Sports bettors can take a shot on a myriad of NFL Draft bets
The annual spectacle that is the NFL draft takes place on Thursday and many of the top online sportsbook have plenty of NFL Draft prop bets available. betting on the NFL draft is nothing new, but as the draft has grown to become a huge event on the NFL calendar, so has wagering on the everything from the first pick, to what position will be chosen first for each team.
It's hard to believe that the draft has been televised for more than 40 years, with the first broadcast on ESPN in 1980. That year the hapless Detroit Lions took running back Billy Sims, out of Alabama, with the very first pick on TV. In part due to the massive popularity, the draft expanded to a three-day format in 2010, and moved out of New York City's Radio City Music Hall in 2015. The draft really peaked in 2019, when over 600,000 people attended draft week events in Nashville, TN and more than 43 million watched the three-day event on TV and streaming services.
#1 Overall Pick
The Chicago Bears did themselves a favor by trading down to give the Carolina Panthers the top pick in the 2023 NFL draft. The Panthers did the trade to insure they get a quarterback, it's that simple. And according to every mock draft, that QB is going to be Alabama's Bryce Young. At the top online sportsbooks, Young is a massive favorite at -2000.
Some mock drafts and prognosticators have a belief that the Panthers may take Ohio State's C.J. Stroud. He is bigger than Young, but is nowhere near as elusive and the offensive line is not one of Carolina's "strengths". Stroud is currently +700 at industry leading sportsbook BetOnline to be taken with the top overall pick. The rest of the draft class is better than 18-1, so it's going to be one of these two QBs going #1 and the other going #2 to Texas. In a late breaking story, a Reddit board message is apparently behind rumors Kentucky's Will Levis will go #1. He has received a ton of action to be drafted No. 1 in the last 12 hours and his odds to be selected first overall have gone from 40-1 this morning to 4-1 today. We're not buying it and neither should you.
First defensive player
This is another choice between two players, but this one appears to be much more competitive. Edge rushers Will Anderson and Tyree Wilson are pretty much a toss up to be chosen as the first defensive player chosen in the 2023 NFL Draft. This pick will most likely be Arizona at #3. The Cardinals pass rushing group was sub-par even with J.J. Watt, who retired at the end of the season. An edge rusher is the perfect fit for the Cardinals at number three.
This is one spot where having multiple outs can earn smart bettors some extra cash for a winning pick. BetUS has Wilson at the top of this NFL draft prop bet at -150, while BetOnline has him in the second spot at -130, and they have Anderson at -125, where BetUS is giving odds on Anderson at +120.
First pick by each team
The draft is analyzed and broken down ad infinitum for weeks on TV, podcasts and draft-themed website and often this makes it tough to find any value betting on the top picks. But at BetOnline, they offer what position will be picked first by nearly every team. A little research and taking a consensus of mock drafts can lead to big bucks here. Plus, this is also an NFL prop bet where bettors can follow the odds a bit.
For example, the Cincinnati Bengals do not get their first pick until #28. Though they could use some help at cornerback, most of the elite talent will be off the board by this choice. Thus, many mock drafts have the Bengals loading up on more weapons for Joe Burrow. The team is set with wide receivers Ja'Marr Chase, Taylor Boyd and Tee Higgins, but has gotten little production out of the tight end position in Burrow's three seasons. The 2023 draft is not loaded with TE prospects, Dallas has the #26 pick and may take top TE prospect Michael Mayer, but Utah's Dalton Kincaid is the best pass-catching tight end in this class. The odds for the first pick by the Bengals to be a TE is +125 at BetOnline.
Different ways to bet the draft
Many sportsbooks offer betting odds for the NFL draft, but have different offerings for bettors. At Bovada, players can wager on various players to be drafted in the first round, with the top 5 picks and the top 10 picks. BetUS and several other outlets offer a prop wager on which player will be taken by a specific team. "Which team will draft top running back prospect Bijan Robinson," where the Atlanta Falcons are the favorite at +150.
There are also prop bets available for how many players at each position will be drafted in the first round. Again, this is not being offered at every top online sportsbook, probably because there is money to be made for experienced bettors and NFL draft enthusiasts. The odds are skewed toward over on bets like total number of defensive backs chosen in the first round, where over 5.5 looks good, but maybe not at -200.
And Bovada offers some NFL Draft betting parlay-like props under the category, "Requested Specials". These are setup like the same game parlay being made popular at U.S sportsbooks. For example, you can bet on 3+ tight ends AND 5+ QBs to be taken in the first round at 3-1. Or one like Darnell Wright OR Broderick Jones to be drafted as the first O-Lineman.
Bettors still have some time to do the research and find the best odds and bets from the top sportsbooks for betting on the NFL. Then, sit back and get comfortable. The Thursday night NFL Draft show starts at 8 PM ET, continues Friday at 7PM with rounds two and three and concludes on Saturday with the remaining four rounds. And don't forget, gamblers can even bet on Mr. Irrelevant, the last player to be chosen in the draft.