An NFL mock draft by the odds is an exercise I’ve done for the past three years running. Usually, I can piece together a good-looking Round 1 NFL Draft by what sportsbooks post. Some of the betting steam has proven rooted in reliable information, but sometimes it is not. It’s a challenging but fun puzzle to piece together. This year has been total chaos, despite only 31 first-round picks. The Dolphins pick was stripped by the league for tampering.
For the first time, I had to be creative and go to second and third options and make inferences based on who had the fifth-shortest odds to be the first receiver taken. Chances are, by the time you read this, the odds moved again. So I’m time stamping this one – these odds are reflective as of Tuesday, April 25 at 9:00 a.m ET.
Alright, let’s dig into the 2023 NFL mock draft by the odds. I pulled odds from multiple books, but chiefly DraftKings Sportsbook and bet365.
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Mock Draft Methodology
I tried my best not to make picks at my own discretion this year. This exercise is to make picks solely on the odds and I did that, but that caused three players – Anthony Richardson, Jalen Carter, and Bijan Robinson – to go undrafted. So I did use reasonable judgement to ensure first-round players were drafted in the first round.
I didn’t execute any trades in this mock draft. I also didn’t take into consideration fit with certain teams (i.e. scheme fits, does that team already have someone at that position, etc.); it only takes what the numbers in front of me are saying. The bottom line is, this is a fun exercise and it didn’t turn out to be predictive.
Here’s how it turned out.
2023 NFL Mock Draft By The Odds
1. Carolina Panthers (from Bears): Bryce Young, QB, Alabama
At one point, you could have bet Bryce Young to be drafted first overall at +275. That followed multiple reports that the Panthers traded up for CJ Stroud, which slowly reverted back to being Young. Reports suggest owner David Tepper loves Young while some on the coaching staff prefer Stroud. Regardless of whether or not everyone’s in step, Young is the runaway first overall pick.
Props used: 1st overall pick (-2000)
2. Houston Texans: Will Levis, QB, Kentucky
If I blindly followed the favorite for the first 10 picks, Levis would be picked twice, here and No. 4. I’m going to go out on a limb and say one of those is wrong. We just don’t know which.
Despite Adam Schefter saying on SportsCenter that the Texans “won’t go quarterback at two,” Levis remains the favorite in this position. Other players rumored to land here include Stroud, Will Anderson, and Tyree Wilson. Plus, there’s always a possibility that a team trades up to No. 2 and takes a QB.
Props used: 2nd overall pick (-125)
3. Arizona Cardinals: Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech
The latest reports tie Wilson to the Texans thanks to some Texas Tech connections and scheme fits. However, he’s the favorite to be taken third overall by the Cardinals, who are also favored to go defensive line with their first pick (-110). There’s also been late steam on the Cardinals to shock everyone and take an offensive lineman.
Here’s where things get really interesting, though. The Cardinals want to trade out of this spot, making Stroud (+230) the favorite to go third at DraftKings. Should a team trade up and take Stroud here, he’d be the third QB off the board. But it’s Anthony Richardson who’s the favorite to be QB3 drafted (+125).
Props used: 3rd overall pick (+260), Cardinals first draft position (-110)
4. Indianapolis Colts: CJ Stroud, QB, Ohio State
Despite Richardson being the favorite QB3, Stroud remains favored to go ahead of Richardson here at four. Again, Levis is technically the favorite here (+125), but division rivals aren’t sharing Levis every other Sunday. There’s definitely an inefficiency in the market somewhere and, if you can figure out which market is inefficient, there’s a good play to be had. The issue is – it’s anyone’s guess.
Props used: 4th overall pick (+200)
5. Seattle Seahawks (via Broncos): Will Anderson, EDGE, Alabama
The ultra-productive edge rusher from Alabama logged 58.5 tackles for loss and 34.5 sacks in three seasons. His 2021 season was one of the most productive ever, recording a ridiculous 31 tackles for loss (second-most ever) and 17.5 sacks (forth-most ever). Sportsbooks favor Anderson at No. 5 over Wilson, likely in response to growing speculation that a team picks Wilson much higher than we expect.
Props used: 5th overall pick (+220)
6. Detroit Lions (via Rams): Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois
Picks 5 and 6 are fairly straightforward, at least according to the odds. The most likely pick of any first-round selection after the first overall pick is here – Devon Witherspoon (-120). Rumors bound Witherspoon and the Lions tightly together from early on in the draft process.
Props used: 6th overall pick (-120)
7. Las Vegas Raiders: Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon
Despite GM Dave Ziegler saying the Raiders haven’t ruled out taking a QB this draft, Gonzalez is the favorite to go at No. 7. Sportsbooks also favor the Raiders to go corner at No. 7, although the gap is closing with offensive lineman stock rising, namely Paris Johnson Jr.
