2023 NFL Draft Props: Best Bets (Fantasy Football)
Kyle and I have taken on the NFL Draft over the last two years 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 2023 NFL Draft kicks off on April 27th. 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.
NFL Draft Props We’ve Bet Before the NFL Combine
**Lines accurate at time of publishing**
We’ll be taking bigger stands as we get more information in the coming weeks. Just for transparency sake, here are a couple of wagers we’ve taken in the last few weeks prior to the NFL Scouting Combine, which took place in late February and early March.
1. Jordan Addison to be the first WR Taken (+200)
Analysis: Addison is a former Biletnikoff Award winner and has one of the best Production Profiles in the 2023 class. He’s also frequently mocked inside the first round of the NFL Draft according to GrindingTheMocks and NFL Mock Draft Database. We know size isn’t as valuable to the NFL as it once was when it comes to WRs, so we’ll fade the favorite, Quentin Johnston, here and take Addison at plus money.
Update: Addison posted one of the worst weight-adjusted speed scores at the NFL Combine. While he’s still likely to go in Round 1, he’s now +600 to be the first WR taken. As of now, we wouldn’t chase him in this market. Jaxon Smith-Njigba excelled in his agility drills and reportedly interviewed very well. He’s now the favorite at -150.
2. C.J. Stroud to be the first QB Taken (+425)
Analysis: Bryce Young is the odds-on favorite to be the first QB taken, but there’s so much up in the air right now with several QB-needy teams potentially looking to trade up for the #1 overall pick. Indianapolis, Carolina, and Las Vegas are all candidates to go up and get their guy. While Young is largely considered the consensus QB1 in the class by most NFL Draft analysts, Stroud profiles as a higher floor pick and could be a preferred option by a certain coaching staff if he fits their scheme. In addition, with the combine coming up in a few days, it’s possible Young’s height and weight work against him depending on his official weigh-in.
Update: After the Panthers traded up to the #1 overall pick, C.J. Stroud’s odds to be the first QB taken have inflated to -275 on most books. Current QBs coach Josh McCown raved about Stroud and new head coach Frank Reich has historically worked with bigger-bodied pocket passers (Andrew Luck, Philip Rivers, Carson Wentz), and Stroud fits that bill. That said, laying heavy juice at this point in the process isn’t something we’d recommend.
NFL Draft Props We’ve Bet After the NFL Combine
**Lines accurate at the time of publishing**
3. Team to Draft Anthony Richardson: Raiders (+1500) and Lions (+1200)
Analysis: These are the exact type of long-shot bets that make the NFL Draft so fun. We’re placing a small wager on both of these teams at long odds to land Florida’s Anthony Richardson, who blew up the combine with the best QB performance we’ve ever seen. While the Raiders and Lions both have a short-term QB in place with Jimmy Garoppolo and Jared Goff, both of these QBs are largely viewed as “bridge QBs” so these landing spots are ideal for a raw prospect like Richardson. Just a few days before signing Jimmy G in free agency, the Raiders were reportedly involved in trade discussions for the #1 overall pick before Carolina sealed the deal. The Seahawks also fit the bill as a team who could land Richardson with Geno Smith on a short-term deal, but there isn’t much value left in the market as of mid-March (+200).
4. Bryce Young to be the No. 1 Overall Pick (+225)
Analysis: Hedging our C.J. Stroud ticket here to increasee the likelihood we get the No. 1 overall pick correct at plus money. The Panthers are certainly taking a QB with the first pick and while most mock drafts have them taking C.J. Stroud, they’re reportedly undecided on the position. In Daniel Jeremiah’s most recent mock draft, he had Carolina taking Stroud, writing, “The Panthers will do their homework on this year’s top quarterback prospects over the next month, but I believe Young is the best of the bunch and will emerge as their target.” It’s also not out of the realm of possibility that the Texans trade to go up to No. 1 to get their guy, which could be Young.
5. Anthony Richardson to Go Ahead of Will Levis (-240)
Analysis: In the “Who Will Be Drafted Earlier?” section, this one stands out. Laying -240 is not a fun endeavor but we’ve laid some serious juice on NFL Draft bets before (-400 Micah Parsons 1st LB taken) where we felt more confident than what the market said. In the “3rd QB Selected” market, Levis is currently +380 but only +190 in being drafted before Richardson. We’ve received little to no news of any team hyped about Levis or connecting him to a top-5 pick while Richardson’s insane combine performance and consistent media drumbeat since has catapulted into the conversation for the No. 1 overall pick for some. According to MockDraftDatabase.com, Richardson is connected most with the Colts at No. 4 overall with Daniel Jeremiah’s latest mock dropping Levis to No. 19. We would expect this line to move closer and closer to -400.
6. Paris Johnson to be the first OL Taken (-130)
Analysis: Johnson and Peter Skoronski are the two favorites in this market, but the former Ohio State tackle profiles as a true starting LT in the NFL with 97th percentile arm length, something NFL GMs value. Skoronski on the other hand, profiles as an interior offensive lineman in the NFL given his shorter arms. It’s certainly possible other offensive linemen start to move up the board, but as it stands Johnson looks like the OL1 in this class. His current expected draft position on GrindingTheMocks is 10.4 and in the alternative H2H market on DraftKings, Johnson is (-180) to be selected before Skoronski.
