NFL Draft Betting: Predicting the Exact Order of the First Three Picks
If you can think of a potential prop bet for the NFL Draft, chances are that FanDuel Sportsbook already has it. One of the most intriguing props available is betting on the exact order of who will be taken in the first three picks in the draft.
Some years, predicting the first three picks is easy. For example, in 2018, the order of Baker Mayfield, Saquon Barkley and Sam Darnold was projected by nearly every draft pundit on the planet. Though, having both the Giants and Jets in the top three certainly didn't hurt.
However, predictability is far from the theme this season. Think of this year as similar to the 2017 draft. The top pick is common knowledge (it was Myles Garrett then). The next two picks are completely up in the air. Like 2017, there's a distinct possibility that a team will make a trade for a quarterback. Ryan Pace and the Chicago Bears mortgaged their future to move up just one pick and acquire Mitchell Trubisky. That worked out well. This year, the potentiality of a team trading up for Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa or, to a lesser extent, Oregon's Justin Herbert, is very real.
Not knowing which slot a quarterback-needy team might have to jump to adds an element of unpredictability. Even if you were almost certain that it would be to the second pick, you still don't know who would go third in that scenario. And -- though most people are assuming this is the case -- you also don't know if Tua is the target for the team moving up.
All this uncertainty makes this play very enthralling. There's real opportunity for value here.
To better figure out to bet this, I will first look at some expert projections, and then I'll try to rank my favorite plays. Here goes nothing.
|Expert||#1||#2||#3||THR 5-Yr Accuracy||FP 2019 Accuracy|
|Mel Kiper Jr.||Burrow||Young||Okudah||52|
|Cynthia Frelund||Burrow||A. Thomas||Okudah|
|Pete Prisco||Burrow||Young||D. Brown||118|
|Xavier Cromartie||Burrow||Young||D. Brown||16|
As you can see, 23 of the 42 mocks have the combination of Joe Burrow, Chase Young, and Jeff Okudah. That combination is listed at +170 on FanDuel. Are you smelling value yet?
My Favorite Plays
Burrow / Tua / Young: +320
If you do think a trade is happening, this play is -- by far -- my favorite.
Over the last eight drafts, there have been four instances of teams trading inside the top three to acquire a signal-caller. Three of those four -- Washington for Robert Griffin III, the Philadelphia Eagles for Carson Wentz, and the Bears for Trubisky -- have been trades for the second pick. With the top pick all but sealed, teams have felt the need to go get the best available pick in order to draft "their guy".
That would make Washington the prime trade-down candidate. And, according to CBS's Jason La Canfora, Washington has "grown more fond" of trading back.
I think a team -- whether it's the Miami Dolphins, Los Angeles Chargers, New England Patriots, or someone else -- that wants to draft Tua will likely want to ensure they get him by trading for the second pick.
My favorite part of this wager is that you can currently get it at +320. That's fantastic value.
Burrow / Young / Okudah: +170
The easiest thing to do is not project any trades. That's why this combination is so popular. In the event of a trade-less first three picks, this order is the most logical.
I'd say this is the safest play -- and it seems as if most experts agree.
Burrow / Tua / Okudah: +2000
What if my first choice comes true, but instead, the Lions have their eyes dead set on a different Buckeye -- corner Jeff Okudah. In this case, you'd get 20/1 odds.
I'm certainly tantalized.
This play isn't as much of a long shot as the line would suggest.
Best of the Rest
Burrow / Young / Tua (+100): The Lions giving up their pick for a team wanting Tua is not unrealistic, but the line doesn't value the chances of it actually happening. As of now, I wouldn't bet even money on any combination in this draft.
Burrow / Young / Herbert (+3300): Speaking of the Lions trading down -- what if the team that trades up prefers Herbert to Tua? The 33/1 odds make it worth considering.
Burrow / Tua / Simmons (+3000): Back to the "Washington trading their pick" well -- Detroit targeting a defensive player is a safe assumption. But do we know for certain that they don't have Simmons at the top of their board? Again, the odds (30/1) make it worth thinking about. On that note -- the combination of Burrow / Young / Simmons (+900) is intriguing if you think think the first three picks will be trade-less.