Assuming you can do it legally, what better way to spice up the 1st Round of the 2011 NFL Draft tonight than with some prop bets, right? I mean, if it works for Super Bowl parties, why not the NFL Draft?
Best of all, unlike your average prop, most of these have been analyzed and discussed (albeit indirectly) by countless “Draft Experts” for months now — so you’ve actually got a wealth of supposedly reliable, predictive information to work with.
Let’s take a look at what’s arguably tonight’s marquee prop, for instance:
Cam Newton’s Draft Position: Over/Under 1.5 (+250/-400)
Or, in other words: Will Cam Newton go #1 Overall, or not?
Now, if you’re at all interested in this year’s NFL Draft, you’ve probably read no less than 10 articles in the past 72 hours on what the Carolina Panthers are gonna do with the #1 pick. The overwhelming consensus: They’re going to draft Cam Newton (but aren’t necessarily over the moon about it).
Carolina is certainly in an unenviable position. Newton, despite how high his ceiling may be, is still almost certainly somewhat of a project, at best. Gus Malzahn’s “One Read and Go” offense at Auburn — however misconstrued it may be — probably didn’t prepare Cam for the complexities of an NFL passing attack as much as it could, amongst other red flags .
It also appears the Panthers, in desperate need of QB help regardless, may not be able to find a viable trading partner for the #1 pick, and Newton — at -400 — is the clear favorite to be selected first overall (Marcell Dareus is the next favorite at a distant +300).
All that said, roll the dice on Newton Under 1.5, and — particularly if you’re a Panthers fan — make sure your fingers are firmly crossed….
A.J. Green’s Draft Position: Over/Under 4.5 (+145/-190)
Or, in other words: Is there any possible way Georgia’s A.J. Green slips past the Cincinnati Bengals picking at No. 4?
Possible? Yes. Probable? Not really. Green is the odds on favorite to be picked 4th overall (-300), and I’ve only seen two updated mock drafts (from a sample of about 13) that have him falling past the Bengals at 4.
Playing the odds here, you have to think Green — who some consider the best overall player available — is just too great a talent to slip past Cincinnati. Especially since he clearly isn’t too concerned about money…
Patrick Peterson’s Draft Position: Over/Under 6.5 (+130/-160)
Like A.J. Green, LSU’s Patrick Peterson is another player that some have called the best available in this year’s draft — and yet doesn’t seem to care all that much about the amount of his inevitable windfall.
There doesn’t appear to be as much agreement amongst the draft gurus about where Peterson will fall, but the vast majority have him going anywhere between #1 and #5. That obviously bodes well for a Under 6.5 play, but just be aware that a couple experts (Peter King, Chad Reuter) have him as low as #7.
Is the +130 worth betting on Peterson being drafted 7th or later? I don’t think so.
Number of QB’s Drafted in 1st Round: Over/Under 3.5 (-160/+130)
Or, in other words: Will Ryan Mallett be drafted in the 1st Round? Or (if you’re Peter King): Will Ryan Mallett, Andy Dalton, and/or Christian Ponder be drafted in the 1st Round?
It’s almost certain that Cam Newton, Missouri’s Blaine Gabbert, and Washington’s Jake Locker will be drafted tonight. For awhile, it seemed Arkansas’s Ryan Mallett would be joining this year’s class of 1st Round QB’s, but alleged off-field issues may or may not have derailed his chances. That and, you know, being too hungover to work out for the Panthers, and stuff.
Only 3 of the 11 full mock drafts (Kiper and McShay’s are locked down by ESPN’s infamous “Insider”) I reviewed have more than 3 QB’s being taken in the 1st Round. That combined with +130 makes Under 3.5 an enticing enough play for me.
Number of RB’s Drafted in 1st Round: Over/Under 0.5 (-350/+225)
Or, in other words: Will Mark Ingram’s name be called tonight?
Frump Tip: At least one running back has been selected in the 1st Round of the NFL Draft every year since 1963 — and in 1963 there were only 14 picks in the 1st Round.
Other than one minor scare in 1984 — when it took 25 picks before the Bills drafted Notre Dame’s Gregg Bell 26th overall — it’s been fairly smooth sailing for the 1st Round prospects of the RB position.
So I guess we’re due, right? That is, for the first time since 1963, I guess it’s about time no running backs were drafted in the 1st Round? Nah, I don’t think so.
Alabama’s Mark Ingram is a Heisman Trophy-winning talent coming out of a big time program in a big time college football conference. Moreover, only one of the “expert” mock drafts I reviewed had Ingram falling out of the first, and one actually included Ingram and Illinois’ Mikel Leshoure as 1st Rounders.
Sure, Ingram may fall even further than Greg Bell did in ’84 (28th to New England seems popular), but I think Over 0.5 — despite eating the -350 — will eventually prove worth the wait. Much like Ingram’s Heisman speech.
Will this year’s Mr. Irrelevant play Offense or Defense? (-120/-120)
Saving the NFL Draft prop betting equivalent of the Super Bowl’s coin flip for last, you’ll accordingly have to wait for the weekend to see if this “fun” prop comes through for you.
The bad news: Since the NFL Draft settled on 7 Rounds in 1994, there have been 8 defensive and 9 offensive “Mr. Irrelevants.” Almost like flipping a coin, eh?
The good news: This prop isn’t exactly like flipping a coin, necessarily.
What we know: The Texans currently hold the final pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. We also have some reason(s) to believe that the Texans will be focusing on defense. With that in mind, I say take what’s probably better than a 50/50 chance at this point. Go defense, and — far more importantly — enjoy the Draft!
“Predictive Information” Employed here via (in no order):
- Mike O’Hara
- Adam Caplan
- John Crist
- Peter Schrager
- Peter King
- Rob Rang and Chad Reuter
- Scott Wright’s Draft Countdown
- Brian Billick
- Todd McShay
- Mel Kiper
- The Big Lead