Oddsmakers Determine the Most Likely Top 5 NFL Draft Picks
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
You didn’t think we’d miss out on mock draft season, did you?
By looking at draft position listings at several sportsbooks, we created a mock draft for the first five picks as seen through the eyes of oddsmakers. We’ve also listed the top five picks from Todd Todd Todd McShay and Mel Kiper for comparison.
Due to the unpredictability of this year’s draft, position props are a bit limited compared to years past, but without further ado, the Oddsmakers’ Top 5:
1. Cleveland Browns
Kiper’s pick: Josh Allen
Oddsmakers’ pick: Sam Darnold
This is the oddsmakers’ clearest pick, as Darnold is the odds-on favorite to be selected first overall at every book offering the prop.
2. New York Giants
McShay’s pick: Saquon Barkley
Oddsmakers’ pick: Josh Allen
Following Darnold, Allen has the next-best odds be the number one overall pick. Of course, that’s not necessarily indicative of where oddsmakers think he’ll actually go, but thankfully one book did post odds on the number two overall selection. At +200, Allen is the favorite to be taken second.
3. New York Jets
Kiper’s pick: Sam Darnold
Oddsmakers’ pick: Saquon Barkley
Here’s where it starts to get a little dicey. Barkley’s draft position is listed at 5.5, but the juice is sitting at a heavy -500 on the under. Bradley Chubb’s position is also 5.5, but his under juice is just -180, giving Barkley the significant edge.
Barkley also has the third-best odds to go first overall, and in one of the few matchup props available, is listed as a -350 favorite to be picked before Josh Rosen. Putting Barkley here would also be consistent with the -200 odds that the first three picks will not all be quarterbacks.
4. Cleveland Browns
McShay’s pick: Bradley Chubb
Oddsmakers’ pick: Bradley Chubb
As mentioned, Chubb is listed -180 to be picked 5th or better, and although he has only the sixth-highest odds to be first overall, the Browns probably aren’t taking two quarterbacks in the top four.
5. Denver Broncos
Kiper’s pick: Josh Rosen
Oddsmakers’ pick: Baker Mayfield
Kiper may be right that Denver’s going with a quarterback here, but the odds say it’ll be Mayfield (pictured above). He’s surpassed Rosen’s odds at almost every book in “first QB taken” props, and is listed at -350 to be taken under 6.5.
Other big names in the first round:
Minkah Fitzpatrick is the favorite to be the first defensive back taken, and other than Josh Rosen, is the only remaining player with odds listed to be the first overall pick. Kiper has him going 7th to Tampa Bay, but the odds would point a bit more towards the 6th spot.
Calvin Ridley‘s draft position is listed at 19.5, but with heavy juice on the under, it seems oddsmakers don’t think he’ll fall past, or even to, Dallas at 19. Ridley is the favorite to be the first wide receiver selected, and that under juice is an indication that oddsmakers see him getting snatched by a team like the Ravens at 16, which would leave the Cowboys with D.J. Moore to fill the Dez Bryant void.
Maybe the most intriguing player in this year’s draft, Lamar Jackson has created some uncertainty among oddsmakers, with draft positions ranging from 16.5 to 18.5. Mel Kiper has him going 15th to Arizona, but the over is heavily juiced up, so they don’t seem to be buying that possibility.
Interestingly, the teams listed from 18 to 21 all have a solid quarterback option in place, so perhaps oddsmakers see Jackson landing in Buffalo at 22. The Bills did just acquire AJ McCarron however, which would leave Jackson on the board until the 23rd pick, and, oh boy …