Props used: 7th overall pick (+275)
8. Atlanta Falcons: Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas
OK – I said I had to get creative with some of these picks. No team is favored to take a running back over any other position this draft, but the Falcons are most likely to do so. DraftKings lines the total number of running backs at 1.5 (Over -175), implying at least Robinson will go somewhere in the first 32 picks. The Falcons are more likely to take a defensive lineman, according to the odds, but bet365 lines Robinson as the favorite here.
Props used: 8th overall pick (+240)
9. Chicago Bears (via Panthers): Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee
While Draft Twitter goes on about the top five or so picks and the QBs at stake, Darnell Wright’s draft stock silently sky-rocketed. This is an example where the odds are heavily suggesting a potential shocker for the first OT off the board. Wright is in a three-way tie for the No. 9 pick with Jalen Carter and Johnson Jr., but he’s especially tied to Chicago, not any other team (his odds to go to Philly at No. 10 – another team favored to draft OT – are +1800).
Wright going first off the board feels reminiscent of Andrew Thomas being OT1 to the Giants in 2020; Thomas is now an All-Pro selection.
Props used: 9th overall pick (+300), Bears first draft position (-163)
10. Philadelphia Eagles (via Saints): Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern
Pick No. 10 is the last time we can use a position-specific prop; from here on out, the exercise really gets interesting. Despite DraftKings posting head-to-head draft position odds favoring Johnson Jr., Skoronski is a sizable favorite here at 10. Perhaps the likelihood of Johnson Jr. going much earlier is baked into the line, but the Northwestern product edges out the Buckeye on the odds board here.
Props used: 10th overall pick (+240)
11. Tennessee Titans: Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida
Like the Robinson pick earlier, the odds suggest Richardson will be a first-round pick. In fact, DraftKings lines his draft position prop at 4.5 (granted, with heavy -330 juice on the over). The Titans are favored to draft an offensive lineman (+100), but just slightly so over quarterback (+125). However, Richardson isn’t favored to be picked anywhere inside the top 10, making him one of the biggest wild cards in the NFL Draft.
The real-life likelihood that Richardson slips to 11 is low and the Titans have been strongly rumored to be looking to trade up, perhaps for this player (per Daniel Jeremiah).
Props used: Titans first position (+125), Richardson Over 4.5 (-330)
12. Houston Texans (via Browns): Jalen Carter, DL, Georgia
DraftKings lines Carter’s draft position prop at 6.5 (Over -205). His draft stock fell when charges for reckless driving were filed in connection with the death of a Georgia teammate and staffer in January. As a result, we’re unsure how teams really view Carter, who’s reported to be the top prospect on many teams’ boards. Last year, his teammate Jordan Davis fell down the board and was ultimately picked by the Eagles. Despite missing games to injury, Davis was one of the biggest game wreckers at defensive tackle this year.
Markets don’t exist for the Texans’ first or second drafted position, so this is really a blank spot. Odds say Carter won’t fall outside the top 10, so this is as close as I could slot him.
Props used: Carter Over 6.5 (-205)
13. Green Bay Packers (via Jets): Nolan Smith, EDGE, Georgia
At the NFL Combine, Smith wasn’t viewed as a first-round player. Since then, he’s rocketed up draft boards, with DraftKings now lining his position prop at 10.5 (Over -180). Just days ago, it was set at 13.5. The Packers are favored to go DL with their first pick, which is now 13th after finalizing the Aaron Rodgers trade. Last year, the Packers also picked a Georgia defender with a meteoric rise up boards, linebacker Quay Walker.
Props used: Packers first drafted position (+200), Smith Over 10.5 (-180)
14. New England Patriots: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State
This pick was fairly straightforward. The Patriots are strongly favored to take a receiver at 14, Jaxon Smith-Njigba’s draft position prop is Over 12.5, and he leads odds boards to be the first receiver taken. Nice and tidy.
Props used: Patriots first drafted position (+175), Smith-Njigba Over 12.5 (-320)
15. New York Jets (from Packers): Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State
Interestingly, the odds-on favorite to be the first offensive lineman taken now falls to the third offensive lineman taken. Again, inefficiencies in the market, but Godspeed if you can find where the inefficiency is. There’s a real difficulty with Johnson Jr.’s placement, thanks in part to the Darnell Wright-Bears wrench. His draft position is Under 9.5 (-270), so falling to 15 is incredibly unlikely. But we picked the favorite for Picks 1-10, so it’s a strange conundrum that doesn’t quite follow the rules.
