NFL fans long wait for this year’s college draft is almost over with the first round scheduled for this Thursday night, followed by the next six rounds of picks on Friday and Saturday. For anyone one who loves to wager on the NFL, now is the time to get in on all the action with a number of player prop bet odds posted by Bovada for this year’s NFL Draft.
I have gone through the extensive list of betting options for Thursday night’s first round at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago to come up with my top three prop bet picks on the board.
Todd Gurley’s Draft Position
Most of the attention in this year’s NFL Draft has been focused around two high-profile quarterbacks in Jameis Winston from Florida State and Marcus Mariota from Oregon. One of the best subplots heading in Thursday’s opening round is the draft position of former Georgia running back Todd Gurley.
Even though he is a coming off a torn ACL, he has been gaining serious traction lately as a high first-round pick. Bovada has set the prop bet odds at -120 for either the “over” or the “under” 15.5 as his draft position in the first round. Depending on how much weight you put on the top two draft gurus in the game, Mel Kiper Jr. has him going to Cleveland with the 19th overall pick and Todd McShay has him going sixth to the New York Jets.
I am going to side with McShay’s school of thought with a play on the under in this prop based on my “over-hyped” theory of the draft. Once a player starts moving up the board with a bullet like Gurley has over the past few weeks, some team out there is going to jump at the chance to try and capitalize on this newfound value. It may not be the Jets, but Gurley will be off the board by the time Houston will be on the clock at 16.
How Many Running Backs are Selected in the First Round?
As an extension of my pick in the first prop, I turned my attention to Bovada’s betting odds for how many running backs will be drafted in the first round. The betting moneyline for over 1.5 has been set at a hefty -400, while the line for the under is set at +250.
This prop carries some heavy risk and reward once you agree that Gurley is coming off the board in the first round. The next-highest-rated running back on the board by many experts is Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon. His stock has also been rising as of late, and many mock draft experts are starting to add his name as a potential first-round pick.
Running backs are not traditionally thought of as having enough value to warrant a first-round pick, and many teams will wait until the later rounds to try and fill a need at this position. Gordon carries some strong credentials into this draft, and he could ride that wave of momentum if Gurley goes as early as I think. However, I am still going to take the value in these odds by suggesting the former Badger standout falls to an early pick in the second round to keep this prop under the 1.5 total.
Amari Cooper’s Draft Position
This year’s college draft is loaded with talent at the wide receiver position, and the name at the top of most experts list is Alabama’s Amari Cooper. The betting odds that he is drafted either under or over the No. 6 overall pick are both set at -120. A stat from NFL.com tells us that half the NFL teams that have a scheduled pick in the Top 10 of the draft have hosted a personal visit from Cooper, so the interest as a very high pick is definitely there. Going back to our top two draft experts, both Kiper Jr. and McShay have him going fourth overall to Oakland — these two rarely agree upon anything, so that is significant.
Cooper would fit right in with the past mindset of the Raiders organization given his quick speed and ability to explode off the line of scrimmage. If he somehow gets past Oakland at four, you have Washington sitting at five and the Jets at six. I feel comfortable enough that the Raiders will not pass him by to go with a play on the under 6 in this prop.
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