NFL Draft: How Do Leading Mock Drafts Line Up With Sportsbook Odds?

Posted By Juan Carlos Blanco on March 16, 2020 - Last Updated on March 24, 2020

From April 23-25, NFL franchises will be betting a significant chunk of their immediate future in the annual college player lottery known as the NFL Draft.

And, it won’t be just NFL general managers with some proverbial skin in the game when these selections are made. An increasing number of bettors will have a stake in the matter as well. Most legal, regulated sportsbooks will offer prop wagers based on the NFL Draft.

Markets naturally vary by sportsbook. Some of the most popular options for these types of bets center on the draft’s early rounds and “firsts” throughout the process. For examples, at FOX Bet sportsbook, the following are some of the current 2020 draft prop bet markets already available:

  • 1st overall pick
  • First WR Drafted
  • First QB Drafted
  • First CB Drafted
  • First OL Drafted
  • First RB Drafted
  • First Safety Drafted
  • Round 1 Position Totals
  • First TE Drafted

Comparing the experts to the books

An integral part of pre-draft coverage that has exponentially grown in scope in recent years are mock drafts. At one time much more of a niche practice limited to a handful of experts, they’ve become the norm for virtually every website that covers the NFL in some form.

In an effort to see how in concert some of the leading mock drafts are with NFL Draft futures betting markets, we’ve assembled seven from particularly respected sources – Pro Football Focus, ESPN.com, NFL.com, SI.com, CBSSports.com, Rotoworld and The Athletic – and identified areas in which there may be either agreement or disparity for some of the top markets listed above.

 ESPNNFL.comRotoworldPFFThe AthleticCBS SportsSI.com
No. 1 Overall PickBurrowBurrowBurrowBurrowBurrowBurrowBurrow
First WR TakenJeudyLambRuggsJeudyJeudyLambJeudy
First QB TakenBurrowBurrowBurrowBurrowBurrowBurrowBurrow
First CB TakenOkudahOkudahOkudahOkudahOkudahOkudahOkudah
First RB TakenSwiftSwiftN/AN/ATaylorSwiftSwift
First OL TakenBectonWillsBectonBectonBectonWillsWills
First Safety TakenMcKinneyMcKinneyDavisMcKinneyMcKinneyMcKinneyDelpit

No. 1 overall pick

There’s no suspense or disagreement here. All seven mocks have the Bengals taking LSU’s Joe Burrow No. 1 after his 5,671-yard, 60-touchdown 2019 season. FOX Bet unsurprisingly has Burrow at -2500 to be taken at the top by Cincinnati. There may still be a smokescreen or two put up prior to that card being handed in. But, make no mistake – even the often hapless Bengals won’t squander the opportunity that having the top overall pick in a year when a quarterback with Burrow’s upside is available presents. And in the nearly impossible scenario that they are offered a king’s ransom to trade out of the selection, you can take it to the bank the team making the move to the top is doing it to nab Burrow, keeping him as the first player off the board.

First WR drafted

We have a completely different scenario in this market. There is no true consensus among the seven mocks evaluated, and one particularly noteworthy outlier.

Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy gets the call in PFF’s, SI’s, Ryan Wilson’s CBS and ESPN.com’s mocks. The first three see the big-bodied wideout, who put up 145 receptions for 2,478 yards and 24 touchdowns over his last two college seasons, going to the Raiders at No. 12. ESPN.com’s Todd McShay has Jeudy going a pick earlier to the Jets at No. 11.

Conversely, both NFL.com’s Chad Reuter and The Athletic’s Dane Brugler’s have Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb as the Las Vegas Raiders’ first-ever selection. And Rotoworld’s Josh Norris offers up the biggest surprise, designating Alabama’s Henry Ruggs III, he of the 4.27 40-time at the combine, as the first wideout off the board to the Denver Broncos at No. 15.

If Norris’ prediction turns out to be prescient – highly improbable at this point — it will pay off for bettors willing to roll the dice. Ruggs checks in at a nice price of +450, the third-longest odds to be the first receiver taken. The oddsmakers are much more in line with PFF’s Michael Renner, SI.com’s Kevin Hanson and CBS’s Wilson, listing Jeudy as the odds-on favorite (-137) and Lamb behind him in second place at plus money (+120).

First QB drafted

Naturally, given that Burrow is widely assumed to be taken with the top overall pick, there’s not much to see here. All seven mocks are perfectly in concert here as well with FOX Bet, which has Burrow at an even steeper price of -5000 to be the first signal-caller off the board. With the Bengals believed to be unequivocally on board with the pick and Tua Tagovailoa’s overall stock having taken a serious hit due to his hip injury, there simply doesn’t seem to be any other viable candidate here, irrespective of how appealing their price may be.

First CB drafted

Just as with the first QB drafted market, there’s consensus here in the form of Ohio State’s Jeffrey Okudah. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound corner only garnered three interceptions over his three-season college career, all during his junior 2019 campaign. However, he’s seen as a virtually bulletproof prospect that boasts eye-popping measurables – PFF notes his 41-inch vertical and 11-foot-3 broad jump – and appealing intangibles in terms of locker-room character and presence. Okudah is the only corner with minus-money attached, and the only disagreement among the seven mocks is whether he’ll land with Carolina at No. 7 (NFL.com, The Athletic, PFF), the Lions via trade at No. 6 (SI.com) or No. 3 (ESPN, CBS), or the Jaguars at No. 9 (Rotoworld).

