The first round of the NFL Draft takes place on April 28th, which means it’s time to focus on the betting opportunities that exist in the market.
On a recent episode of The Action Network Podcast, NFL pundit Chris Raybon was joined by contributor and NFL draft connoisseur Scott Smith to break down their best early bets.
In such a fluid market, it’s important to get in early rather than wait as the odds tend to change.
Here are four early bets the duo have already made (best odds currently available):
Derek Stingley Jr under 10.5 (-105)
The LSU cornerback’s stock has jumped. He once looked like a potential No. 1 pick and then slipped due to injuries. But after an impressive Pro Day, that line is already in motion. Still, the duo likes this pick at 10.5.
Washington is mentioned as an option to go with him or a team can trade to nab the talented corner.
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Kenny Pickett First QB Taken (+140)
That market appears to have come down to Pittsburgh’s Pickett or Liberty’s Malik Willis. No. 6 is a possibility as the Carolina Panthers need a long-term answer for the position.
Will Willis slide? There’s no undisputed top quarterback prospect on the board, so the plus money with Pickett could have value.
Over 5.5 wide receivers drafted in Round 1 (+120)
USC’s Drake London and Ohio State’s Garrett Wilson could be gone early. Alabama’s Jameson Williams and Ohio’s Chris Olave are also options. Add in the factor that wide receivers get paid at the top of the market, and teams might be interested in drafting receivers earlier to tie them to four-year rookie deals.
Over 4.5 defensive backs in Round 1 (+120)
Smith moves to the other side of the ball and has another plus-money option. Offensively, the landscape changes, which means defense must adapt as well. Late in the first round there are specific needs for secondary help. That could put that number over the hump.
Who is #2?
Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson is looking more and more like the No. 1 overall (-175 favorite on BetMGM). After that, however, the draft evolves into a wild betting market. Anything can happen to the overall runners-up, currently owned by the Detroit Lions.
Offensive linemen Evan Neal (20/1 to finish second) and Ikem Ekwonu (16/1) are good examples of players who blew up draft boards early in the process. The late bloomer, however, is Travon Walker (7/2).
Walker has posted just 9.5 sacks in three seasons in Georgia, but the physical tools of the 6-foot-5, 270-pound defensive end — along with his unreal combine during which he hit a 4.51 40-yard dash and knocked down a 35.5-inch vertical – got him considered for top pick.
Hutchinson is the chalk (-175) for No. 1, followed by Walker (+140), then a steep drop down to Ekwonu (10/1) and Neal (12/1).
No matter how you slice it, the Lions could capitalize on defensive production. They were bottom five in sacks (30), tackles for loss (58) and forced fumbles (10) last year.
The last prospect of note is Ahmad Gardner, who has gone from 25/1 to 8/1 for the No. 2 overall pick.
Gardner, who is also a heavy favorite to be the first cornerback drafted (-500), didn’t concede a single touchdown in coverage at Cincinnati for three years and included more than 1,000 defensive snaps.
For more NFL draft betting tips, tune in to The Action Network Podcast.
https://nypost.com/2022/04/21/nfl-draft-2022-first-round-prop-bets-with-a-week-to-go/ Prop bets for the first round in a week