2022 NFL Draft Props Strategy & How to Navigate Changes (Fantasy Football)
On the most recent Fantasy Footballers’ DFS Podcast, Betz and I discussed strategy related to NFL Draft Props and some helpful principles to navigate the betting landscape. In this article, I’ll flesh out some of those concepts including some of the bets we personally took this past weekend.
Lines get pretty efficient.
At this point leading up to the Draft, books are pretty efficient. You likely won’t be able to find a diamond in the rough (i.e. +2000 or better) too often with a month until that Thursday night.
For awhile, Michigan EDGE rusher Aidan Hutchinson was -400 to be 1st overall pick. To put that in implied odds, the DraftKings sportsbook was saying 80 percent of this time this bet will hit. Betz and I both claimed this was a bit higher and we’ve seen Hutchinson come down to -250 in the last couple of days.
But beyond the odds, you aren’t making serious money on that bet unless you have the bankroll to compete. With the odds changing, Hutchinson to go #1 doesn’t feel like the best investment of that money.
Instead, there is an over/under positional line of 1.5 (+290 on FD/+300 on DK) that would be much more profitable to bet IF you think Hutchinson slides in the draft. He was +400 to be the No. 2 pick and much of the market was due to a major overreaction to Jacksonville franchise tagging OT Cam Robinson for the second consecutive year. While it’s not the approach.
Here’s what we do know about Hutchinson recently from his activity:
- He canceled a private workout with Jacksonville following fellow Michigan DE David Ojabu suffered an Achilles injury. This was 100% his agent’s call which makes sense when your client is about to make millions. Don’t incur more risk. But don’t take this information as further gospel that Hutchinson will go No. 1.
- He’s still visiting each team in the top-5 (JAX, DET, HOU, NYJ, NYG). I haven’t seen any mock drafts where he slips outside the top-3.
With lines getting more efficient, finding alternative markets is key for a player like Hutchinson.
Do your due diligence aka line shopping.
If you’re serious about trying to profit on the NFL Draft, you’ll likely need access to multiple books (state-dependent) to find the best odds. This market is not like NFL lines, totals, props, etc. There are no algorithms/spreadsheets/historical data to go by which leads to inefficiencies in the market from book to book.
These sportsbook are trying to copy each other so finding rogue lines is likely not happening unless you’re glued to the computer. For example, Betz and I differ on our approach with WRs taken in 1st Round but seeing the odds gives you a better landscape to work from. The under might be sharper but at +118 for a while on FanDuel, there was more upside there.
- Over 5.5 (+118) → Now -130 as of Thursday; Could still get +100 at FoxBet
- Under 5.5 (-158)
- Over 5.5 (-120)
- Under 5.5 (-110)
Being willing to change your opinion.
This isn’t “what would I do” for an NFL team. Last year I learned this lesson with Trey Lance & Justin Fields. I wanted the Falcons to take Fields at 4. I thought the 49ers should’ve taken him at 3. Both takes were wrong and skewed the way I saw the rest of the draft board.
Let’s talk again about our friends, the Jaguars. If I were GM Trent Baalke, I would invest in an LT for QB Trevor Lawrence. It’s not rocket science. But also, I’m thinking about this from a rationale standpoint sitting in an office studio in Phoenix, AZ. I’m not in the war room in Jacksonville as they are making their evaluations.
Alabama OT Evan Neal felt like the right move to “protect franchise QB” and he moved into position to be the favorite for #1 in early February. I felt like a true genius as I bet him to go No. 1 several times (at +200, +150) before he finally settled at -150. The lines moved. My bias was confirmed and it looked like I was sitting pretty. But the Cam Robinson news I mentioned previously changed the market dramatically.
How do we react? Instead of digging in even further to my take of Jacksonville taking an offensive lineman at No. 1, I looked at some of the other opportunities of how to overcorrect.
- Betting Neal at over 1.5 (-120) gave me an out if he didn’t go No. 1.
- Eventually, his line moved to 3.5 where I also took the over (-114) as his consensus spot is no 5th overall although I’m not sure if the Giants are the best landing spot.
Filter through Mock Draft Databases & Misinformation.
Trying to filter out “noise” versus actual information is key. I wrote about this topic fully last year entitled Forecasting 101: How to Project Knowing You Could Be Wrong. Beat writers’ opinions of what they would do typically aren’t accurate. This is different than in-season where we rely on beats for news such as playing time, injuries, etc. They are part of the puzzle but they are also in the business of getting clicks.
Incorporating mock draft databases we use
- GrindingTheMocks.com – The historical trends give a sense of how a player is being viewed in the market
Find a list of 4-5 trusted mock drafters/analysts that have a track record. NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah and Peter Schrager are people plugged in with real sources connected with their mocks. It’s not gospel but those two are some of the best for giving more than just personal opinions. Look at trends in how their mocks are changing. This can tell us info they’re getting about how the league values certain players.
Props Discussed on Friday’s Podcast
- Total QBs u3.5 (-172 on FD); Moved to -188
- No. 3 Pick- Houston Texans
- Ekwonu- +175
- Neal- +225
- OT Charles Cross o6.5 (-130 on DK)
- Sauce Gardner U8.5 (-135 on DK when we took it); now -188 on FD