First RB drafted

This presents as one of the most interesting markets of the ones we’re highlighting. To begin with, three of the mocks (Rotoworld, The Athletic, PFF) don’t have a RB being taken in the first round. Then, while the Athletic’s Brugler sees the Lions taking Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor as the first back with the 35th overall pick early in the second,  NFL.com’s Reuter has the Dolphins nabbing him at No. 26 overall. Meanwhile, SI.com’ s Hanson has Miami going with Georgia’s D’Andre Swift in that spot. Conversely, CBS’ Wilson sees Swift as the first RB off the board at the end of the first round via the Chiefs at No. 32 overall.

And ESPN’s McShay has the biggest outlier prediction of all — the Buccaneers nabbing Swift at No. 14. Tampa Bay certainly could be looking at spending some premium draft capital at the position with Ronald Jones the only (semi) dependable option at the position heading into 2020. However, whether they’ll be willing to go there first and foremost as high as No. 14 is a matter worthy of speculation.

The wide range of opinion isn’t reflected by FOX Bet, however. It has Swift as the clear odds-on favorite, making him the only RB with minus-money attached. Taylor does check in at No. 2 at an appealing price. That makes him one of the best potential values in these prop markets, especially considering his college numbers (6,174 rushing yards and 50 rushing touchdowns over three seasons) dwarf those of Swift’s. Moreover, both the Buccaneers and Dolphins – the teams with the highest draft slotting of those predicted to be the first to take a RB this year — have an undeniable need at the position.

First OL drafted

The offensive line player pool is far from the most exciting to the average draft viewer, and few selections engender less enthusiasm from a team’s die-hard fans than those of the “big uglies” up front. However, it’s just as viable a market as any for those engaging in draft prop bets. This season, there’s only slight disagreement between the seven mocks as far as who’s the first at the position to get their name announced by commissioner Roger Goodell. As projected, it’s a two-candidate field.

Gargantuan Mekhi Becton, a junior from Louisville who checks in at 6-foot-7 and 368 pounds, is the odds-on favorite with both the experts and Fox Bet. Rotoworld, the Athletic, PFF, NFL and ESPN all have Becton as the first o-lineman taken. The discrepancy lies in which team will nab the prized prospect. The first three mocks have Becton at No. 4 to the Giants, while NFL.com has him going to Big Blue at No. 5 due to a swap of projected pick swap with the Dolphins. ESPN’s McShay is the one outlier – he doesn’t have Becton coming off the board until No. 8 and being selected there by the Cardinals.

Miami and Arizona are also involved in the other two mocks that stray from Becton, SI and CBS. In those projections, it’s Alabama’s Jedrick Willis who’s the first offensive lineman to be selected. SI has Willis going to the ‘Fins at No. 5; CBS predicts it will be the Cardinals sending in his card with the No. 8 selection.

Over at FOX Bet, even Becton checks in at plus-money as the favorite. Interestingly, it’s Iowa’s Tristan Wirfs who’s actually got the second-shortest number, with Willis a somewhat distant third. That certainly makes the latter an interesting flier to consider, especially because his run-blocking, something the Dolphins are desperately lacking, is considered the strongest part of his game.

First safety drafted

We have some healthy disagreement among the seven experts on the first safety on the board. While two of the three players tabbed as the potential first pick at the position also occupy the first two spots on the futures odds board on FOX Bet, there’s some real profit potential in the third name if Rotoworld’s Simmons is correct.

We’ll start with the odds-on favorite at both the sportsbook and with the mocks – the Crimson Tide’s Xavier McKinney. The junior, who shined in both run support and pass defense last season, is projected to be taken by either the Saints at No. 24 (The Athletic), the Patriots at No. 23 (NFL.com), the Jaguars at No. 20 (PFF) or the Cowboys at No. 17 (CBS and ESPN).

Right behind McKinney in futures odds is LSU’s Grant Delpit. The two-time consensus All-American won the Jim Thorpe Award as a junior, distinguishing him as the best defensive back in the country. Delpit is the latest in a long line of decorated Tiger safeties that includes Jamal Adams, LaRon Landry and Tyrann Mathieu, so the school pedigree is also there. However, just one mock – SI.com – has Delpit being taken above McKinney. The Cowboys are the team here as well, but down at No. 22 after a projected trade with the Bills.

And the potential aforementioned sleeper is Cal’s Ashtyn Davis. The ultra-athletic senior has some question marks attached in terms of his deep range and size/strength profile. However, he was also a standout in track during his four-year college tenure and made plenty of plays in both run support and coverage for the Golden Bears. Rotoworld’s Norris has Davis being taken by the NFC-champion 49ers all the way down at No. 30. That outlook certainly goes against the grain; however, if a team is sufficiently intrigued by Davis’ potential to value him higher than McKinney or Delpit, any bettors rolling the dice on such as scenario will profit handsomely – Davis sits as the player with the sixth-longest odds of being the first safety taken.

