Best Bets for NFL Draft’s First Round

On Thursday night from Detroit, the NFL Draft will make its first 32 picks. A couple of the picks are obvious, and even though we know they are going to happen, they won’t make you any money,

Betting on quarterback Caleb Williams to become the sixth USC Trojan to be drafted No. 1 overall is an obvious win, but at -20000, it’s a bet hardly worth making. The same with Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. being the first non-quarterback coming off the board. Although at -700, there will be action on him.

The rest of the first round is largely unknown, even if we have some ideas of how it might go.

Draft Pick Parlays

When picking the top four players in their exact order, the -170 favorite is Williams at No.1, Jayden Daniels at No. 2, Drake Maye at No. 3, and Harrison Jr. at No. 4.

But we know that there are quarterback-needy teams further down the draft board, like the Minnesota Vikings, who have two firsts to use as trading capital. If the Vikings were to trade up to No. 4, the first-four parlay of Williams, Daniels, Maye, and Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy becomes the expectation, and it pays +275.

We believe that Daniels, as the reigning Heisman Trophy winner from LSU, is the No. 2 pick, and Maye from North Carolina will go third. But Washington, with the second overall pick, is a bit of a wild card, and they could select Maye. If that were to happen, and the draft goes Williams, Maye, Daniels, and Harrison Jr., it pays +900.

That’s not that far-fetched of a scenario to warrant a +900. There is a lot to like about Maye, and before this last college football season, it was Maye that was the consensus second pick.

Total First-Round Offensive Lineman

We think there are going to be five quarterbacks taken in the first round, and the possibility of as many as six. There are probably going to be six wide receivers off the board, one tight end in Georgia’s Brock Bowers, and up to 10 defensive players.

That’s as many as 23 of our first 32 picks, leaving just nine other spots. The over/under on offensive lineman to be drafted in the first round is 9.5, and the under is paying +130.

The only way the under doesn’t hit is if one of the other positions loses one of its players, and he’s replaced by an offensive lineman. 

At tackle, Joe Alt, J.C. Latham, Olumuyiwa Fashanu, Taliese Fuaga, Troy Fautanu, Amarius Mims, and Tyler Guyton are all big probabilities to be selected on Thursday. To get to 10, you either need three interior lineman – unlikely – or teams reaching for tackles Jordan Morgan, Kingsley Suamataia, and Graham Barton.

All three could go in the first round, but it’s more likely that at least one will fall to the second. The under here, at +130, is your better bet.

Pac-12 First-Round Draftees

No one is surprised that the SEC leads the way in expected first-round draft picks. The over/under there is 9.5, and the over is a heavy favorite at -220. But the Pac-12 is next, and in the conference’s final year, it was stacked with great players. The over/under is 7.5 first-round picks, and we think the over of +160 is a great bet to make.

Three quarterbacks are going in the first round – Williams from USC, Michael Penix Jr. from Washington, and Bo Nix from Oregon. Wide receiver Rome Odunze played at Washington and he is going in the top-10. The Pac-12 is also a great place to grab a tackle, with Fuaga from Oregon State, Fautanu from Washington, and Morgan from Arizona. Morgan is the only one who isn’t a sure thing.

The Pac-12 also has one of the top pass rushers in the draft in Laiatu Latu from UCLA, and don’t be surprised if Oregon wide receiver Troy Franklin also makes it into the first round.

That’s seven sure things in the first round – Williams, Penix Jr., Nix, Odunze, Fuaga, Fautanu, and Latu. All you need is one more, between Morgan, Franklin, or wide receiver Ja’Lynn Polk from Washington, Oregon center Jackson Powers-Johnson, and Washington State safety Jaden Hicks.

The Pac-12 is a good bet to get eight first-round picks.

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