2020 NFL Draft Props Column
April 21, 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
After Burrow goes 1, Draft Fun Begins
This NFL draft will have many more eyes on it due to social distancing measures still intact due to the crippling COVID-19 pandemic. Count on more action, too. Considering live sports have been limited to horse racing, darts, table tennis, iGaming and some of the globe’s most obscure soccer leagues, placing a few wagers on players and teams we’ve actually all heard of sounds appealing.
There’s no intrigue regarding the No. 1 pick. The Bengals won’t be trading out of drafting Joe Burrow. FanDuel Sportsbook has him at -100000 to be the top choice.
No, there’s no value in Tua Tagovailoa (+2000) sneaking in ahead of him.
Whether the Dolphins or Chargers covet the Alabama quarterback badly enough to trade up to No. 3, where the Lions are an eager trade partner, will be where this draft’s intrigue lies.
Props are going to ensure that the entire broadcast of Thursday’s opening round will be watched with the excitement rivaled only by the debut of ESPN’s Michael Jordan documentary, “The Last Dance.” Expect a public starved at the lack of sports to bet to lock in for more than their team’s selection of that offensive tackle they know nothing about.
A lot of pre-draft work had already been done prior to our lives being placed on pause. The combine did get off and teams were able to identify who they liked early. Since the typical process leading up to the event has been compromised, front office personnel will be making decisions based on what they’ve seen on film and learned in video conferences, trusting their gut even more than normal. It should be a great and profitable night. Here are some bullet points to follow along with.
Alive for Top-Five
FanDuel lists only two locks on its top-five prop as the week begins, setting Burrow and Ohio State pass rusher Chase Young as -200000 locks. Buckeyes corner Jeff Okudah (-400) is the only player heavily favored to join the presumptive top two picks among the first five selections since he’s unlikely to slip all the way out even if the Lions do trade out of the third spot and a quarterback or another defensive player goes No. 3.
Tua Tagovailoa was once a lock to be in this group. As of Monday evening, he was still favored to land in this mix despite books dramatically altering odds to decrease liability in the even that he’ll end up with the Jaguars after their busy Monday. Jacksonville doesn’t pick until No. 9, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see expectations continue to dip. FanDuel lists him at +450 to be the No. 3 pick after being at even money to land there just a month ago.
His draft position prop figure was at 3.5 at most shops just a few weeks ago but is now up at 5.5 (u-134). Betting that he’ll be around for pick No. 6 is now available at FanDuel sportsbook at -102 after being plus-money for the past few months. DraftKings listed the ‘over’ at +110.
The Jags were +700 at William Hill to land Tua, while the Dolphins (+100) and Chargers (+140) are still most likely to gamble on his potential over fear that he’ll continue to be sabotaged by injuries. They’ve kept their number at 3.5 but are at -360 on the high side while paying out +280.
Miami could strike a deal to ensure Tagovailoa does wind up in South Florida with pick No. 3 after initially going the smoke-screen route on an early strategy to get him to fall into its lap. If you believe the Dolphins won’t be able to pass up on Plan A following last season’s tank job, making sure another team doesn’t find a way to get up ahead of them is within their means. I’m not sure I buy this collective souring on Tua that has unfolded over the past few months. If he ends up going third, FanDuel lists a top-three exact-order prop with Burrow, Young and Tagovailoa as the options going off at +460.
Second Fiddle Plays and Pays
With Burrow going No. 1 and Young set to follow, the top offensive and defensive players in this draft aren’t up for debate going into this event. There’s money to be made on who the second player selected along both sides of the ball.
Offense: T Jedrick Wills +150, Tua +300, Wirfs +300, T Andrew Thomas +1400, T Mekhi Becton +1500, Burrow +4000, WRs Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb, Henry Ruggs III +5500, QB Jordan Love +6000
Tagovailoa is the play here, although Wirfs tripling your investment is worth a look too if it’s looking like Miami won’t need to trade down. Wills has gained a lot of steam as the top tackle taken, but Wirfs still strikes me as the soundest option available up front.
Defense: Okudah -170, LB Isaiah Simmons +370, DT Derrick Brown +420, CB CJ Henderson +1200, DT Javon Kinlaw +1900, Young +3400, DT K’Lavon Chaisson +5000, S Grant Delpit, LB Kenneth Murray, S Xavier McKinney +6000
Okudah is the most likely pick for a reason since he could be Detroit’s pick at No. 3 and would be someone Atlanta might trade its way up to address a major concern. Simmons and Brown are nice options if Okudah slips and will be the first linebacker and defensive lineman selected, respectively, but the smart money lies with resisting the urge to cash in big here and hanging with the Buckeyes’ corner as ‘chalk.’
Catch this trio and Cash
FanDuel and DraftKings each have an exact WR prop available that pays out nicely if you’re able to choose correctly. Jeudy, Lamb and Ruggs are each viewed as top-15 prospects. Although LSU’s Justin Jefferson is considered the top slot threat in this draft, I don’t think he’ll be taken ahead of the three guys who are best-equipped to have the most impact.
Jeudy’s route-running and fantastic hands put him higher on my board than Ruggs, whose 4.27 40-yard dash make him a coveted option for teams looking to stretch the field. Oklahoma’s Lamb is my favorite receiver in this mix, a likely No. 1 who is slightly bigger than Jeudy with similar attributes.
Backing Lamb, Jeudy, Ruggs, in that order, nets you +180 at FanDuel, while riding Jeudy ahead of Lamb with Ruggs third would haul in +250 if correct. Both props are an identical +350 at DraftKings, so it’s advantageous to play this there if you’re so inclined.
Ruggs, who reportedly scored significantly higher on his Wonderlic test than Lamb or Jeudy, has the longest odds to lead this top-three prop. Ruggs-Lamb-Jeudy pays +950 while Ruggs-Jeudy-Lamb comes in at +1000. At DK, Ruggs-led top-threes come in at +600.
NFL Draft Predictions
Best Bet: Tua Tagovailoa UNDER 3.5 (+280)
Best Bet: Tua to be the No. 3 pick (+450)
Best Bet: Tua to be second offensive player picked (+300)
Best Bet: Okudah to be second offensive player picked (-170)
Best Bet: Top 3 WR Exact Order - Lamb, Jeudy, Ruggs (+350)
Odds provided by Fan Duel (IN, NJ, PA & WV only)
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