2022 NFL Draft Props: Borg & Betz (Fantasy Football)
Kyle and I took on the 2021 NFL Draft from a wagering perspective and spent several DFS Podcasts last offseason talking about the Draft from a prop betting perspective. Overall, this was a great learning experience and a ton of fun! We’re taking the plunge early this year and will be sure to update this article with each bet we personally make. Of course, we’ll also be talking about the NFL Draft on multiple DFS shows over the course of March and especially April, so make sure you’re subscribed on your favorite podcast platform.
The 2022 NFL Draft kicks off on April 28th. As the days and weeks go by, more and more NFL Draft props will become available across a variety of sportsbooks. We recommend shopping around for the best lines and prices whenever possible.
General Strategy and Thoughts
- Betting NFL Draft props will not make you rich – This is a relatively soft market and honestly, a bit of a niche market. Books are very willing to take on thousands and thousands of dollars (even millions at times) on NFL lines and totals because they’re extremely efficient lines and Vegas knows they’re going to win in the long term. Most books will set a limit on the amount of money you can place on a prop bet and that includes the NFL Draft.
- This market is fluid and is sure to change – Unlike NFL spreads and totals, where we may only see things shift by a point or two, the odds and values of these props will change drastically over a couple of months. We recommend viewing this process as a market and being willing to adjust as necessary. At times, it might even make sense to bet the same prop but with a different player, if you think the market has moved enough in the wrong direction.
- Build a portfolio – It’s certainly possible to win a few wagers if you’re only betting a handful, but because this market is so fluid, there’s going to be inefficiencies all over the place. For example, there might be value in a bet right now in February that no longer has value in April. Similarly, new information might become available in March that wasn’t available in February, and now the bet you just placed a month ago looks off. Don’t get take lock – adjust!
- Be sure to shop around at multiple books if you’re able – If you live in a state with legalized wagering that offers multiple books, be sure to try to find the best odds, prices, and even types of wagers that are available. Because this is a niche market, it’s difficult for books to wrap their heads around a market that might adjust day to day and week to week by the time mid-April gets here.
- Have fun! – We think there’s real value in being profitable in this market because it’s difficult for the books to keep up with all the changing news, mock drafts, Combine and Pro Day reports, etc. If you’re able to follow the news relatively closely, we think it’s possible to put a little extra money in your account. But, that the same time, understand that a lot of this information is not known to even the most plugged-in NFL reporters. Remember the Mac Jones vs. Justin Fields to the 49ers saga last year? Don’t be afraid to get off the board and have fun with this over the next several weeks.
NFL Draft Props We’ve Bet
**Lines accurate at time of publishing**
1. Evan Neal to be Selected 1st Overall (+150), DraftKings SportsBook
Analysis: According to GrindingTheMocks.com, which sources mock drafts from across the internet, Evan Neal has the lowest ADP at 1.9. In both of Daniel Jeremiah’s mock drafts thus far, he’s got Neal going 1st overall to the Jaguars, which is consistent with several mock drafts across the industry. The Athletic’s Dane Brugler has Ikem Ekwonu out of NC State going first in his Mock 1.0 from mid-January but he states, “several evaluators agreed that in a draft class missing a no-brainer top prospect, they prefer the tackles over the pass rushers.” From a real-life NFL perspective, we think it makes all the sense in the world for the Jags to continue to build up their offensive line and protect Trevor Lawrence after an abysmal rookie season. This has now moved to +120 on both DraftKings and FanDuel, so we’re pretty excited that this one is moving in our favor. We feel there’s still value in the +120 as of now as we project the line to continue to move towards Neal going #1 to the Jags based on recent trends in the Mock Draft industry.
2. Ikem Ekwonu to be Selected 1st Overall (+450), DraftKings SportsBook
Analysis: Heading into the NFL Combine this week, the buzz is growing around NC State’s Ikem Ekwonu. In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Todd McShay, regarding Ekonwu: “When we leave the combine, it’s going to be, ‘Oh, Ikem Ekwonu, that guy who blew up the combine.’ He could be the first overall pick. And there’s going to be memes and all of it; I think it’s going to be that.” ESPN’s Mel Kiper also mocked Ekwonu to the Jags at #1 overall in his most recent mock. This is a hedge on the Evan Neal bet as described above. If either one of these two are the first names call on Draft night, we guarantee ourselves a profit at the odds in this article.
3. Malik Willis to be the 1st QB Drafted (+110), FanDuel Sportsbook
Analysis: Kenny Pickett was the odds on favorite just a few days ago, with Willis sitting at +140. After Pickett measured in at the NFL Combine with 8.5-inch hands, Willis immediately became the favorite to be the first QB off the board, with his odds jumping from +140 to +130 to +110 within a matter of minutes. Kyle and I tried to grab this at +130, but it moved too quickly. We still think there’s value here at plus money. Per Warren Sharp, there are no QBs in the NFL with 8.5-inch hands or smaller and since 1987, only nine QBs had hands smaller than 8.5 inches. Per this research study from PFF, the NFL does value hand size in terms of draft position, and there’s data that suggests hand size is correlated to WAR (wins above replacement).
