This article is part of our NFL Picks series.
Top NFL Draft Props To Target
Jameson Williams, don't continue reading. Or at least, don't do it at the Lions' facility. It's Year 3 of what has quickly turned into a RotoWire tradition as John McKechnie and I are back once more to break down some of the top prop options prior to Thursday's NFL Draft. We'll copy the same format from last season with John tackling a few of the props closer to the start of the Draft, while I'll dissect some of the intriguing angles developing to begin this week.
Similar to 2021 when Trevor Lawrence was an overwhelming favorite to go No. 1 overall, it seems as if the Panthers have "locked on" Bryce Young to borrow a term from Shams Charania, as the Alabama product is an overwhelming favorite on every major sportsbook to go as the top overall pick. But wait one minute. The odds on Will Levis going No. 1 overall shifted overnight, as the Dr. Frankenstein of coffee is allegedly back in consideration for the Carolina. Oh and if that's not confusing enough, the Texans also seem to have a major need at QB with the No. 2 overall pick, but are reportedly not interested in one. Or, someone else is actually interested in the sturdy prospect with a relatively high S2 score. What ultimately happens at the top of the draft, and subsequently the top four projected quarterbacks, will be the talk of the next five days, but does it make the best value from a prop perspective?
I've listed all of my favorite bets with the best odds across every major platform. Obviously, you can certainly bet on your favorite sportsbook regardless, but these ones have the best juice for the aforementioned picks.
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Christian Gonzalez selected under pick 8.5 (-120 on DraftKings)
I think this is going to be one of the most unpredictable drafts of all time. If we're operating under that assumption, it feels reasonable to assume teams will target what historically has been the most valuable players to draft with upper-echelon picks, i.e. cornerbacks, tackles and pass rushers. This draft is relatively loaded in terms of secondary players, and it's absolutely possible any of the Lions, Raiders or Falcons could take a corner in picks 6-8. And that doesn't even account for the possibility of a team trading up either.
If you're wanting a bit more action, it feels entirely reasonable that Gonzalez could be the first corner off the board, which is currently +180 on DraftKings at the moment. Devon Witherspoon is the presumed favorite, but at 5-foot-11, he's on the smaller side in a league that has recently seemed to value larger corners. Again, I think both are going to be top-10 selections, but I'd be a bit surprised to see the NFL deviate from conventional wisdom in this case.
Will Anderson -- First defensive player drafted (+125 on FanDuel)
This just feels like a massive case of overthinking things. The "presumed" No. 1 guy in next year's draft almost always never ends up being that guy -- case in point just about every QB drafted high save for Trevor Lawrence in past years -- but that logic typically works a bit better with collegiate defensive players, especially ones like Anderson, who by all accounts was once again a monstrous force at Alabama despite "only" tallying 10 sacks his junior season. Tyree Wilson is obviously more of a freak athlete, but with Anderson's pedigree, consistent success and almost zero red flags, it makes zero sense how you can get plus money in this situation.
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Position of Bengals' First Drafted Player -- RB (+1000 on FanDuel)
I absolutely could see the Bengals take a cornerback, which is listed at +200 as one of the top options. But for a team that doesn't have a lot of significant needs, why wouldn't Cincy make a bit of a splash, especially with the status of Joe Mixon and his massive contract up in the air?
Perhaps more importantly, the wording of this bet is beneficial for us. There are really only a few teams in the back end of the first round who reasonably would consider trading out of their spot with the Bengals topping that list in my opinion. While a guy like Jahmyr Gibbs, a presumed first-round pick, makes all the sense in the world for a team in need of a pass-catching running back after the loss of Samaje Perine, there are plenty of quality options in Round 2 if a trade-back occurs.
Just as an aside, I think the team market for NFL Draft bets is easily the most lucrative of all the prop options. Take some time to scour each spread and then cross check with the multitude of draft boards available. Since the start of this article series, multiple prop bets have offered this same type of thing for Day 2, and even Day 3, which has typically been even more successful once we have more information on how every NFL team is operating.
Quentin Johnston selected under pick 26.5 (+140 DK)
Johnston feels like one of the most polarizing players entering the NFL Draft but to me, it's pretty simple. In a league that's valuing wide receivers more than ever, and in a Draft full of prospects that aren't conventional outside targets, the 6-foot-4 prospect is going to be a hot commodity even if there are legitimate reservations about his receiving prowess. To be clear, I think those concerns are overblown -- particularly Johnston's ability, or supposed lack thereof, to go up and get the ball -- but players with his length and skillset after the catch feel like a mirage in today's NFL.
This same prop was +120 a couple of days ago, and everything even pertaining to Johnston's value as a presumed first-rounder has fallen across the board since Saturday, but I'm holding strong. At this point, I'd still consider Johnston going to the Vikings at +700 on DraftKings one of my favorite bets, although admittedly there's significantly more risk given the way the market has moved.
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