The NFL Draft is about to get underway, and that is excellent news for several different reasons. The biggest is that it's sports! Not in the game sense, but it's a significant event related to sports, and it is desperately needed right now. Also, the draft is fun on its own, but considering all that's going on right now -- not to mention the potential pitfalls having what amounts to a video conference call for your draft provides -- it's even bigger.
Plus, it gives us something to gamble on. I've missed gambling. You've missed gambling. The world misses gambling, and thankfully William Hill Sportsbook has a whole lot of NFL Draft related prop bets available for us. I went ahead and found five props I like for the first round of action because I'm just a great guy, I guess. So let's get to them.
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1. Under 15.5 SEC players selected in Round 1 (-210)
This number is too high. There are a lot of SEC players that are going to be drafted this year. There are a lot every season. There will also be a lot taken in the first round, but 16? Half the picks? Listen, I have a lot of SEC players going in my mock draft, and there are a lot of SEC players in mocks everywhere, but that's always the case before the draft.
When the actual draft comes, NFL teams never take as many SEC players in the first round as they're projected to. Since 2010 -- so the entire last decade -- there has been an average of 9.5 SEC players taken in the first round. That's a lot! It helps illustrate why people believe the SEC is the best conference in college football, but even so, it's not the only conference with great players.
The most SEC players taken in the first round of any NFL Draft since 2000 was 12. It's happened twice, once in 2013 and again in 2017. So for the over to hit here, not only would there need to be more SEC players taken in the first round than any other year this century, but there'd have to be four more than ever before. Maybe it happens, but it more than likely won't.
2. Under 5.5 WRs selected in Round 1 (+160)
This is a fantastic wide receiver class, and it certainly has more than five players in it who are talented enough to be first-round picks. But that will likely work against a huge receiver run in the first. Teams that are looking to draft a receiver are more likely to address other needs at positions that aren't as deep, thinking they'll still be able to get a good receiver with a later pick.
I expect at least four to be taken in the first round, and there's an excellent chance of a fifth, but six is a bridge too far. Since 2010, the first round has averaged 3.4 receivers taken in the first round. The only time we saw six go was in 2015 when Amari Cooper, Kevin White, DeVante Parker, Nelson Agholor, Breshad Perriman, and Phillip Dorsett were taken. Reread those names, and you'll see another reason it isn't likely to happen again.
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3. Javon Kinlaw Under pick 13.5 (+100)
I see value here simply because I think NFL teams are going to fall in love with Kinlaw as I have over the last couple of months. He didn't have the overall production numbers at South Carolina, but when you dive deep into Kinlaw, you realize it's because he did a lot of the dirty work for that defense. He was also the focal point of every offensive line he went up against.
You look at a player like Derrick Brown, and he's likely to go ahead of Kinlaw, but he also had the benefit of playing next to other NFL players on the Auburn defensive line. Kinlaw wasn't in the same spot, and there's a lot of room left for him to grow. He's just beginning to tap into his potential, and there's a good chance one of the first 13 teams on the clock will see it and take a chance on it.
4. Tua Tagovailoa Under pick 3.5 (+280)
There's a lot of smoke about teams being scared off by Tua's health issues, and that makes sense. The problem is, I don't know if it should be trusted.
NFL teams get stupid with quarterbacks in the draft who have far less talent than Tua Tagovailoa does. The injuries might be enough to lead to Tua sliding down the board, but at +280, it's hard to pass up this play. The chances of somebody trading up to get him are too high not to.
5. Over 4.5 CBs selected in Round 1 (-138)
All those amazing receivers in this class? Teams are going to need guys to cover them, and this is a strong corner class up top. There's also no shortage of teams in the league who could use help at corner. It's possible we only see two corners go in the top 15, but I wouldn't be surprised to see a run on them in the second half of the first round. In fact, I had seven going in. Maybe we don't see that many go, but five is well within range.