The deeper you go in the NFL draft, the more unpredictable it becomes.
Heisman winner Joe Burrow is -10000 (lay $100 to win $1) to go first according to PointsBet, and — brace yourself — he’s -100000 (lay $1,000 to win $1) at FanDuel Sportsbook. In other words, Burrow is going to be the first pick on Thursday when the NFL tries to approximate business as usual by holding a virtual draft amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ohio State defensive end Chase Young is almost as sure a thing to be drafted second. He’s -10000 for that sport at PointsBet and a “mere” -3000 at FanDuel.
The more the picks fly off the board, though, the less certainty there is. And for the Indianapolis Colts, who already traded their only first-round pick — No. 13 overall — to the 49ers for defensive lineman DeForest Buckner, there is extreme uncertainty. In the first NFL draft available for legal mobile betting in the Hoosier State, the Colts will sit out Thursday (unless they trade up) and pick 34th and 44th overall on Friday, and the draft experts and bookmakers alike are scratching their heads over what the team will do with those two selections.
Colts have a few positions of need
After those two second-round picks — the earlier pick acquired in a trade with Washington — the Colts pick again at 75th and have a fourth-rounder, a fifth-rounder, and two sixth-rounders. But the focus for now is mostly on those second-rounders.
There are some who see tight end as the team’s most important need, as new QB Philip Rivers is used to having an elite TE to pass to and Eric Ebron is no longer in Indianapolis. That makes Notre Dame tight end Cole Kmet a possible Colts pick.
There is also a lot of speculation that the Colts are in the market for a quarterback. Andrew Luck’s sudden retirement in 2019 shook up the whole organization, and they got through one year with Jacoby Brissett and hope to get through another with the 38-year-old Rivers. But they might take a shot on landing their QB of the future by taking someone with high upside who isn’t going to be ready to start in Year One.
ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr.’s latest mock has Washington QB Jacob Eason, a 6’6” work in progress, coming to Indy with the 44th pick.
And for what it’s worth, Kiper’s mock draft says Baylor wide receiver Denzel Mims will be the Colts’ pick at 34 — although PointsBet odds have Mims a slight underdog to make it out of the first round.
Who will Colts take first?
The various Indiana sportsbooks have countless draft props and specials, paying massive amounts of attention to the draft given the lack of other sports betting options. If you’re looking for a wager on a player or a team, or a position-, college-, or conference-specific prop, it’s almost certainly out there somewhere.
And in Indiana, there are a few special bets tied directly to the Colts’ plans.
PointsBet and FanDuel both have a market on whether Indy’s first pick will be an offensive or defensive player. PointsBet has it closer at -150 for offense and +115 for defense, whereas FanDuel’s split is -180 and +140 (with a note that the bet is voided if the Colts pick a special teams player first).
There are numerous options for who the first player drafted by the team will be. Here are the eight top players according to FanDuel:
- Jordan Love: +500
- Tee Higgins: +600
- Brandon Aiyuk: +750
- Laviska Shenault: +750
- Chase Claypool: +850
- Jalon Reagor: +900
- Denzel Mims: +950
- Jacob Eason: +1100
FanDuel also has QB Jake Fromm at +1500 (a reach, unless you think the Colts will trade down) and QB Justin Herbert at +2500 (nearly impossible, unless you’re banking on GM Chris Ballard to trade up).
There are quite a few props at the assorted books on the Colts to take Utah State quarterback Jordan Love, although many mock drafts have him coming off the board in the first 10 picks.
Still, PointsBet and FanDuel both see the Colts as the second most likely team to draft Love, paying +400 if they do. (PointsBet sees New England as the most likely to snag Love, while FanDuel has its shortest odds on Jacksonville.) Notably, FanDuel is sweetening the pot with a “boost” on that bet from +400 to +500 in Indiana only, with a maximum wager size of $50.
The payout is not nearly as good at the BetRivers book, where the Colts to draft Love is listed as a “house special” but is only priced at +300.
If it turns out Love isn’t the target for the Colts, and Kiper’s right that they have their eye on Eason, there might be money to be made betting the “under” on him. Both FanDuel and PointsBet set the line on where he’ll be selected at 47.5, with a nice return on the under. It’s +115 on the under at PointsBet and +108 at FD, and either way, you’re a winner if you trust Kiper’s mock.
And at PointsBet, you have the option on notable players to “points bet” their draft positions, meaning you can win or lose more depending on how many spots over or under they go. With that in mind, if you believe Fromm is going to be the Colts’ choice at pick 44, you can do well betting under 60.5.
Go get Kmet?
Back to that tight end a lot of experts see Ballard going after, Notre Dame’s Kmet.
PointsBet has his over/under at 44.5, with a steep -182 on the over and +150 on the under. FanDuel’s line is 45.5, with -126 on the over and -102 on the under. Both books expect him to be the first TE drafted, with prices of -334 (PB) and -330 (FD). If you’re going that route, you can find better prices at BetMGM (-223) and BetRivers (-200).
A few other boosts and specials of note:
- PointsBet has a variety of NFL draft boosters, turning what were supposed to be -150 favorites into even money wagers.
- If you still think five or more QBs will go in the first round (that seemed realistic a couple of weeks ago, but appears less so now), FanDuel has boosted that payout from +440 to +500.
- BetRivers has a fun longshot parlay that looks beyond the draft: Burrow as Offensive Rookie of the Year and Young as Defensive Rookie of the Year, paying +1300. We know they’re the chalk in the draft. That’s an alluring payout if their rookie seasons turn out chalky as well.
Photo by Jennifer Buchanan / USA Today Sports