With the NFL draft taking center stage Thursday on an otherwise barren sports landscape, Las Vegas sportsbooks have posted a record number of props on the event.
“By a mile,” William Hill sportsbook director Nick Bogdanovich said.
To help bettors sort through the hundreds of wagering options, the Review-Journal asked a handful of professional sports bettors and handicappers for their best bets.
C.J. Henderson draft position: Under 14½ (-110)
Florida cornerback C.J. Henderson has been one of the biggest climbers on draft boards. His draft position has dropped from 17½ to 14½ at William Hill, where the under has drawn 97 percent of the total money wagered.
VSiN host Mitch Moss and handicapper Ian Cameron like Henderson to go under 14½, meaning he must be drafted with one of the first 14 picks.
“There are rumblings Henderson could crack the top 12 in this draft as his stock rises over some other cornerbacks due to his tremendous athletic ability,” said Cameron (@bobano). “Good value for him to go under 14½.”
Said Moss: “Some steam on Henderson as his prop has moved to 12½ (at some books). Some reports suggest certain teams are higher on him than (Ohio State cornerback Jeff) Okudah.”
Here are Moss’ other picks:
Derrick Brown: Under 7½ (-110)
Moss took the Auburn defensive tackle under 8½ before his number dropped to 7½ on Tuesday.
“Brown could go as high as 3 to the Lions; 8½ is now either heavily juiced to the under or it has moved to 7½. Good number,” he said.
Alabama players drafted in first round: Over 5½ (+105)
The Crimson Tide appears to have five surefire first-round picks in quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, tackle Jedrick Wills Jr., wideouts Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III, and safety Xavier McKinney. Cornerback Trevon Diggs is the wild card.
“Looks like Diggs is a late first rounder, which means ’Bama should have at least six players drafted in the first 32 picks,” Moss said.
Here are Cameron’s other picks:
Jalen Hurts: Under 62½ (-110)
“The former Alabama and Oklahoma quarterback is being undervalued here in a sport where having mobile QBs matters more and more,” he said. “He will be a project QB, but to me, there is a good chance at least one team will look at Hurts in the early-to-middle portion of the second round.”
Running backs drafted in first round: Under ½ (+155)
Cameron bet this prop at +200.
“This prop should be priced closer to even money than it is,” he said. “The only RB that I see going in the late first round, perhaps to a team like Miami at No. 26, is D’Andre Swift from Georgia. I think it is worth a shot to bet the (under) here at a very attractive plus price.”
Here are longtime Las Vegas oddsmaker Kenny White’s plays:
First offensive lineman drafted: Tristan Wirfs (+130)
“Wirfs has size, strength, quick feet and explosive speed,” said White (KennyWhiteSports.com). “But most importantly, he learned the art of being a great offensive lineman under the tutelage of (Iowa coach) Kirk Ferentz.”
First safety drafted: Jeremy Chinn (+700)
“Jeremy Chinn’s combine numbers were off the charts,” White said.
Here are pro sports bettor Jeff Whitelaw’s best bets:
Player to be drafted first: J.K. Dobbins (-145) over Clyde Edwards-Helaire; D’Andre Swift (-250) over Jonathan Taylor
“Swift is the best running back in the draft, and everything I’m reading, teams that need a running back seem to favor Dobbins more than Helaire,” Whitelaw said.
Jerry Jeudy: Under 12½ (-145)
“Jeudy’s the best receiver, and either the Jets or Raiders will take him at 11 or 12,” he said.
Will Tua Tagovailoa be drafted in first six picks? Yes (-230)
“Tua’s really special. I know he has some injuries, but I just think somebody will either take him or trade up to get him if he’s available,” Whitelaw said.
Trades in first round: Under 6½ (-200)
“There were six (first-round trades) last year,” Whitelaw said. “That’s a lot of trades to begin with. I think there will be less just because it’s a little more complicated with the technology and everything. And teams won’t absolutely have to get a certain guy. In years past, they’d work these guys out and trade up and make sure they got their guy. But they’re not 100 percent sure now.”