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Projected 2019 NFL Draft Order: Cardinals Have Value to Land No. 1 Pick

Nov 29, 2018 9:50 PM EST
  • With just five games remaining, the 49ers, Cardinals and Raiders are duking it out for the top pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
  • According to betting odds, the 49ers are +100 favorites to land the #1 pick, with Arizona at +200 and Oakland at +325.
  • With the help The Action Network's NFL simulations, we've pinpointed which team is offering value for bettors.

You can bet on plenty of things when it comes to NFL props and futures, and sometimes it’s both fun and profitable to bet on which teams won’t succeed.

Among Bovada’s NFL props and futures is a bet regarding which team will end up with the #1 overall pick in the 2019 draft.

  • San Francisco 49ers: +100
  • Arizona Cardinals: +200
  • Oakland Raiders: +325
  • New York Jets: +1200
  • New York Giants: +1800

First off, we need to know the rules regarding the tiebreaker process. With the Niners, Cardinals and Raiders all sitting pretty (ugly) with 2-9 records, one may wonder why their odds are so different.

Unlike playoff tiebreakers, head-to-head records don’t matter for the #1 overall pick, so the fact that both of Arizona’s wins have come against the 49ers is irrelevant.

Instead, ties are broken by strength of schedule. There are a few more steps after that and finally, they just stop trying to figure out ways to break the tie and flip a coin.


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Also worth noting is that the team with the easier strength of schedule gets the #1 pick. Basically, the NFL is saying, “You shouldn’t have sucked this bad so we will reward you with the top pick.”

I can’t do all of the math in my head, so I enlisted the help of The Action Network’s Travis Reed to run the numbers.

Reed ran simulations to come up with average number of wins, average strength of schedule based on number of wins and the chances each team ends up with the #1 pick.

Wins

  • Cardinals: 2.9
  • Raiders: 3.1
  • 49ers: 3.4
  • Jets: 4.7
  • Giants: 5.1

Hmm, what do we have here? It looks like all three of the 2-9 teams are likely to eke out one more win, with San Fran — the favorite to land the #1 pick — averaging nearly another 1.5 wins.

We’re basically back where we started, though, since there’s a solid chance they all end up at 3-13. Next step.

Average Strength of Schedule

  • 49ers: 131
  • Cardinals: 135.8
  • Oakland: 140.4

While the 49ers are the most likely of the bunch to make it to four wins on the year, they also have the worst strength of schedule.

On average, their opponents will end up with just 131 wins, nearly five fewer than Arizona and 10 fewer than Oakland.

The Niners have the exact same schedule as Arizona except for two games, with San Francisco playing the Bucs and Giants rather than the Redskins and Falcons.

Since Oakland has to play the Chiefs, Chargers and Broncos (twice), they are playing from behind in this race for the easiest schedule.

The Odds

  • Arizona: 38.2% (+162)
  • San Francisco: 36.4% (+175)
  • Oakland: 19.5% (+412)
  • Jets: 3.8% (+2512)
  • Giants: 1.5% (+6726)

It turns out that Arizona should be slightly favored over the 49ers to land the #1 pick. Though the Cardinals would likely lose the tiebreaker, the extra one-half win the Niners average over the Cardinals is enough to even out the odds.

The only team offering value at the end is Arizona. Hammer that +200.

Credit:

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Josh Rosen

Follow Mark Gallant on Twitter
@marky_money

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