2020 NFL Draft Best Bets: Our Staff’s Favorite Longshot Picks for Round 1
Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Albert Okwuegbunam
- Looking to hit big on a few NFL Draft bets? Our staff breaks down their favorite longshots on the board.
- These picks feature several instances of trying to match a player to an exact team, six LSU players getting drafted in the first round and the first tight end off the board.
The 2020 NFL Draft will get underway at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday, April 23. With all major sports suspended, the draft has become the marquee betting event of the spring and sportsbooks around the country have done their part by posting hundreds of different draft props for bettors to play.
Odds have been posted for quite some time now, but there are still plenty of great prices on the board.
Here are our staff’s favorite longshot bets for Round 1 of the NFL Draft:
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The Bet: Albert Okwuegbunam First TE Drafted +1100 (BetMGM)
I’ve invested in Albert O. at +1400 and +1600, and now the market has started to move toward me. I’ve seen him as low as +850 to be the first tight end off the board, so I like the line-shopping value I’m getting with him here at 12-to-1 odds.
Gil Brandt, a senior analyst with NFL Media and former NFL executive, is as locked in as anyone on how the league values draft prospects. In his Hot 150, he ranked Okwuegbunam as the No. 1 tight end in the class and No. 39 overall — far higher than I’ve seen him ranked anywhere else.
The odds are that a more traditional tight end like Cole Kmet (Notre Dame) will be the first tight end drafted, but I do think that Okwuegbunam has an underappreciated chance of going off the board first.
All it takes is one team to fall in love with Albert O., and he has the raw tools. NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein compares Okwuegbunam to Mark Andrews, and he absolutely crushed the combine with a blazing 40-yard dash, earning a position-high 99 Draft Score from Next Gen Stats.
With his athleticism and production, Okwuegbunam is highly comparable to Noah Fant, who was selected at No. 20 last year.
- Albert Okwuegbunam: 6-foot-5, 258 pounds, 4.49-second 40, 98-1,187-23 receiving
- Noah Fant: 6-foot-4, 249 pounds, 4.50-second 40, 78-1,083-19 receiving
He’s not a blocker or much of a route runner, but he has near-elite above-the-rim ability at the catch point, and if a team looked at him and thought, “That guy’s a slightly smaller version of young Jimmy Graham,” I would get it.
A massive boom/bust prospect, Albert O. has No. 1 overall tight end upside and “I can’t believe I thought that guy was good” downside.
No tight end is likely to be drafted on Day 1, and starting in Round 2, it’s incredibly hard to predict with accuracy the order in which players in a position group will be selected, and that’s especially true with a cohort that is basically an amalgam of undistinguished and indistinguishable prospects aside from a few guys.
I’d bet on Okwuegbunam down to +1000.
The Bet: Philadelphia Eagles First Pick: Denzel Mims +500 (FanDuel)
I think it’s highly likely that the Eagles select a WR with their first pick. I also think Justin Jefferson is likely to be the primary name they are considering. However, I do believe Mims has enough of a chance to nibble on the 5-1 line.
The Eagles, according to Mims, have been the team that has reached out to him the most. His stock has been climbing ever since the combine, where he ran a 4.38 40-yard dash and the top 3-cone time by a WR at 6.66 seconds.
We also recently found out that Mims played with a broken hand in 2019. This could explain his issue with drops last year and could cause some teams to bump him up their draft board putting his 2019 in perspective.
It also tells the team he’s willing to play through pain. After last season, the Eagles could use a WR who can stay on the field.
The Bet: Isaiah Simmons to Chargers +1000, Dolphins +1600 (DraftKings)
Simmons has kind of gotten lost among the quarterbacks projected to go early in Round 1 and has been slotted in at No. 7 to the Panthers by default in most mocks. But Simmons has legitimate top-five talent and his projected median draft spot in ESPN’s model is, in fact, fifth overall, with an average of 5.8.
The Dolphins are sitting at No. 5 and the Chargers are at No. 6, and if the consensus is wrong at all about Tua and Herbert going No. 5 and 6, it would be very tough for the Dolphins or Chargers to pass on a player of this caliber. Alternatively, there’s also the possibility the Chargers truly do feel good about Tyrod Taylor at QB and could pass on the position at No. 6 either way.
The odds are so good for non-Panthers and Giants that you could even hedge with the Jaguars +1600 (he’s definitely not slipping past them) and even Lions at +900 (in the event they trade out of the No. 3).
The Bet: LSU Over 5.5 Players Selected in Round 1 +290 (FanDuel)
One last time to bet on the 2020 LSU Tigers.
Joe Burrow should obviously go No. 1 overall. I also have K’Lavon Chaisson, Patrick Queen, Justin Jefferson and Kristian Fulton going in round one. That’s five. Grant Delpit is borderline (although seemingly trending down) and maybe a team reaches for Clyde Edwards-Helaire or Lloyd Cushenberry late in the first round.
At this price, I’ll take a flier on a historic first round for the historically great 2020 LSU Tigers. Just a fun dart here.