NFL Draft Betting: Will a Running Back Get Selected in the First Round?
A few days ago, I looked at who will be the first running back selected in the 2020 NFL Draft. Now I'll look at a different prop bet at the same position -- will a running back be selected in round one?
FanDuel Sportsbook has the over on 0.5 backs selected on day one listed at -340, giving it implied odds of 77.3 percent. The under -- which would mean that no running back is drafted in the opening round, unless Bill Belichick invents a way to draft half a back -- is priced at +240, or 29.4 percent implied odds.
So...let's take a look at how you should bet it.
Only twice since 1963 -- spanning 56 drafts -- has the first round come and gone without a running back hearing his name called. Those instances occurred in consecutive seasons in 2013 and 2014. The average number of running backs drafted in round one in the five drafts since is 1.8.
While some of the league's front offices have started to shy away from spending a significant amount of resources on running backs, there are still those who place a premium on the position. That's, for the most part, been enough to keep backs in the first round conversation.
Current Draft Projections
I looked at 30 mock drafts from some of the top names and a number of the most accurate mock drafters in the industry (via theHuddleReport) -- here's what I found.
|Experts||RB in R1||Average Draft Slot||Versus Implied Odds|
|Most Accurate Mock Drafters||25%||29||-52.30%|
Of the eight experts I was able to find that are inside the top-12 in accuracy in the Huddle Report's five-year mock draft average, only two had a runner going in the first round. 16 of the other 22 mocks had at least one selected on day one. Nevertheless, no matter which sample you use, the over doesn't look like a great play based on projections.
Here's a look at how this year's top prospects -- Georgia's Swift, Wisconsin's Jonathan Taylor, and LSU's Clyde Edwards-Helaire -- compare to the first-round running backs from the last five drafts in terms of measurables (40-time, weight-adjusted speed score, weight-adjusted burst score, and Body Mass Index). All data is from PlayerProfiler.com and is shown in terms of percentile ranks.
|Player||40-time||Speed score||Burst Score||BMI||Average|
As you can see, both Swift and Taylor compare rather favorably to a number of the nine round-one backs since 2015 -- CEH holds his own too. In fact, if you make everything equal and take their average percentile rank -- which you absolutely should not do -- Taylor and Swift come in second and fourth, respectively. Not too shabby.
All in all, the realistic scenarios are not plentiful.
Though I do think there are multiple first-round talents at the position, I'm going to go with the under. Given the expert projections and the direction in which the position is trending, it's tough not to like the +240 odds of zero backs going in the first round.
I have no doubt that there will be a run at the position at some point near the turn, but there's at least a tangible chance that it doesn't happen until day two.