4. Ikem Ekwonu Draft Position Under 3.5 (-125), DraftKings Sportsbook
Analysis: After the combine, there was plenty of steam coming out of Indianapolis that Ekwonu could go #1 overall. Betz and I previously took a hedge on Ekwonu so when this prop was released, the question is which of those top-3 teams want him. Beyond the Jaguars, Ekwonu has been consistently mocked to the Texans at 3rd overall. The Lions at #2 are likely not in play but under 3.5 gives you the opportunity to peg one of the AFC South teams (JAX or HOU) with an added possibility someone trades up. Obviously, there is way more value on Ekwonu going 1st overall but the Texans feel like such a safe landing spot.
5. Garrett Wilson First WR to Be Selected (+150), DraftKings Sportsbook
Analysis: This started at +250 before waking up on the West Coast. Wilson is consistently mocked as the 1st WR off the board per MockDraftDatabase ahead of the likes of Drake London, Treylon Burks, and Buckeye teammate Chris Olave. In Betz’s Rookie Profile of Wilson, he highlights that Wilson looks like the best route runner in this class. He’s NFL ready and his 4.38 at the combine showed what scouts already know: he’s special. If I had to set the over/under, I’d put it currently at 10.5. The Jets, Giants, and Falcons all look like solid destinations inside the top-10. You can see this prop drifting from plus territory in the near future.
6. Ahmad Gardner Draft Position Under 8.5 (-135), DraftKings Sportsbook
Analysis: “Sauce” Gardner is the odds on favorite on most books to be the first CB selected in April’s draft with odds ranging from -200 to -250 depending on the book. We think there’s more value in the U8.5 draft position, especially after Gardner tore up the Combine in Indy. Per GrindingTheMocks, Gardner’s average mock position in February was in the 15-17 range. After the Combine, he’s consistently mocked inside the top 10 picks. Sauce is Daniel Jeremiah’s 4th overall ranked player in his Big Board 2.0.
7. Charles Cross Draft Position Over 6.5 (-130), DraftKings Sportsbook
Analysis: The general consensus around the NFL Draft community is that Cross is the third best offensive tackle in this class behind Ikem Ekwonu and Evan Neal. When you look at who is picking in the top 6 picks, it seems the Jags are set on selecting Hutchinson at #1 overall, leaving only five picks for three tackles to come off the board. Malik Willis, Trayvon Walker, the two aforementioned tackles and Sauce Gardner are all getting buzz inside the top five picks. This line seems too high for a player who was mocked at #9 to Seattle in Daniel Jeremiah’s most recent mock draft. According to GrindingTheMocks, Cross’ expected draft position is 9.8 as the OT3 off the board. We’re on the over.
8. Under 3.5 Total QBs Selected in Round 1 (-172), FanDuel Sportsbook
Analysis: It’s a given that Malik Willis and Kenny Pickett are going in the first round, but there’s a ton of uncertainty about the other QBs in what most have described as a relatively weak QB class. Matt Corral, Sam Howell and Desmond Ridder are all possible candidates to sneak into the back of the 1st Round, but it seems unlikely two of these guys are taken before pick 32. When looking at picks after #20, the Steelers (pick 20) and the Lions (pick 32) are in need of a QB. The teams picking from 21 to 31? The Patriots, Green Bay, Arizona, Dallas, Buffalo, Tennessee, Tampa Bay, Kansas City x2 and Cincinnati. Most of these clubs have their long term answer at QB or will be building around a QB in win now mode, i.e. Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. We think three or fewer QBs hear their names called on the first night of the Draft.
9. Jameson Williams to Be Drafted in the Top 10 (+1500), DraftKings Sportsbook
Analysis: No, this is not an April Fools joke! Jameson Williams is consistently mocked inside the top 25 picks of the NFL Draft, so we feel extremely confident he’ll go in Round 1. On our most recent DFS Podcast, Kyle and I discussed NFL team needs, and there are several WR needy teams picking inside the top 10. Williams’ NFL Draft stock is on the rise after news surfaced this week that Williams’ recovery off ACL surgery is going well. ESPN’s Todd McShay recently called Williams a “dark horse to go in the Top 10” and we know the NFL is infatuated with speed. While we didn’t get to see Williams run at the Combine or Bama’s pro day, there’s no question he’s one of if not the fastest WR in the class. You can read my full break down on Williams here. Per McShay, there are multiple teams who have Williams as their WR1 on their big board. Obviously, we don’t know who those teams are, but at +1500 odds, this is an interesting long-shot bet where you don’t have to wager a lot to win big.