The Jets are, however, almost certain to take an offensive lineman at No. 15 and the odds reflect that.
Props used: Jets first drafted position (-300)
16. Washington Commanders: Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State
Outside of the odds, the Penn State corner has been tied tightly to Washington. Multiple late mock drafts from Mel Kiper Jr. and Albert Breer feature Porter Jr. to the Commanders. Other rumors say Washington is “zeroing in” on him.
Some reports say teams would draft Maryland’s Deonte Banks over Porter Jr., but Porter Jr. has the lower draft position prop.
Props used: Commanders first drafted position (+110), Porter Jr. O/U 19.5
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia
The Steelers are technically favored to take a corner here (possibly the aforementioned Banks) at +110. Offensive lineman comes second at +140, so why is it that we’re mocking the Steelers to take Broderick Jones? His draft position prop is set at 14.5 (Over -175), making him likely to be drafted in this area. In reality, he’s more likely to be taken by the Jets at 15, but I explained why Johnson Jr. fell there instead. Really, this is a ripple effect from a screwy top 10 on odds boards.
But, of the teams in this range, the Steelers are the most likely to take an offensive lineman and stop the slide for Jones.
Props used: Steelers first drafted position (+140), Jones Over 14.5 (-175)
18. Detroit Lions: Lukas Van Ness, EDGE, Iowa
With their first pick of the first round, Detroit selected a corner, satisfying their odds-on favorite position to take first. Second-most likely – and the only other position shorter than 10-1 – is defensive line. Lukas Van Ness’ draft position prop sits at 12.5 (Over -250), but that prop is higher than Smith, who was the last defensive lineman taken.
Props used: Lions first drafted position (+125), Van Ness Over 12.5 (-250)
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Anton Harrison, OT, Oklahoma
When it comes to first drafted position odds, keep in mind that availability is baked into the line. Since at least five offensive linemen and three defensive linemen are on the field at almost any given time, there’s more of them in the draft than other positions. Since there’s more of them and more need for them, oftentimes they’ll be the favorite drafted position for way more teams than the pool can satisfy.
Such is the case here, with the Bucs being favored to go offensive lineman, and pretty strongly so (+170). I’ve satisfied all of the available draft position props along the offensive line, so I took some creative freedom here. Harrison is ranked highly among many respected draft analysts, although his stock is falling.
According to Mock Draft Database, Harrison is a fringe Round 1 pick among aggregate mock drafts, the last OT to be so.
Props used: Buccaneers first drafted position (+170)
20. Seattle Seahawks: Hendon Hooker, QB, Tennessee
The Seahawks already went with an edge rusher to satisfy their first drafted position. After that, QB is the most likely position at +300 and everything else is a longshot. The first round total for QBs drafted, per DraftKings, is over 4.5 (-200) as Hooker’s draft value continues to rise. Hooker satisfies the positional requirement for the first round and Seattle’s positional requirement here at 20.
Props used: Seahawks first draft position (+300), Over 4.5 first round QBs (-200)
Miami Dolphins: Pick Forfeited
Technically, this pick still exists and it’s still in possession by the Dolphins. However, they forfeit this draft pick after tampering with Tom Brady.
21. Los Angeles Chargers: Jordan Addison, WR, USC
Another easy one here. The Chargers are favored to go WR with their first pick and Jordan Addison has the best draft position prop of the remaining receivers (O22.5, -145). He barely edges out Zay Flowers, who also has a draft position prop set at 22.5, but with more juice.
Props used: Chargers first drafted position (+125), Addison O/U 22.5
22. Baltimore Ravens: Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland
Cornerback is the odds-on favorite first drafted position by the Baltimore Ravens at 22 (-110), with options aplenty on the table. Banks fits the positional prop, although his draft position prop doesn’t quite get satisfied here. The Steelers rumors knocked his draft position to 20.5, with juice to the under.
Props used: Ravens first drafted position (-110), Banks O/U 20.5
23. Minnesota Vikings: Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College
The Vikings are listed equally to take a receiver or corner here at No. 23, both at +180. Flowers has the best match in terms of position (O22.5 -160), so he’s the pick here. However, do note that Flowers stands above Addison on many first receiver drafted odds boards.
Props used: Vikings first drafted position (+180), Flowers Over 22.5 (-160)
24. Jacksonville Jaguars: Brian Branch, DB, Alabama
After being mocked incessantly with offensive tackle and receiver throughout the draft cycle, the Jaguars are all of a sudden favored to go with a corner with their first pick. Depending on where you look, Branch is listed as a different position. He played nickle/box safety in college and projects to be a nickel in the NFL, and sportsbooks list Branch under first corner drafted markets and some outlets list him as a corner. So, for this exercise, he’s a corner.
