2019 NFL draft props: Fade receivers in the first round

The NFL draft begins Thursday, along with some prime opportunities for sharp prop bettors to turn a profit.

With so much real-time information available on Twitter, NFL draft prop bets can be a profitable form of action.

Because these props can be exploited, many sites have reduced their draft prop offering. I’ve sifted through some different sportsbooks, and found several props that I think hold value. 

DraftKings Sportsbook

QBs drafted in first-round: OVER 3.5 (-335)

It’s very likely that the top four quarterbacks will get drafted Thursday in the first round. The odds suggest it. However, -335 is a bargain, considering many books are offering this prop at -500. 

Kyler Murray is likely to be the No. 1 overall pick, and both Dwayne Haskins and Drew Lock have a draft position OVER/UNDER of 10.5 on most platforms. That leaves Duke’s Daniel Jones. He could be selected as high as the top 10, and don’t expect him to slip past the mid-20s. 

Last season’s first round featured five quarterbacks, as the Baltimore Ravens traded up to the last pick in the round to select Lamar Jackson. There are some long-term contract benefits for teams with first-round picks, so if one of these guys slips, it would make sense for a team to trade into the round to take them.

There’s a good chance all four of these guys could go in the top 20, and Will Grier’s draft position OVER/UNDER is set at 38.5, just 7.5 picks out of the first-round. We can’t completely write off five QBs going on Thursday night. 

WRs drafted in first-round: UNDER 2.5 (+112)

While there are some impactful receivers in this draft, there are no standout players. I don’t think we’re going to see a receiver taken in the top 20, and I bet on no WR being taken in the top 15.

D.K. Metcalf and Marquise Brown probably will be first-round picks (at least their draft position props suggest so). But that could be it for receivers on Thursday. A.J. Brown, N’Keal Harry and Hakeem Butler could sneak into the last few picks, but that would be a reach for players that most teams probably grade as second- or third-round picks. 

Even if one of those names sneaks up draft boards, plenty of mock drafts project Metcalf (-134 to be the first WR selected) as an early second-round pick. It also helps that two TEs, T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant, are considered first-round locks, and could occupy picks for teams considering pass-catchers. 

Clemson players drafted in first-round: OVER 2.5 (-125)

DT Christian Wilkins should probably go in the top half of the first round, and DT Dexter Lawrence likely will be taken soon after Wilkins. The third player that we’ll need to hit the over, DE Clelin Ferrell, was another piece of the Tigers’ dominant defensive line that demolished Alabama in the national championship game.

Most mock drafts have Ferrell going No. 22 to the Ravens, which would allow us to not even sweat this one out. Of course, teams pass on players that are locked into the majority of mock drafts all the time. But I like that if Baltimore passes, we get a 10-pick cushion for Ferrell to find a home, assuming Wilkins and Lawrence don’t slip way past their projections. The Patriots, who hold the final pick in the round, have been rumored to have a ton of interest in Ferrell, which is a nice safety valve.

First WR drafted: Marquise Brown (+175)

Brown put up monster numbers at Oklahoma, and while they came with the help of Kyler Murray and Baker Mayfield, that only helped Brown prepare to play with NFL QBs. Metcalf is the favorite at -134, and other books have him in the -150 to -160 range. 

But some respected mock drafts don’t even list Metcalf as a first-round pick, while you’ll see Brown as high as 15. I don’t think teams will draft WRs that early, but I do think Brown can go in the early 20s as the first off the board. Metcalf is a physical specimen, but Brown is the better player, and I’m hoping NFL teams agree. 

Just look at the two Bovada props I have listed below. Metcalf’s draft position is projected one slot higher at the same odds. Why not take the +175 WR with a nearly identical projection? 


D.K. Metcalf draft position: OVER 18.5 (-175)

It’s pretty rare to find a mock projecting Metcalf at pick 18 or higher. Green Bay (12) and Washington (15) could potentially use a receiver, but they’re also rumored to be more interested in a tight end and quarterback, respectively. 

I keep mentioning it, but I’d be surprised if a receiver goes in the top-20, and there’s a good chance Brown will be the first receiver selected. The market price is too high for a receiver likely to be drafted in the mid-20s or later. The -175 price is worth paying. 

Marquise Brown draft position: OVER 19.5 (-175)

I’d probably want to wager about twice as much on Metcalf’s prop, and go for a smaller number on Brown. If you play all of these wagers, you’re already invested in Brown going before Metcalf anyway. 

But I’ll take as many of these props that fade the receiver position in this draft as I can. I just don’t think it’s a particularly strong position in this draft, and teams know they can get good players at the position on the second day. Brown’s worth risking a pick in the early 20s on. Metcalf I just can’t see. He played just seven games last season, and still posted an underwhelming 26-569-5 line. 


Round-1 trades on draft day: UNDER 7.5 (-200)

This is a ton of trades. Last year we saw seven trades involving first-round picks on the day of the draft, and it was heralded as a historic day. There’s always the possibility that this is the new trend in the NFL and it keeps growing, but trades become much more common as the draft goes on. Even with the wild first-round of trades last year, the under would’ve cashed.

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