguably the best offensive lineman available and is who I’m backing to emerge as the first at his position to hear his name called.
If you’re betting the ‘over’ here, half your work might be done within the draft’s first hour. The high side is a -124 ($124 to win $100) favorite, but you will likely be in for a long wait after the top seven or eight picks. Betting the ‘under’ (-102) seems to be a headier play. Penn State’s defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos has moved ahead of Iowa’s A.J. Epenesa on most draft boards despite the Hawkeyes’ standout coming into last season rated higher. Both may end up being first-rounders, but my expectation is that there will only be room for one among the first 32 picks.
Minnesota safety Antoine Winfield, Jr. is a top-10 defensive back in this draft but probably won’t hear his name in the first round. I bet he’ll end up being one of the best selections and offer terrific value in the second round but that won’t help over bettors here.
Ohio State has four more highly-rated prospects in corner Damon Arnette, linebacker Malik Harrison, RB J.K. Dobbins and guard Jonah Jackson. They’re all ranked consistently among the top 75 but are unlikely to go until the second round.
Michigan center Cesar Ruiz is the youngest interior lineman in the draft and has excellent feet, but I don’t see a team taking any non-tackles in the first round to solidify their situation up front.
Wisconsin’s Tyler Biadasz is considered a notch below Ruiz among centers and has a shot to go in the second round too. Record-setting RB Jonathan Taylor is lumped in with Georgia’s D’Andre Swift as the top options available as their position but I only see one team pulling the trigger on a running back on the draft’s opening Thursday. Due to less mileage and his ability to be more of a weapon catching passes out of the backfield, Swift is more likely to be a first-rounder than Taylor.
The Badgers’ most likely first-round pick is versatile linebacker Zack Baun, who may be one of those guys who decides props since he’ll be in the mix among the final few picks. He can move outside as an edge rusher and will play early, but there are scouts who don’t have a first-round grade on him.
Although we could see six Big Ten products selected among the first 32, I don’t believe the conference will land more than five choices.
FanDuel NFL Draft odds for this league’s prop will require Oklahoma getting a little help from other parts of the league if ‘over’ 3.5 is to come to fruition. The high side (+134, $100 to win $134) is an underdog certainly worth a look, while the ‘under’ (-172, $172 to win $100, $100 to win $58.14) is priced at a point where it’s not exactly worth it to take the plunge.
It does appear that the only lock first-rounder coming out of the Big 12 this season is my choice to go first among receivers, Sooners star CeeDee Lamb. The electric All-American won’t be around once the first two hours are in the books, but there’s a chance that there won’t be another player from the entire conference selected on the draft’s opening night.
OU teammate Kenneth Murray, a bulky linebacker who was a tackle machine throughout his career, has a first-round grade from some and may find a home in the 20’s.
TCU corner Jeff Gladney has ridiculous speed that may allow him to overcome concerns over being too small, especially since he’s projected to be an above-average tackler. There are enough teams who like him that it’s worth taking a shot on an ‘over’ prop.
Other names who could sneak into the first round to aid the cause is Baylor receiver Denzel Mims, who had a fantastic combine and posted a 4.38 40-time but may end up on the outside looking in due to how deep the 2020 NFL Draft receiving crop is. TCU wideout Jaelen Reagor is in that mix, while Horned Frogs defensive tackle Ross Blacklock , a 6-foot-3, 290-pounder, has an opportunity to go in the opening round as well. Take a shot with the ‘over.’
After a rough season where every Atlantic Coast Conference team except Clemson dropped at least five games and only three teams other than the finished with a conference mark above .500, it’s no surprise that there aren’t a lot of first-round prospects to count on.
The Tigers will be represented in the Top 10 by talented hybrid linebacker Isaiah Simmons, who might have the biggest impact of any defensive player in this draft considering his versatility and how ready to play he looks. Louisville will be the only team to contribute to this cause and has the only Top-50 prospect who didn’t go to Clemson in 6-foot-7, 370-pound Mekhi Becton, one of the draft’s top tackles. There’s concern that he’s too raw to beat out a few of the other best prospects up front but he’s likely to be off the board before Thursday night ends.
Unfortunately for ACC bettors willing to lay -190 on ‘over’ 2.5 ($190 to win $100, $100 to win $52.63), Clemson corner A.J. Terrell, receiver Tee Higgins and guard John Simpson will all likely be second or third-round choices. Virginia CB Bryce Hall, Syracuse DE Aldon Robinson and highly respected running backs from FSU (Cam Akers) and Boston College (A.J. Dillon) are in the top-100 mix but won’t be first-day options. I’d be worried about Terrell slipping into the first round but still believe the only way to bet this is to ride the ‘under’ (+148, $100 to win $148).
The biggest lock in the conference-related NFL Draft prop game involves fading the Pac-12. Oregon QB Justin Herbert looks like he’ll be the third quarterback selected as a likely Top-10 pick. After that, the Conference of Champions may not see another player taken until the second night rolls around.
‘Under’ 2.5 is a huge favorite (-210, $210 to win $100, $100 to win $47.62) as a result, although USC tackle Austin Jackson and Utah corner Jaylen Johnson could potentially play spoiler. Both would have to be selected to deliver for ‘over’ 2.5 (+162, $100 to win $162), which I just don’t see happening. Receivers Brandon Aiyuk (Arizona State) and Michael Pittman, Jr. (USC) also have a chance to contribute immediately, but figure to be available when he second round begins. Look for the heavy favorite to cash.
NFL Draft Predictions
Best Bet: UNDER 5.5 Big Ten First-Round Picks (-116)
Best Bet: OVER 3.5 Big 12 First-Round Picks (+134)
Best Bet: UNDER 2.5 ACC First-Round Picks (+200)
Best Bet: UNDER 2.5 Pac-12 First-Round Picks (-210)
Odds provided by Fan Duel (IN, NJ, PA & WV only)
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