Without any positional prop on him, he’s the highest remaining corner on Mock Draft Database’s aggregate rankings, so he goes here over other possible players like Kelee Ringo or Cam Smith.
Props used: Jaguars first drafted position (+175)
25. New York Giants: Emmanuel Forbes, CB, Mississippi State
The Giants are the next in a long line of teams to be favored to take a corner and Emmanuel Forbes is the next-highest ranked corner on Mock Draft Database. Forbes also satisfies the number of first round DBs drafted at Over 5.5 (-195).
Props used: Giants first drafted position (+125), First round DB O5.5 (-195)
26. Dallas Cowboys: Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame
Another straightforward pick, the Cowboys are favored to take a tight end and Michael Mayer is favored to be the first TE off the board. Not only that, but we had a direct head-to-head prop with Dalton Kincaid, which Mayer was heavily favored until DraftKings yanked the market. He has the higher draft positional prop – likely thanks to the Packers being rumored to take him at 13 – set at Over 21.5 (-225).
Props used: Cowboys first drafted position (+175), Mayer-Kincaid H2H, Mayer Over 21.5 (-225)
27. Buffalo Bills: Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson
It’s been awhile since we’ve had a team favored to go defensive lineman with their first pick, so Murphy’s draft position prop (18.5) isn’t satisfied here. But he fits into the grand puzzle, so he goes as highly as the odds demand him to.
It’s worth noting that these odds plummeted in the days leading up to the NFL Draft. The Bills were favored to go linebacker, which a head-to-head market even existed for between Arkansas’ Drew Sanders and Iowa’s Jack Campbell. This draft, we won’t see any first-round linebackers taken.
Props used: Bills first drafted position (+150)
28. Cincinnati Bengals: Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah
The tight ends were easy to place, with the Cowboys and Bengals being the only two teams favored to take them. As mentioned, Kincaid was not favored to go ahead of Mayer and his positional prop is three spots lower at Over 24.5 (-120). What does complicate things is that the first round TE market is set squarely on two – a bizarre occurrence – with the over juiced heavily to -300. I tried my best to jam three first-round TEs in here, but couldn’t do it.
Props used: Bengals first drafted position (+150), Kincaid Over 24.5 (-120)
29. New Orleans Saints (via Broncos/49ers): Bryan Bresee, DT, Clemson
What’s usually a difficult back end of the mock draft by the odds turned into a “Bres–ee” thanks to straightforward props that made sense. The Saints are favored to draft a defensive lineman and Bresee’s positional prop sits at Over 28.5 (-200).
Props used: Saints first drafted position (+100), Bresee Over 28.5 (-200)
30. Philadelphia Eagles: Will McDonald IV, EDGE, Iowa State
The stars really aligned here for this pick, which came down to Will McDonald IV or Mazi Smith from Michigan. After going offensive line at Pick 10, the Eagles’ next-most likely position drafted first is defensive line (+200). McDonald satisfies that requirement and the total defensive players in Round 1 requirement, set at Under 14.5 (-320).
Props used: Eagles first drafted position (+200), total defensive players Under 14.5 (-320)
31. Kansas City Chiefs: O’Cyrus Torrence, OL, Florida
“Wait!” You shout, “Not [insert receiver here]?” The Chiefs are technically favored to go wide receiver here at +175, but the implied probability sits less than 1% higher than the two next most likely drafted positions: offensive and defensive line (+180). We need one more offensive player to satisfy the total Round 1 offensive players taken, and one more offensive lineman to hit our Over 5.5 (-425) prop. O’Cyrus Torrence is a perfect fit, according to the odds.
Quentin Johnston is a wild player to fall out of the first round, but the stars are aligning that way. In fact, he wasn’t even extended an offer to attend the Draft, an indication that the league isn’t sold on him being a Day 1 pick. The total WRs market sits at O/U 3.5, with equal -115 juice on either side.
Props used: Chiefs first drafted position (+180), total offensive players Over 16.5 (-300), First round OL Over 5.5 (-425)
How well does the Sportsbook NFL Mock Draft do?
In the first two years, our sportsbook NFL mock draft scored an average 34.5 points based on The Huddle Report’s industry-respected grading system:
- 1 point for each correct first round player
- 1 point for each player-to-team match
- 2 points if you get both right
In 2021, this mock draft scored 35 points, good enough for 112th among graded mock drafts. Last year, it scored 34, which fell down to 201st. While matching players to teams wasn’t this draft’s strong suit, it does well predicting first-round players. Last year, sportsbooks nailed 27/32 first round selections and the year prior, 28/32.
How will the mock draft do this year? We’ll find out Thursday night.
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