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As the world around us continues to look anything but normal, the NFL calendar will continue as planned and a much-needed reprise from reality is upon NFL fans in just over three weeks’ time. Though it will move from a lavish Las Vegas setup to video conferencing, the 2020 NFL Draft will still take place on the originally scheduled date.
While this year’s draft has no shortage of talent at the quarterback and wide receiver positions, the running back class lacks the depth compared to years past. Even still, there are two players that some consider having first-round talent that bettors will want to be aware of for the myriad of prop bets attached to their name.
In today’s piece, let’s take a look at the running back position and one prop that takes into account how many backs we can forecast to be taken in the first round. The odds listed here are courtesy of our friends over at FanDuel and you can view all of our 2020 NFL Draft Prop Bets here.
Total Number of RBs Selected in Round 1 – Over/Under 0.5
As the NFL transitions to a pass-first league, the importance, and definition of “elite” running backs has shifted as well. When it comes to the 2020 NFL Draft, the debate around the position has gotten to point of even one going in the first round.
In the 2020 class, two names stand above the rest in Georgia product DeAndre Swift and Wisconsin product Jonathan Taylor. While current odds favor Swift being the first running back off the board, Taylor is the larger physical presence and by all reports had the better day at the 2020 NFL Combine.
For Swift, the clear advantage lies in the fact that similar to current Tennessee Titan running back Derrick Henry, he shared snaps in his two years of active playing time in college, limiting the amount of wear and tear he brings to the next level. In 2019, his most complete season in the Georgia offense, Swift ran for 1,218 yards while accruing an average of 6.2 yards per carry. What Swift lacks in college statistics, he more than makes up for with his combination of speed and agility to make defenders miss in the open field.
The other running back in the class who has a chance of going in the first round, Taylor, put up video game-like numbers in his three seasons as a Badger. Playing a significant role in the offense since his freshman year, Taylor averaged 2,058 yards per season and ran for 50 touchdowns over the course of his college career. Though the bigger of the two, Taylor still ran a .1 faster 40 at the combine clocking in at 4.39 to display that rare mix of both size and speed.
While analysts and scouts seem to differ on which of the two options will be better the investment come April’s Draft, they’re almost unanimous in the thought that a team will take a chance on one of if not both of them in the first round. Both of these guys have better than average hands for the position and can come in day one and compete for a starting job on 90% of the teams in the league.
Though it’s laying a fair amount of juice, I like the chances of either Swift or Taylor getting scooped up before the first round is over later this month.