NFL Draft Betting: Should We Bet the Chalk in the First-Round Pick Market?

A lot of the value in the first-round pick market looks to favor the chalk. Should we try to target long shots anyway?

There are a ton of ways to bet the NFL Draft at FanDuel Sportsbook this year, including some first-round pick odds for 48 players.

I aggregated some rankings and projected out odds for each player listed in order to find out where value exists.

Where might there be betting value? Let's take a look.

Rankings in the table refer to ESPN's Best Player Available rankings (ESPN), NFL Mock Draft Database's Consensus Big Board rankings (MDD), and Grinding the Mocks' expected draft position (GTM).

Player FD
Trevor Penning-700252116.420.8
Treylon Burks-500262227.725.2
Trent McDuffie-500141916.816.6
Zion Johnson-300332823.128.0
Devonte Wyatt-300202529.624.9
Nakobe Dean-300122731.223.4
Kenyon Green-250272624.825.9
Andrew Booth-180292323.825.3
Daxton Hill-175232929.227.1
Desmond Ridder-135363630.234.1
Jahan Dotson-13528313130.0
Matt Corral-135343337.134.7
Boye Mafe-135323537.134.7
Logan Hall-115404354.245.7
Lewis Cine-115523436.140.7
Arnold Ebiketie-115383836.137.4
Christian Watson-115454933.142.4
Kyler Gordon-115314034.735.2
Tyler Smith+100584730.345.1
Sam Howell+105505445.849.9
Travis Jones+125394544.742.9
George Pickens+120574638.347.1
Breece Hall+150464248.745.6
David Ojabo+150303243.335.1
Skyy Moore+150424851.647.2
Roger McCreary+150543739.443.5
Kaiir Elam+150473030.435.8
Bernhard Raimann+150434431.739.6
Daniel Faalele+200605962.960.6
Quay Walker+200355642.644.5
Drake Jackson+250616352.658.9
Jaquan Brisker+250665153.856.9
Jalen Pitre+350414151.244.4
DeMarvin Leal+350625549.855.6
Tariq Woolen+350756756.766.2
Kenneth Walker+350443956.846.6
Troy Andersen+350707385.576.2
Christian Harris+400375261.650.2
Chad Muma+400656060.661.9
Trey McBride+450595057.355.4
Justyn Ross+60011211578.9102.0
Greg Dulcich+600797777.177.7
Perrion Winfrey+600515363.155.7
Isaiah Spiller+6001086281.984.0
Jalen Tolbert+60083807780.0
Abraham Lucas+600557165.763.9
Darian Kinnard+6001076660.477.8
Carson Strong+80093869992.7

The six players listed with odds of -300 or shorter are actually rating out as good value bets to be first-rounders, given the strong ranks across the board.

I know that's not as shiny as listing off some long shots here, but the data shows value on Northern Iowa offensive tackle Trevor Penning (-700), Arkansas receiver Treylon Burks (-500), Washington cornerback Trent McDuffie (-500), Boston College Eagles guard Zion Johnson (-300), Georgia defensive tackle Devonte Wyatt (-300), and Georgia linebacker Nakobe Dean (-300).

We also see some extended value on Clemson cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. (-180) and Texas A&M guard Kenyon Green. So, the numbers say to go with the chalk on these borderline first-round picks. Booth's average rank (based on the table above) of 25.3 is sixth-best among those with first-round pick odds. Green (25.9) is seventh.

What if we want some options at longer odds?

Florida cornerback Kaiir Elam (+150) rates out at 30.4 in expected draft position at Grinding the Mocks, and Michigan edge rusher David Ojabo (+150) are the top plus-money options I'm seeing. Elam has a peak big board ranking of 10th overall, and Ojabo's peak is 6th overall.

It's not a market where I'm chasing darts, given how the odds land.