The 2018 NFL Draft takes place this Thursday on April 26. The NFL Draft is such a huge event, it garners such great ratings, that sportsbooks have set prop betting odds on the NFL Draft. Sounds crazy, but, yes, you can wager on what happens in the Draft.
Below, I preview four NFL Draft Prop Bets: the first overall pick in Round 1, the first WR chosen, the second QB drafted, and the second RB chosen. I analyze each prop bet before making my picks.
2018 NFL First Pick Draft
To Be Selected #1
Sam Darnold -250
Josh Allen +175
Saquon Barkley +500
Josh Rosen +1000
Baker Mayfield +2000
Bradley Chubb +3300
Field (any other player) +3300
Minkah Fitzpatrick +6600
Analysis: The Cleveland Browns have done nothing but talk up USC QB Sam Darnold. Based on the way the Browns are talking about Darnold, there’s no reason to believe he isn’t the first player chosen in this Thursday’s draft. After all, Darnold almost certainly qualifies as the best quarterback in this draft. If he qualifies as the best quarterback, he should be the first pick, right?
Wait…did I just write almost? Yep. I did. Darnold almost certainly qualifies as the top quarterback in this draft. Almost certainly means that the Browns could be blowing the proverbial smoke up the proverbial, well, you know what I’m getting at here. NFL teams don’t often show their hand the way the Browns appear to be showing their hand. That leads me to believe that Cleveland might be trying to set it up that they most definitely will draft Darnold with the first pick.
The set up could turn into a couple of decent picks further on in Round 1. Or, the Browns could just be playing possum with the fact that the player they really want to draft is RB Saquon Barkley. Barkley’s an absolute beast of a player. If Cleveland doesn’t get it’s rushing attack together, the Browns will have no shot at winning football games next season. Carlos Hyde is a good RB. He tends to get hurt a lot.
Barkley makes sense to me. Plus, if Cleveland drafts Barkley, they most definitely will have a shot at drafting Josh Allen, Josh Rosen, or, maybe, even Sam Darnold. Rosen says he doesn’t want to play in Cleveland. Tough luck if the Browns draft him at Pick 4. Sit out a year if you’d like, Josh.
The Giants and Jets most likely will pass on Allen while there’s a good chance the Giants also pass on Darnold. The G-Men aren’t that far away from making the playoffs. Why mess around and draft a project QB like Sam Darnold instead of drafting DE Bradley Chubb?
Taking Barkley with pick one makes sense to me. That’s the way I’d go if I were to play this prop.
Pick: RB Saquon Barkley
First WR Drafted
Calvin Ridley +100
DJ Moore +150
Courtland Sutton +300
James Washington +900
Christian Kirk +1200
Any other WR +1100
Analysis: A wide receiver isn’t expected to be drafted until around Pick 18. The Carolina Panthers are in the market for a wide receiver. They most definitely will choose either Calvin Ridley, Alabama’s best skill player from their National Championship team, or DJ Moore, who has been flying up draft boards in recent weeks.
Ridley’s the choice. Moore appears to be the guy, but, in reality, Ridley has somewhat better hands. Not only that, he comes from an amazing college football program where he didn’t expect to get the ball on every play. That unselfishness should do wonders for the team that grabs Ridley.
I believe Calvin Ridley’s the first wide receiver off the board in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Pick: Calvin Ridley
Second RB Drafted
Derrius Guice -500
Sony Michel +200
Nick Chubb +700
Ronald Jones +2000
Saquon Barkley +2500
Any other RB +3300
Analysis: Going against LSU running back Derrius Guice appears foolish, doesn’t it? Guice has the tools to be an every down RB. He comes from a great running back system at LSU. He has the cut back ability to hit the hole and take it to the house. He might be this year’s Alvin Kamara.
Then again, Alvin Kamara wasn’t Alvin Kamara until the Saints drafted him in Round 2 last year. Kamara didn’t show enough on game film to even be a Round 1 pick, much less a Top 20 Round 1 pick.
