2020 NFL Draft Odds & Prop Picks: First Wide Receiver to Be Drafted

2020 NFL Draft Odds & Prop Picks: First Wide Receiver to Be Drafted article feature image

George Walker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: CeeDee Lamb

2020 NFL Draft Odds: First WR Drafted

  • Jerry Jeudy: -115
  • CeeDee Lamb: +120
  • Henry Ruggs III: +600
  • Tee Higgins: +3000
  • Justin Jefferson: +3500
  • K.J. Hamler: +5000

Odds as of Monday, Mar. 23, and via FanDuel. Get up to a $500 risk-free bet at FanDuel today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.

A robust prop market is forming for the 2020 NFL draft, and that's great for us.

Last year, I went 54-29 (+17.7 units) on draft props. There’s no guarantee I’ll have similar success this year, but I do like a lot of the props out there.

I especially like the prop for the first wide receiver to be drafted. Let's run through my two picks.

Henry Ruggs III to be First WR Drafted (+700 at BetMGM)

Before the NFL Combine, Chris Raybon and I highlighted this very prop on The Action Network Show on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio.

We both voiced the opinion that if Ruggs had a strong combine and an especially notable performance in the 40-yard dash, then his odds to be the first receiver drafted would move significantly. 

Based on the research I'd done on historical 40-yard performances, I projected Ruggs to run a 4.27-second 40 — which is exactly what he ran, by the way (no big deal) — so I invested in him before the combine at +1200 to be the No. 1 receiver selected.

In recent years, we've seen fast receivers go off the board as either the first player taken at the position or a top-10 pick.

  • 2019: Marquise Brown, 1.25 (1st) – No pre-draft workout because of injury, reportedly ran a 4.33 as a junior college recruit
  • 2018: D.J. Moore, 1.24 (1st) – 4.42 at 210 pounds
  • 2017: John Ross, 1.10 (3rd) – 4.22 at 188 pounds
  • 2016: Corey Coleman, 1.15 (1st) – 4.37 at 194 pounds (pro day)
  • 2016: Will Fuller, 1.21 (2nd) – 4.32 at 186 pounds

When it comes to projecting the NFL draft, I take a “wisdom of the crowds” approach by surveying as many reputable mock drafts as possible.

freedman-strategy-betting-2020 nfl combine-props
Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Henry Ruggs III

I find that these drafts, created by mockers with established records of success, collectively give me a good sense of the realistic range of outcomes.

In only one of these mocks is Ruggs the first receiver selected — but he is now in the same tier as Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy and Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb.

  • Jerry Jeudy: Mean – 14.1; Median – 12.5; Mode – 12
  • CeeDee Lamb: Mean – 12.8; Median – 12.5; Mode – 8
  • Henry Ruggs III: Mean – 16.4; Median – 16; Mode – 15

Last year, the market widely expected D.K. Metcalf to be the No. 1 receiver selected, but that distinction went to Marquise Brown, and Metcalf slipped to the end of Round 2.

The mocks clearly put Riggs in the same tier with Jeudy and Lamb, but I believe they are too rigid in the expectation that Jeudy and Lamb will be selected ahead of him.

Recent history suggests that we shouldn't discount the speedy receiver's odds to be selected higher than anticipated.

The line for Ruggs is as low as +400 (DraftKings), so there's likely value in grabbing him at +700 at BetMGM or even +600 at FanDuel or PointsBet.

PICK: Henry Ruggs III +700: One unit. Limit: +350
[Bet now at BetMGM. NJ only.]

CeeDee Lamb to be First WR Drafted (+130 at DraftKings)

If you think that Ruggs has almost no chance to be the No. 1 receiver and that this prop will come down to Lamb vs. Jeudy, then there's value in this +130 line.

Based on my mock research before the combine, I saw that Lamb was the No. 1 receiver off the board for the majority of experts even though Jeudy was the clear favorite in the prop market.

So I invested in Lamb then at +200, and I still like him.

Like Jeudy, he has back-to-back years with 1,000-plus yards and double-digit touchdowns, but he might be more versatile. He's just a smidgen slower, but he's bigger and more explosive.

  • Size: Lamb – 6-foot-2, 198 pounds; Jeudy – 6-foot-1, 193 pounds
  • 40-Yard Dash: Lamb – 4.50 seconds; Jeudy – 4.45 seconds
  • Broad Jump: Lamb – 124 inches; Jeudy – 120 inches

Both will be 21-year-old rookies. Both were given 4-5 stars by all the major scouting services as high school recruits.

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Even now, Lamb has the superior draft position in mock drafts.

  • CeeDee Lamb: Mean – 12.8; Median – 12.5; Mode – 8
  • Jerry Jeudy: Mean – 14.1; Median – 12.5; Mode – 12

If you're convinced the No. 1 receiver will be either Jeudy or Lamb, it's hard to say that Jeudy clearly deserves to be the favorite.

PICK: CeeDee Lamb +130: One unit. Limit: +130
[Bet now at DraftKings. NJ, PA, IN and WV only.]

More 2020 NFL Draft Betting Picks

Freedman is the Editor-in-Chief of FantasyLabs, part of The Action Network.

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