NFL Draft Odds Movement: How And Why The Prices Shift

Written By Brett Gibbons on March 11, 2022
NFL Draft odds movement

2022 NFL Draft odds are on the move, after opening odds for NFL Draft props dropped in mid-February.

Once the favorite, Michigan pass rusher Aidan Hutchinson is growing to be a longer shot for the number-one overall pick. Conversely, Alabama tackle Evan Neal is now the odds-on favorite. What caused these movements?

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2022 NFL Draft Odds Movement

The following table lays out some of the biggest movers over the last three weeks in the NFL Draft market. They are not necessarily reflective of the current top players on odds boards. Odds are pulled from DraftKings Sportsbook.

PlayerOdds (Mar. 4)Opening Odds
Evan Neal-115+200
Aidan Hutchinson+275+160
Ikem Ekwonu+400+10000
Kayvon Thibodeaux+1200+350
Charles Cross+5000+3500
Matt Corral+10000+5000

Flipping The Favorite

Depending on where you look, Aidan Hutchinson is still the top player in this draft. Analysts like NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah and ESPN’s Mel Kiper have Hutchinson atop their big boards. Naturally, the odds followed suit and listed him as the most likely player to be drafted first overall. However, further developments point towards the Jacksonville Jaguars drafting a position of need rather than best player available with the first overall pick.

In 2021, only five quarterbacks were pressured more times than rookie Trevor Lawrence. The lack of confidence in the offensive line and a coaching staff from hell stunted Lawrence’s growth in his first season. New head coach Doug Pederson has a proven track record of successfully developing quarterbacks, but it starts at the offensive line.

A narrative is growing around the need to protect Lawrence and that’s pushed Evan Neal to now be the odds-on favorite to be selected first overall. At one point, his odds grew to as low as -200, but his best price available as of Mar. 4 is -110 at FanDuel Sportsbook.

Ikem Ekwonu: A Rising Darkhorse?

While Neal has been the consensus top offensive lineman, there’s another horse in the race. NC State’s Ikem Ekwonu is a name rising in popularity and shortening in odds to be the first player taken. “Ickey” was as long as +10000 at FanDuel in his opening odds, but those have halved to +400, a common price across multiple books. The cause seems to be growing concern around Neal’s ability as a true left tackle. At Alabama, Neal played left guard for some time and, per The Draft Network (TDN), is best suited as a right tackle.

Ekwonu, who is listed one spot ahead of Neal at TDN, was scouted as a true left tackle. He’s certainly a name to watch for odds to continue falling as the draft cycle continues.

2022 NFL Draft Odds Movement: Weeding The Field

Aside from Aidan Hutchinson, plenty of players’ odds are on the move in the other direction. Kayvon Thibodeaux may be the most extreme example of that movement. He opened at +350, behind Hutchinson and Neal, which was considered long to those tracking Thibodeaux’s career. From the moment he was recruited from high school, Thibodeaux was pegged as a future No. 1 overall pick. However, injury in 2021 dropped his draft stock and even surfaced brief rumors that he may return to Oregon.

Popular mock drafts now spot Thibodeaux on the cusp of the top five, with Jeremiah even slotting him as low as eighth to the Atlanta Falcons. As of Mar. 4, he’s popularly priced at +1200 to be the first overall draft pick. Could he present value? Or will has his stock truly fallen this low?

Coinciding with the rise of Ekwonu came the fall of Mississippi State’s Charles Cross. Despite already being a longshot, Cross’ odds dropped from as high as +3000 to +5000 at DraftKings Sportsbook. Other fringe names like Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral have effectively been removed from the conversation as well, with his price doubling from 50-1 to 100-1.

As the NFL Scouting Combine, individual Pro Days, and the overall draft process continue, these prices will continue to shift.

BetMGM Trader On What Moves Lines

BetMGM’s Christian Cipollini gave comment on what factors move NFL Draft lines.

The draft is a bit of a nightmare from a book making perspective, there’s a ton of factors, mostly at BetMGM we will use sharp action to determine where our prices land… [D]id some reporter make a one off comment on NFL live and now we suddenly are taking bets from anyone watching the show[?]
Another thing that makes it difficult are the smoke screens, the few days leading into the draft you never know what to believe, some teams will leak rumors to misdirect and it makes it difficult for trading… [T]here could be some potential for insider information so it’s one of my least favorite events.”

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Brett Gibbons

Brett is an avid sports traveler and former Division-I football recruiter for Bowling Green and Texas State. He’s a graduate of BGSU and works as an auditor for Google content curation products. He’s also contributed to Sports Illustrated and Fansided during his young writing career.

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