10. Team to Draft Kenny Pickett: Carolina Panthers (+175), DraftKings Sportsbook
Analysis: There’s no question the Panthers need to fix their QB situation, and they know this. They were reportedly all in on Deshaun Watson before he signed agreed to a trade with Cleveland. A year ago, Sam Darnold ranked 24th in adjusted completion percentage, 29th in yards per attempt, 33rd in passer rating and 34th in PFF passing grade among qualified QBs. Carolina has reportedly been at every big-name QB’s Pro Day in this class, including Kenny Pickett. We think Carolina snags him at #6 overall given that as of early April, the Panthers don’t pick again until 137th overall pick in the 4th round. If they want a QB, they’re liking taking that QB in the top 10. Pickett has ties to Matt Rhule from his days at Temple when Rhule was the head coach there. For more analysis on the top 10 picks and NFL team needs, be sure to check out this episode of the DFS Podcast.
11. Ahmad Gardner to be Drafted in the Top 5 (+140), DraftKings Sportsbook
Analysis: Betz and I have been on “Team Sauce” from the beginning and the previously bet under 8.5 is looking pretty good now at -200 which is some great closing value from when we took it at -135. But I’m willing to go a step further knowing there’s room for Gardner to land in the top five. He’s been mocked to the Jets at 4th by notable names such as NBC Sports’ Peter King, NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks, PFF’s Sam Monson, Yahoo’s Eric Edholm, and CBS’ Chris Trapasso. Add those names to your mock draft indexes. The Jets (4th) and Giants (5th) are both landing spots that make sense with their multiple top-10 picks but there is no guarantee Gardner is still on the board when those teams pick again (NYJ-10th, NYG-7th). I like the value still present knowing we’re looking for just one of those teams to pull the trigger. He’s officially meeting with every team in the top-5 except the Jaguars. He also tweeted out “I’m the best player in the draft” before deleting the Tweet. Welcome to 2022.
12. Kayvon Thibodeaux Draft Position U5.5 (+100), DraftKings Sportsbook
Analysis: It wasn’t that long ago that Kayvon Thibodeaux was considered the best player in the class. Then, after rumors started surfacing about his work ethic, his perceived NFL Draft stock started to fall. We don’t buy it. The NFL still highly values pass rushers who can get after the QB, and Thibodeaux has a number of possible destinations inside the top 5. Back in December, Josina Anderson said on Twitter, “If the Lions have the #1 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, I’m told the current mindset is to select Oregon DE Kayvon Thibodeaux, per league source. No mock needed.” Thibodeaux was also mocked #2 to the Lions in Peter Schrager’s most recent mock.
13. Jameson Williams to Be Drafted in the Top 5 (+5000), DraftKings Sportsbook
Analysis: Williams stock has been taking off like a rocket ship headed for the Moon, and it’s not just one or two NFL Draft analysts who have been talking about Williams as a top 10 pick. We’ve already bet that a few weeks ago, but we’re doubling down with a massive long shot bet here at 50 to 1 for Williams to go inside the top 5. The rationale here is that the Jets have been heavily linked to the Alabama speedster in multiple mocks, and there’s multiple reports that NFL executives think Williams is the best WR in the class. The Jets pick at 4 and 10, but the Falcons pick at #8 overall. Is there a possibility that the Falcons have their eye on Williams and the Jets don’t want to risk him slipping past Atlanta at 8? We’re not super confident in that, but at 50 to 1 odds, we’re willing to find out.
14. Devin Lloyd to Be Drafted in the Top 10 (+1200), DraftKings Sportsbook
Analysis: Devin Lloyd, the LB out of Utah, is a player who the NFL is apparently higher on than Draft Twitter. He was mocked at 13th overall in Schrager’s most recent mock, so this top 10 bet isn’t all that far off. We think this should be closer to +900 or so, making this a long shot value bet. Seattle is the team we’re eyeing for Lloyd to land inside the top 10. While most NFL executives know linebacker play doesn’t add a ton of value to win totals, the Seahawks have been operating as if it’s 2004 for quite some time now. After the team released All-Pro Bobby Wagner this offseason, it’s possible that reach for Lloyd to try to replace him.
15. Arnold Ebiketie Draft Position U31.5 (+105), DraftKings Sportsbook
Analysis: The NFL loves edge rushers, and while there’s a couple of top tier prospects at the top of the board, the depth in the back of the 1st/2nd round is lacking. As a result, we think it’s possible Ebiketie (among other pass rushers) gets pushed up the board a little bit and lands in the 1st Round on Thursday night. He’s also -125 to go in the top 32, so taking the under at 31.5 at plus money is also a solid value bet. He’s a candidate to go to any number of teams slotted in the 25-31 range.
16. Logan Hall Draft Position U38.5 (-115), DraftKings Sportsbook
Analysis: The buzz is growing on DT Logan Hall to sneak into the top 32 on Thursday night, specifically to the Bengals at pick 31. The U38.5 also gives us some wiggle room to also cash this bet if Hall does slip out of the 1st Round and into the early 2nd round. We think this number closes around 35.5 or 36.5 come Thursday.