NFL Draft betting odds

#1 Overall Pick
First QB Drafted
First RB Drafted
First WR Drafted
First Safety Drafted
First CB Drafted

Game
04/23/2020
(Eastern Time)
(EST)
Joe Burrow
Bet now
-2500
Bet now
-2200
Bet now
-2500
Chase Young
Bet now
+1600
Bet now
+1200
Bet now
+1700
Tua Tagovailoa
Bet now
+1600
Bet now
+1900
Bet now
+1000
Justin Herbert
Bet now
+2500
Bet now
+3600
Bet now
+3000
Jeffrey Okudah
Bet now
+10000
Bet now
+4300
Bet now
+4000
Andrew Thomas
Bet now
+25000
Bet now
+2700
Bet now
+12000
Jacob Eason
Bet now
+25000
Bet now
+4300
Bet now
+20000
Jake Fromm
Bet now
+50000
Bet now
+4300
Bet now
+25000
Jerry Jeudy
Bet now
+50000
Bet now
+6500
Bet now
+7500
CeeDee Lamb
Bet now
+50000
Bet now
+6500
Bet now
+8000

Game
04/23/2020
(Eastern Time)
(EST)
Joe Burrow
Bet now
-10000
Bet now
OTB
Bet now
-5000
Tua Tagovailoa
Bet now
+800
Bet now
OTB
Bet now
+800
Justin Herbert
Bet now
+1600
Bet now
OTB
Bet now
+2000
Jordan Love
Bet now
+3300
Bet now
OTB
Bet now
+8000
Jacob Eason
Bet now
+10000
Bet now
OTB
Bet now
+15000
Jake Fromm
Bet now
+15000
Bet now
OTB
Bet now
+20000

Game
04/23/2020
(Eastern Time)
(EST)
D'Andre Swift
Bet now
+115
Bet now
-120
Bet now
-150
Jonathan Taylor
Bet now
+125
Bet now
-110
Bet now
+125
J.K. Dobbins
Bet now
+600
Bet now
+750
Bet now
+600
Clyde Edwards-Helaire
Bet now
+900
Bet now
+3200
Bet now
+1000
Cam Akers
Bet now
+2000
Bet now
N/A
Bet now
+3000
Zack Moss
Bet now
+5000
Bet now
+7500
Bet now
+10000
Eno Benjamin
Bet now
+15000
Bet now
N/A
Bet now
+10000
KeShawn Vaughn
Bet now
+15000
Bet now
N/A
Bet now
+12500

Game
04/23/2020
(Eastern Time)
(EST)
Jerry Jeudy
Bet now
-125
Bet now
-120
Bet now
-137
CeeDee Lamb
Bet now
+130
Bet now
+140
Bet now
+120
Henry Ruggs
Bet now
+650
Bet now
+550
Bet now
+450
Tee Higgins
Bet now
+5000
Bet now
+2000
Bet now
+1300
Justin Jefferson
Bet now
+5000
Bet now
+3200
Bet now
+1100
Denzel Mims
Bet now
+6600
Bet now
N/A
Bet now
+6000
Laviska Shenault
Bet now
+6600
Bet now
N/A
Bet now
+1500
Brandon Aiyuk
Bet now
+10000
Bet now
N/A
Bet now
+2200
KJ Hamler
Bet now
+10000
Bet now
+4200
Bet now
+2000
Donovan Peoples-Jones
Bet now
+10000
Bet now
N/A
Bet now
+12500
Jalen Reagor
Bet now
+10000
Bet now
N/A
Bet now
+1800

Game
04/23/2020
(Eastern Time)
(EST)
Xavier McKinney
Bet now
-177
Bet now
OTB
Bet now
-150
Grant Delpit
Bet now
+130
Bet now
OTB
Bet now
+125
Antoine Winfield
Bet now
+1600
Bet now
OTB
Bet now
+600
Kyle Dugger
Bet now
+3000
Bet now
OTB
Bet now
+800
Ashtyn Davis
Bet now
+2500
Bet now
OTB
Bet now
+1600

Game
04/23/2020
(Eastern Time)
(EST)
Jeffrey Okudah
Bet now
-3335
Bet now
OTB
Bet now
-2000
CJ Henders
Bet now
+1000
Bet now
OTB
Bet now
+1000
Kristian Fulton
Bet now
+2500
Bet now
OTB
Bet now
+1500
Trevon Diggs
Bet now
+3300
Bet now
OTB
Bet now
+2500
Jeff Gladney
Bet now
+5000
Bet now
OTB
Bet now
+2800
AJ Terrell
Bet now
+5000
Bet now
OTB
Bet now
+3300

*OTB = Odds are currently off the board

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Written by
Juan Carlos Blanco

Juan Carlos Blanco has served as a freelance writer for a wide variety of online publications and websites, with an intensive focus on fantasy sports. Juan has provided analysis and comprehensive coverage of the MLB, NBA, NFL, CFL, AAF and AFL while also reporting on news and developments in the daily fantasy sports and online gaming industries.

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