NFL Draft First-Round Props Odds and Picks
by Alan Matthews - 4/24/2013
Thankfully, we all can stop hearing from Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay by the end of the weekend -- although I'm sure both come out with 2014 Big Boards early next week -- with the NFL Draft set to begin Thursday night with the first round in New York. There are several great options on first-round props spread across Bovada and BetOnline -- too many to list here, so I recommend taking a look. Here are some I liked and my recommendations.
Bovada asks who the second overall pick will be by the Jaguars, presuming no trade. I don't expect a deal because there's no true franchise player worth trading up for into that No. 2 spot like Washington did last year to get Robert Griffin III. The majority of major mock drafts I have read have the Jags taking a defensive player there, and their new coach is Gus Bradley, the former defensive coordinator of the Seahawks (he was only head coach hired this offseason with a defensive background). However, the site has Central Michigan offensive tackle Eric Fisher as the 11/10 favorite followed by Oregon defensive end Dion Jordan at 5/4. I like Jordan here. For one, the Jags are desperate for pass rushers after finishing dead last a year ago with 20 sacks. Secondly, Fisher could go No. 1 to Kansas City -- it's either him or Texas A&M's Luke Joeckel (I believe Joeckel). The only other name I generally hear with the Jags is BYU defensive end Ziggy Ansah (4/1).
The site doesn't offer odds on the No. 3 pick, probably because the Oakland Raiders usually don't know what they are doing themselves. At No. 4 with Philadelphia, Geno Smith isn't an option. That surprises me as a little more than a week ago I thought he would go there. Now reports are the Eagles -- and many other teams -- are cooling on Smith. Of course, it could also be a smokescreen. Oklahoma offensive tackle Lane Johnson is the +125 favorite here, followed by Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei (+160). I happen to think a team trades into this spot (Chargers? Cardinals?) and takes Fisher, and he's not a prop option.
The Lions are currently No. 5, and the +125 favorite is Johnson, and I would jump there. Early mocks had Detroit taking Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner (+450), but a recent report has Milliner already having five surgeries in his young career. That will scare the Lions off this early.
There's an “over/under” of seven offensive linemen in the first round set at BetOnline, with the under a -140 favorite. The three I already mentioned are locks, as are Alabama's Chance Warmack and D.J. Fluker and North Carolina's Jonathan Cooper. After that, maybe Florida State's Menelik Watson, Oregon's Kyle Long and Syracuse's Justin Pugh could go. I think two do, so go over.
It's a very weak draft for skill position talent, with Alabama's Eddie Lacy considered the only first-round running back. There's an over/under of his spot: 22.5, with the over at -200. Why 22.5? The Rams pick No. 22 and need a running back after letting Steven Jackson go. The Bengals at No. 21 also could take Lacy. The Packers at No. 26 would be thrilled to get him. I think he goes to either Cincinnati or St. Louis, so take over. You can also get whether Lacy goes to an NFC team (-130) or AFC team (+100). Have to lean NFC there because you have two real options in the Rams and Packers but one in the Bengals. There's an over/under of first-round running backs at .5, with under at -160. That shocks me. Take over at +130.
The receivers with first-round grades all have one question or another about them. West Virginia's Tavon Austin and Tennessee's Cordarrelle Patterson and Justin Hunter should all go in the first round. Cal's Keenan Allen and Clemson's DeAndre Hopkins might. There's an over/under of 3.5 receivers in the round. I go over there because Allen sneaks in. There is a prop on whether Hunter (-250) or Hopkins (+170) goes first, and I obviously lean Hunter there. That Hopkins is a first-rounder is +110 and “no” at -140. I'd go with no.
Will Notre Dame's Manti Te'o be a first-round pick? “Yes” is -200 and no at +160. I think there's no way he gets by Baltimore at No. 32, so go yes. Who goes first, Te'o (+130) or Georgia linebacker Alec Ogletree (-160)? The Dawg comes with his own off-the-field questions but has a higher ceiling. He's the guy.
Another player very familiar with off-the-field issues is ultra-talented Tyrann Mathieu. The Honey Badger smoked his way off the LSU team and ended any chance he would be a first-round pick. There's an over/under prop on Mathieu's draft spot: 75.5, with over at -130. The good news is he did reportedly pass a drug test at the combine. The No. 75.5 pick is between No. 13-14 in the third round. He looks like an early third-rounder to me, so take under. You can also bet on the round Mathieu goes, and third is the +140 favorite.
So what about Geno Smith? I'm not sure where he falls now, but there's no doubt he will be a first-rounder. The question is: Will any other QB join him there? That just one quarterback is taken is the first is the +100 favorite, followed by two at +200. I lean two there because the Bills seem likely to take Syracuse's Ryan Nassib at some point in the first. I don't think Southern Cal's Matt Barkley makes it.
That Barkley is taken by an AFC team is -120 and an NFC one -110. If the Bills are zeroed in on Smith, that likely leaves the Cardinals, Browns and Jaguars as Barkley options early in the second round; he wouldn't fit in Chip Kelly's system with the Eagles. Arizona might be scared off by USC quarterbacks after Matt Leinart, so I'd lean AFC here and think Barkley would be a solid fit in warm-weather Jacksonville with the first pick of the second round.
But by far the best prop is the one that best summarizes the ridiculousness of mock drafts: Who gets more right overall in the first round, Kiper (-120) over McShay (-110)?
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Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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