The NFL quarterback draft class of 2019 is weak compared to the past few years. But that won’t stop teams from taking at least four QBs in Thursday’s first round.
At least that’s the consensus opinion of Las Vegas oddsmakers and handicappers, who forecast the NFL draft prop of QBs taken in the first round to go over 3½.
Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray is the 8-1 favorite to be selected with the first overall pick by the Arizona Cardinals after opening at minus 140 and soaring as high as a 25-1 favorite.
Quarterbacks Dwayne Haskins (Ohio State), Drew Lock (Missouri) and Daniel Jones (Duke) are expected to follow Murray in the first round.
“I don’t think any of those guys compare to Carson Wentz or Jared Goff or Patrick Mahomes or Deshaun Watson or Mitchell Trubisky,” Sunset Station sportsbook director Chuck Esposito said. “But it’s such a quarterback-driven league. And teams are big on quarterbacks in the first round because the team has the fifth-year control.
“I think four, for sure, go in the first round and potentially five, with possibly (West Virginia’s) Will Grier sneaking into the bottom of the first round as well.”
Teams in the market for a QB include the Cardinals, New York Giants, Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins and Washington Redskins.
“Teams like the New England Patriots might be looking for their quarterback of the future,” Esposito said. “And you can’t rule out the Raiders with their three No. 1s.”
Lock it in
VSiN handicapper Wes Reynolds said he can see Oakland drafting Lock.
“Who was Drew Lock’s coach in the Senior Bowl?” he said. “It was Jon Gruden.”
Either way, Reynolds likes the QB prop to go over.
“You’re going to see four. Obviously Murray and Haskins. And Jones and Lock are moving up the board,” said Reynolds (@WesReynolds1). “We’ve seen a pattern in these drafts when a quarterback goes off the board — not the first but the second — and you see teams get desperate.
“But I would not bet it at the current price.”
The over is as high as a minus 360 favorite after opening at minus 250.
“The X-factor would be if (Arizona QB Josh) Rosen gets traded and some team in the market for a QB might not draft one,” Goldsheet.com handicapper Bruce Marshall said.
Bettors at the Westgate placed wagers of $4,200 to win $3,000 and $4,500 to win $2,000 that Murray would be the top overall pick before he soared to a 25-1 favorite. But reports surfaced recently that it’s not a given the Cardinals will take the Heisman Trophy winner.
The misinformation surrounding the draft is one reason Las Vegas bookmakers aren’t as eager to post an extensive menu of props as they were when NFL draft betting was first approved in Nevada in 2017.
That and because the vast majority of action is from wiseguys, who beat the books in last year’s draft.
“Honestly, we’re not in a big rush to do it,” Westgate sportsbook director John Murray said. “It’s 99 percent sharp action.”
The Westgate posted the No. 1 pick prop in March but waited until Monday to post 10 other draft props.
“There’s a lot of information out there, and we wanted things to be a little more settled,” Murray said. “At the same time, we don’t know how settled they are. Now we’re hearing reports that Kyler Murray is not going No. 1 overall. It’s a guessing game for bookmakers and bettors.
“Last year, I don’t remember anyone saying Baker Mayfield was going with the No. 1 pick.”
Bettors pushed on the quarterback prop last year when the Ravens traded up and took Lamar Jackson with the final pick of the first round.
“It’s always kind of a crapshoot with the draft,” Marshall said. “There’s so much smoke being blown by all these teams. You never know.”
That said, Reynolds and Marshall each bet a South Point prop on under 7½ Big 10 players (-110) to be drafted in the first round.
Haskins’ draft position to go over 6½ opened at minus 110 but has been bet up to minus 260 at William Hill.
CG Technology took a limit bet on under 1½ running backs drafted in the first round (-600), as Alabama’s Josh Jacobs is the only RB projected to go there.