That’s why I suspect that teams might pass on Guice. They might pass on Guice until Round 2. They might pass on Guice until Georgia’s Sony Michel is drafted ahead of him. The reason is because as good as Guice projects to be, Sony Michel is a great running back right now. Michel averaged 7.9 yards per carry last season. He averaged close to 17 yards per carry versus the Oklahoma Sooners in the College Football Playoff Semifinal win.
Michel’s 5′ 11″ and weighs 221 lbs. I think he’s drafted before Guice on Thursday.
Pick: Sony Michel
Second QB Drafted
Josh Allen -175
Josh Rosen +125
Sam Darnold +500
Baker Mayfield +1200
Any other QB +2000
Analysis: The Jets supposedly love Baker Mayfield. It’s difficult for me to see Mayfield being drafted in the Top 5, though. If the Jets do draft Mayfield, he might be the first QB chosen because I’m not sure the Browns go with Darnold with Pick 1.
If the Browns pass on drafting Darnold with Pick 1, and instead go with Barkley like I predict, Darnold should be the second QB off the board. I don’t see the Browns not drafting Darnold with the 4th pick if he’s around. There’s one caveat to that.
Rumors have swirled that the Cleveland Browns are as much in love with Josh Allen as they are with Sam Darnold. Allen could be the second choice picked even if Darnold is on the board. That’s assuming that the rumors are true.
In any case, I’m going with Sam Darnold to be the second quarterback drafted.
Pick: Sam Darnold
Will These Projected Round 1 Trades Really Happen?
Cleveland Trades Both Their Picks to Move Out of the Top 5
Cleveland holds Pick 1 and Pick 4 in Round 1 of the 2018 NFL Draft. The Browns are notorious for trading out of the Top 5. That hasn’t worked out for them in years past. I believe they stay put this year. Getting a top quarterback and a running back like Saquon Barkley, or defensive-end like Bradley Chubb, is too good to pass up. This is the draft where Cleveland finally makes the choice to become a good football team again.
The Cleveland Browns won’t trade out of the Top 5 on Thursday.
Buffalo Bills Move Up in Round 1 to Draft a QB
There’s every indication that the Buffalo Bills want to move up to draft one of the top quarterbacks on the board. I’m not so sure the Bills do that, though. Buffalo owns Pick 22 and Pick 12. They could definitely use both those picks to grab a couple of lock down defensive players that help them win football games next season. Buffalo signed A.J. McCarron to be their QB this season. I believe McCarron’s the real deal.
The Bills won’t trade up in the NFL Draft on April 26.
New England Patriots Trade into Top 10 to Draft a QB
There’s a theme, right? Everybody wants to trade into the Top 10 to grab a quarterback. While I don’t believe Buffalo trades for Denver’s 5th pick, most NFL draft analysts believe this happens, I do feel that the Patriots could try to trade into the Top 10 and grab one of the top 5 quarterbacks. The fact that Tom Brady hasn’t said he’s definitely going to play in 2018 means that New England and Terrific Tom might have spoken about him hanging it up before training camp starts.
The Patriots will be scrambling for a QB if that happens. Then again, even with two Round 1 picks, it’s not an automatic that New England gets into position to draft one of the Top 5 quarterbacks. I don’t believe this happens, either.
Miami Dolphins Trade Into Top 6 to Draft a QB
To me, this is the most likely trade to happen on Thursday. The reason I write that is because the Dolphins need a quarterback to run Adam Gase’s offensive system. Ryan Tannehill has had multiple knee surgeries. Does anyone believe he shows up this season with no problems?
The Fins must draft either Baker Mayfield, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen, or Sam Darnold to have any shot of winning football games in the near future. Rosen’s the first choice. If the Jets pass on Rosen and instead draft Mayfield, the Dolphins will scramble to either grab the Broncos’ 5th pick, or the Colts’ 6th pick.
There’s a good chance the Miami Dolphins do manage a trade that gets them into position to draft one of the top quarterbacks.