The NFL draft is rapidly approaching, so I should make some more bets on the event.
Here’s a full rundown of my draft content to date.
- Version 1: Post-free agency
- Version 2: Post-Eagles & Saints trade
- Version 3: Mid-April
- Version 4: 10 days away
Over the past three years, I’m the No. 3 mocker in the FantasyPros Accuracy Contest. (I’ve manually gone through and added up all the points earned, as I have nothing better to do with my time.)
To see all the bets I’ve made, check out my NFL Draft prop card.
You can see the current odds for all the draft props in the market on our BettingPros odds page.
As I make more bets, I will post them first in our FREE BettingPros Discord and then write up my bets for publication via article. To get my draft bets as quickly as possible, join our Discord.
Historically, I’ve done well betting on the draft.
- 2019: 54-29 (+17.7 units)
- 2020: 124-88 (+26.2 units)
- 2021: 158-140 (+32.0 units)
Maybe that trend will continue this year. In this piece are the best odds and my personal best bets for the No. 1 pick.
All odds are from the following sportsbooks.
2022 NFL Draft: No. 1 Pick Overall
While I rely on my own research, I also take a “wisdom of the crowds” approach by surveying an index of mock drafts by experts whose predictions have previously proven actionable. I find that this curated collection gives me a good sense of the realistic range of outcomes for what we might see with any given player or pick.
Here’s what I’m seeing right now in the mock draft data for the No. 1 pick, which is controlled by the Jaguars.
- Aidan Hutchinson: 72%
- Travon Walker: 24%
- Evan Neal: 4%
While Hutchinson is still the overwhelming favorite to go No. 1, the mock drafts and the odds in the prop market have moved aggressively toward Walker over the past couple weeks, and I expect them to continue to shift in his favor.
Yesterday Travon Walker was +350 to go first overall, today he is +175 on @FDSportsbook
— Eliot Crist (@EliotCrist) April 16, 2022
For the five players I think have a chance of going No. 1 overall (at least 1%?), here are the best odds I see in the market as of writing (8:30 am ET, Tuesday, April 19).
- Aidan Hutchinson: -170, FanDuel
- Travon Walker: +200, DraftKings
- Evan Neal: +2000, DraftKings
- Ikem Ekwonu: +1600, FanDuel
- Kayvon Thibodeaux: +3000, FanDuel
Based on Hutchinson’s 72% hit rate as the No. 1 pick in my indexed mocks, he currently offers some value in the prop market, where his -170 odds suggest that he has a 63% implied probability of being the first selection.
But, again, I expect the mocks to continue to move toward Walker, and by the time of the draft he might actually be the favorite for the No. 1 pick, given that he fits the prototype of the kind of player general manager Trent Baalke has historically selected.
"Everyone's inking Aidan Hutchinson to the @Jaguars. Around the NFL, there's talk about GM Trent Baalke, and his draft history with SF. Year after year, the 49ers took players with incredible physical traits over the top collegiate performers. That's Travon Walker." — @PSchrags pic.twitter.com/WbxFkH6W9B
— Good Morning Football (@gmfb) April 11, 2022
Plus, Baalke’s tumultuous history with Jim Harbaugh years ago in San Francisco (where they worked together as general manager and head coach) might diminish his desire to draft Harbaugh’s player now.
I might regret tweeting this, but …
There's no way GM Trent Baalke wants to draft Jim Harbaugh's golden boy Aidan Hutchinson at No. 1.
— Matthew Freedman (@MattFtheOracle) April 19, 2022
On top of that, even though the mocks and market lean heavily toward edge rusher at No. 1, the Jaguars could ultimately decide to draft an offensive lineman to protect QB Trevor Lawrence.
— John Shipley (@_John_Shipley) April 14, 2022
So what’s the best way to bet on the No. 1 pick?
Here are the bets I’ve already made related to the top selection. (You can see all of these with notes in my full prop card.)
- Walker No. 1: +350, PointsBet | 0.25 units | April 11
- Neal No. 1: +1500, PointsBet | 0.25 units | April 11
- Ekwonu No. 1: +1200, FanDuel | 0.25 units | April 11
- Thibodeaux No. 1: +3000, BetMGM | 0.25 units | April 11
- Walker No. 1 DL: +550, PointsBet |1 unit | Apr. 12
The first four bets are all tied together. If Hutchinson goes No. 1, I lose a unit. If one of the other four guys goes No. 1, then I win anywhere from a little to a lot.
The fifth bet is basically just another way of betting on Walker to go No. 1, since he’s very likely to be the first pick if he’s the top defensive lineman in the class.
How you should bet right now depends on what you think and your risk profile.
If you think Hutchinson is highly likely to be the pick, you could bet on him now at -170, but you will probably be able to get a better number closer to the draft.
If you think Walker will be the No. 1 pick, you should probably bet him now at +200 at DraftKings.
If you’re highly confident it will be either Hutchinson or Walker and you want to make a pseudo-riskless bet, you can arbitrage their -170 and +200 odds. Here’s how.
- If you prefer Hutchinson, bet 1 unit on him at -170 and 0.5 units on Walker at +200. If Hutchinson wins, you profit +0.09 units. If Walker wins, you lose nothing. (If someone else wins, you lose 1.5 units.)
- If you prefer Walker, bet 0.5 units on him at +200 and 0.85 units on Hutchinson at -170. If Walker wins, you profit +0.15 units. If Hutchinson wins, you lose nothing. (If someone else wins, you lose 1.35 units.)
- You can also place between 0.85 units and 1 unit on Hutchinson and 0.5 units on Walker if you want to have winning exposure to both.
If you want to fade Hutchinson directly at No. 1, you can do so by betting over 1.5 on his draft position at +165 (PointsBet).
If you want to fade Hutchinson indirectly, you can by betting on Walker (+200), Neal (+2000) or Ekwonu (+1600) individually or collectively. (I’m ignoring Thibodeaux, because I think he doesn’t offer any value in this market.)
And if you think that the Jags will select an offensive lineman No. 1, you could put 0.5 units each on Neal (+2000) and Ekwonu (+1600), although of the two I prefer Neal, who has the higher expected draft position (4 vs. 5.4) at Grinding the Mocks and the higher ranking (3 vs. 4) on the NFL Mock Draft Database consensus big board.
And Neal has the superior overall numbers in my sharp index.
- Mean: Neal, 4.3 | Ekwonu, 4.9
- Median: Neal, 5 | Ekwonu, 5
- Mode: Neal, 3 | Ekwonu, 5
- High: Neal, 1 | Ekwonu, 3
- Low: Neal, 9 | Ekwonu, 9
If you believe the Jaguars will go with an offensive lineman at No. 1, I recommend betting on Neal.
Official NFL Draft Prop Bets
Here are some bets I’m adding to my card.
Aidan Hutchinson: Over 1.5
- Line: +165
- Sportsbook: PointsBet
- Date: Apr. 19
- Units: 1
- Notes: This line is +124 at FanDuel, so I’m getting line-shopping value, and I expect this line to continue to move towards +100.
Travon Walker: Under 3.5
- Line: -200
- Sportsbook: BetMGM
- Date: Apr. 19
- Units: 1
- Notes: Even if Walker doesn’t go No. 1, he has an excellent chance of going shortly after that. He’s a top-three selection in 80% of my indexed sharp mocks.
Evan Neal: No. 1 Offensive Lineman
- Line: +150
- Sportsbook: FanDuel
- Date: Apr. 19
- Units: 0.5
- Notes: I’m adding to the Neal +135 bet I made on April 11. As noted above, the sharp mocks still favor Neal over Ekwonu.
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