2022 NFL Draft: Best Prop Bets to Put Money in Your Pocket
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Today, let’s turn to the Draft. You can bet there will be plenty of hot air and smoke screens, gossip and rumors, speculation, and trades leading right up to the Jacksonville Jaguars making the first overall pick, for the second year in a row, to kick things off.
I’m suggesting these picks with the belief that regardless of any deals going down before or during the draft, you’ll still come out a winner.
Remember, when it comes to making NFL Draft prop bets, as per the almighty and awesome DraftKings (whose odds I’m using): Taking the Over means you’re betting that the player you select will be drafted after (or lower) than the specified number, while taking the Under means you think that player will be drafted before (or higher) than the specified number.
With that explained, here now are several golden locks to bring in some big bucks.
Best Bet on the Board
(Kayvon Thibodeaux draft position: UNDER 4.5, -145)
The former Oregon Duck, once thought to be the sure-fire No. 1 overall pick, has faced criticism lately. Some teams (reportedly the Giants, who have the fifth selection, among them) are questioning his attitude and desire. I’m not buying it. More than a few pundits think the edge-rusher extraordinaire is the most likely future Hall of Famer in this class. He has all the tools to back up the hype. Don’t believe me? Read Greg Bishop’s excellent piece on SI.com and your doubts will be gone – just as Thibodeaux will be, before the fifth pick.
Freaky Good Gift Pick: First Special Teams Player Selected
(San Diego State punter Matt Araiza: -125)
I honestly can’t believe two things.
One: That there’s this much excitement about a punter.
And two: That the odds on this are just -125.
This, dear readers, is a freebie from the football gods. Promise. Araiza won’t be the second punter to be drafted in the first round, unlike Ray Guy (23rd overall pick in 1973), the Raiders legend who revolutionized the position and showcased its importance. However, Araiza may be on an even higher level. He won the collegiate award (named after Guy) for the nation’s best punter, following a season in which he had six punts of at least 70 yards or more and two in the 80s … with the longest of anyone by a mile with a “moonshot” of 86 (!) yards.
Total Number of Offensive Linemen Drafted in First Round
(OVER 7.5, +155)
Offensive linemen continue to earn more and more respect (see: larger, more long-term contracts) in the NFL each year, which all begins on Draft Day 1.
However, over the last 10 years, an average of six OL were selected in the first round. So that means eight (or exactly one-fourth of the 32 first-round picks) big beefy dudes need to be tabbed during Thursday’s first round. Three of them should go in the top 10 – Ikem Ekwonu (N.C. State), Evan Neal (Alabama), and Charles Cross (Mississippi State) – and Kenyon Green (Texas A&M) and Trevor Penning (Northern Iowa) figure to go in the top 20. That still leaves three to go. Over the last 12 picks, I say that happens.
Drafted in the Top 5 Overall
(Liberty QB Malik Willis: +400)
NFL scouts, experts, and insiders, just one question: Whatcha' talkin' 'bout? Willis, as it turns out. Meaning Liberty QB Malik Willis, whose stock continues to soar thanks to high grades from Mel Kiper Jr. and many more. He’s a talented dual-threat player but played against low-level opponents in college. Yet, NFL teams can’t resist swinging for the fences by drafting a possible franchise quarterback, even after watching what happened with recent, early first-round picks Mitch Trubisky (ugh) and Trey Lance (looking like a bust). But my hunch is that it will be too tempting for someone to pull the trigger too soon – possibly after trading up – and risking a much-valued pick on Malik.
Total Number of Running Backs Drafted in First Round
(Over 0.5, +145)
We all know that running backs aren’t valued as worthy first-round NFL Draft selections anymore. Why? Because they don’t last long in the league. On average, an NFL RB’s career time in the league is two and a half years. Not seasons, mind you, but years. And yet not since 2014 has there been a Draft that hasn’t included at least one running back selected in the first round. I’ll take my chances on that eight-year streak reaching nine on Thursday. Either one of these tough Jonathan Taylor-type wrecking-ball backs will break through: Iowa State’s Breece Hall (the favorite to go off the board first) or Michigan State sensation and TD machine Kenneth Walker III, who finished sixth in this past season’s Heisman Trophy vote. One of these two hard-nosed kids is going in the first round. Book it.