7. Zay Flowers to be the first WR Taken (+400)
Sportsbook: DraftKings, FanDuel
Analysis: Flowers has gotten an official invite to the NFL Draft, indicating he’s almost certain to go in Round 1. He’s either had official visits or has scheduled visits with several teams, including the Cowboys, Patriots, Chiefs, Vikings, Raiders, Patriots, and Giants, suggesting there’s plenty of buzz on the former BC wide out. Jaxon Smith-Njigba is certainly the most likely to hear his name called before the other WRs on draft night, but it only takes one team to trade up for their guy. We think this moves closer to +300 over the next couple of weeks, so we’ll take the long shot value here.
8. Team to Draft Jahmyr Gibbs: Washington Commanders (+5000)
Analysis: Lines like this are why it’s so important to shop around at multiple books. FanDuel has this at +2500, which we don’t necessarily love but is fine for a long shot like this. On DK, however, 50 to 1 odds is enticing. Gibbs is a guy who’s frequently mocked early in Round 2 with an Expected Draft Position of 42.7. Washington is picking 47th overall and has a clear need at RB. Last year’s 3rd round pick, Brian Robinson, is there as an early down plodder, but this team lost pass catching specialist J.D. McKissic this off-season (Gibbs profiles as the best pass catching RB in the class), and Antonio Gibson is in the final year of his current deal. Ron Rivera is no stranger to using a 2-back system going back to his days in Carolina, and Washington has selected several Alabama prospects in recent years (Brian Robinson, Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne). Their current GM, Martin Mayhew, was the GM of the Detroit Lions from 2008 to 2015. In those eight years, they selected a RB in the NFL Draft six times, and Mayhew selected Robinson just last season. With a clear need at the position and a GM who’s shown us he’s willing to take RBs, why not throw a dart? Bijan Robinson is frequently mocked to the Commanders at 16th overall, but if they don’t take RB in Round 1, there’s a chance they do it in Round 2.
9. First Defensive Player Selected: Jalen Carter (+800)
Analysis: This play is all about embracing the volatility of the top 10 picks of this NFL Draft. We’re just a few weeks away from Draft night, and there’s a lot of unknowns at the top of the board. Just a couple of months ago, Jalen Carter was largely considered the consensus top prospect in this class and the favorite to go #1, but after his off the field concerns developed, he slipped a bit in the mock draft process. As we’ve seen over the years, the NFL is willing to invest high draft capital in players with off the field concerns. Will Anderson is the heavy favorite in this market, but if the draft starts QB x4 (assuming the Cardinals trade out of the 3rd pick), Carter is very much in play to go to Seattle at pick 5. We like these long shot odds on DK while this line is +600 on FanDuel. Note – we also don’t mind throwing a dart on Tyree Wilson in this same market. All in all, it seems as though the market is overrating Will Anderson here.
10. Total Number of QBs Taken in Round 1? U4.5 (-130)
Analysis: We know there’s a consensus big four QBs in the class who are first round locks – Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, Will Levis and Anthony Richardson. So essentially, this is a bet on whether or not Hendon Hooker, the QB from Tennessee, will go in the first round. Here’s where he ranks on notable Big Boards around the industry:
- PFF: 82nd
- Daniel Jeremiah: 46th overall
- Dane Brugler: 49th overall
Hooker is a 25 year old prospect coming off a torn ACL, and over the last five years, there’s been an average of 3.6 QBs taken in the first round. Hooker has gotten some buzz in Round 1 due to some national reporters, but this is a spot to fade. According to this ESPN article, Minnesota, one of the teams who have been linked to Hooker in Round 1 have had the following QBs on top 30 visits – Levis, Richardson and Dorian Thompson-Robinson out of UCLA.
11. Michael Mayer to be the First TE Drafted (-115)
Analysis: NFL Network’s Lance Zierlein publicly mentioned on a podcast that he thinks Mayer is likely to be the first TE off the board in Round 1. He mentioned teams have slight concerns about Dalton Kincaid (back injury) being unable to workout throughout the pre-draft process but that he still expects him to go in Round 1. This is -175 on DraftKings, -145 on Caesars, and -125 on FanDuel.
12. Dalton Kincaid Draft Position O21.5 (-120)
Analysis: This directly ties into our Michael Mayer bet above, but in addition, Kincaid’s expected draft position (EDP) on GrindingTheMocks is 26.9. He’s more likely to go in the back of the first round based on consensus mock drafts around the industry.
13. Team to Draft Will Levis? New England Patriots (+3000)
Analysis: Seems crazy right? That’s exactly why it’s 30 to 1 and a very small wager for us. New England picks 14th, and Levis seems extremely likely to be gone before this selection. However, the Patriots decided to sneak in one last top 30 visit with the Kentucky QB this week. If we connect a few dots, Mac Jones appears to be in the dog house under Bill Belichick, and Houston GM Nick Casario comes from New England. Could we see a potential trade between these two organizations where Levis is a Patriot? At 30 to 1, we’re willing to find out.
14. Jahmyr Gibbs to be Drafted in Round 1? Yes (+280)
Analysis: In Peter Schrager’s first mock draft, he had Dallas selecting the Alabama RB 26th overall. This morning on Good Morning Football, Schrager doubled down stating that he’s heard Gibbs will join Bijan Robinson as a round one selection. While we don’t want to overreact to one person’s insight or information, Schrager usually goes off the board a bit in his first mock then gets information from GMs and sources around the league as he prepares to make his second mock. We expect this line will move quickly over the next 24 hours.
— Peter Schrager (@PSchrags) April 24, 2023