The past month has been a barren wasteland for sports fans across the globe. The coronavirus has brought the sports world to a screeching halt, with leagues major and minor forced to cancel games and entire seasons in order to practice social distancing and prevent the spread of the deadly virus.
Tonight, the NFL takes fan participation to its highest level since the outbreak. For three days beginning tonight, the league will hold its annual player draft, and fans across the globe will revel in the return – even if just for a moment – of sports normalcy.
Jeff’s 2020 NFL Draft Picks and Parlays
But not only will fans be watching the event live on NFL Network, ESPN and ABC, beginning with Thursday’s Round 1. The 2020 NFL Draft provides the first major opportunity for bettors to get back into serious NFL picks and parlays, with online sportsbooks across the globe offering odds and props of all kinds related to the selection of players in this annual rite of football passage.
LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, who led the Tigers to the national championship and captured the Heisman Trophy, is expected to go No. 1 to the Cincinnati Bengals, but that is about all that seems a sure thing on draft night, which makes the betting component of this Draft all the more compelling.
And sports betting sites are up to the challenge of providing casual fans and hardcore bettors alike with a long-awaited sports experience.
Here are three prop bets I believe will hit tonight, and can be wagered individually, or as a three-way parlay.
First RB Selected: J.K. Dobbins (+700)
Much of the focus of this draft will be on the quarterbacks, specifically Tua Tagovialoa and Justin Herbert. But considering the dearth of talent at the running back position in this draft, targeting the first off the board is a bet that many will shy away from, but could produce a major windfall.
Dobbins is seeing odds in the neighborhood of +700, as D’Andre Swift is considered the favorite to go first among running backs, and Jonathan Taylor is also considered a favortie. But the only reason Dobbins has fallen in the pecking order is his limited pre-draft exposure because of the coronavirus laying waste to pro days and interviews. He is still extremely talented, and at his odds, is a steal just waiting to be stolen. Consider: The Dolphins did get a chance to meet with Dobbins and they have the first-round pick capital to use on a back in the early going.
Dolphins To Draft Tua (+110)
It’s pretty simple. Do you believe all the pre-draft negative hype surrounding the Alabama signal-caller because of his hip injury last season, or do you tune out the noise and remember that Tagovialoa is indeed the cream of the crop at quarterback not named Joe Burrow?
The Dolphins at No. 5 are perfectly positioned to take Tua, and if you treat the questions about his draft status as just noise – and you assume no one trades into the top 4 to steal him way, Tagovailoa figures to go from Nick Saban’s current team to his former one in South Florida. Taking Herbert to go No. 6 to the Los Angeles Chargers is also a solid bet, and can be paired with Tua as part of a parlay.
Total Round 1 WRs Under 5.5 (+160)
We know pretty confidently that four wide receivers will go in the first round. CeeDee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III and Justin Jefferson seem like locks to be part of the first 32 picks tonight. But beyond that, it’s a little harder to see where two more wideouts are going to fit into the first round.
The position is exceptionally deep this year, but that doesn’t mean teams will pull the trigger in the first round. Indeed, that depth might encourage teams to fill holes elsewhere, knowing quality receivers will be on the board in Friday’s Round 2.