2022 NFL Draft Betting Preview

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A new crop of players will enter the NFL in the 2022 NFL Draft this week with the three day extravaganza set to descend on the strip in Las Vegas.

While this crop of players lacks the star power of last year’s cohort, it does make the top of the draft incredibly unpredictable with plenty of needs for plenty of teams with no clear standout option.

It also presents some tempting options for punters when it comes to finding value in our 2022 NFL Draft markets, especially given how fluid the top of the first round looks to be.

We’ve scoured the 457 mock drafts released in the last week, analysed the team needs and found the value plays in our markets.

While the best bets may not always line up with the predicted picks, they’re going to be the smart betting plays.

First Overall Pick

It’s a good thing the Jaguars got Trevor Lawrence at the top of the 2021 NFL Draft (who was at odds of $1.0000001 to go where he did), because there is no quarterback worth going in this spot this year.

Instead the top five is looking like a battle of the big boys with offensive and defensive linemen among the best players in this class.

Up until this week, Michigan end Aidan Hutchinson has been seen as the most likely first overall pick, and was at $1.50 as late as last Friday but has now gone out to $3.00.

Georgia end Travon Walker, instrumental in their championship winning defence has risen up draft boards and his odds of going first overall have plummeted, and he currently sits as the $1.50 at the time of writing.

You cannot rule out Oregon’s Kayvon Thibideaux ($21) whose stock has fallen over the last month or North Carolina offensive linemen Ikem Ekwonu ($7.50) being the surprise choice but it feels like the Jaguars will be picking from one of the two favourites.

But when you are in a situation like the Jaguars find themselves in, where you just need good players, take the guy who is most likely to be a good player.

Plus the fact he is now out to $3.00 means there’s a nice bit of value on offer too.

Back Aidan Hutchinson @ $3.00

Second Overall Pick

If it were me, I would probably stay away from looking into these exact draft position market considering how many branching possibilities there are but let’s just run through some hypotheticals for the fun of it.

Should Jacksonville pass on him, the Lions would love to have Michigan alum Hutchinson stay in state and play for the Lions, but in this scenario he is off the board.

It also means there is a good bit of value about one of the two remaining pass rushers and Dan Campbell will see either outcome as a win.

But with Walker shooting up draft boards in the last week (allegedly), look for Detroit to take a national title winner with a very high ceiling.

Back Travon Walker @ $6.00

Third Overall Pick

What does Houston need at pick number three?

Realistically an entirely new roster but and this could be a place for someone to trade up for Thibodeaux and in the process help Houston acquire some more capital.

Lovie Smith has a defensive background and would love to shore up a Texans group that got torched far too often last year, however the offensive line could be addressed here knowing they come back again at 13.

If it were me in the draft room I’d be looking at Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton, regarded by many as the best all around prospect in the entire draft (and a handy betting option at $34) but we all know how important the trenches are.

Houston needs to find out what it has in Davis Mills so they invest in protecting him as well as his potential replacement.

Back Evan Neal @ $4.00

Fourth Overall Pick

The Jets need defensive help from guys that fit into Robert Salah’s scheme and Thibodeaux falling to them at four is the best case scenario for them.

A good pass rush helps the secondary more than a secondary can help the pass rush and Salah will want to replicate what he had as the 49ers defensive coordinator.

Back Kayvon Thibodeaux @ $2.25

Fifth Overall Pick

New York’s other team (even though both play and operate out of New Jersey) needs offensive line help and if this draft breaks the way I’m expecting, this could be a dream scenario for them.

If the choice between Ekwonu and Neal is made for them by earlier picks, they will need all of 12 seconds to submit this choice for the NC State offensive lineman.

Back Ikem Ekwonu @ $4.50

Sixth Overall Pick

Now comes the first dilemma of the draft, Carolina at spot number six.

Common sense suggests that no quarterback is worthy of a top 10 pick, but that is far and away the Panthers’ most glaring need, so the question becomes, do they reach for a passer or take a much better player at a less valuable position?

Panthers owner David Tepper needs a marquee player who can stay on the field (apologies to Christian McCaffrey) and he’ll push Rhule into taking one of the top quarterbacks available.

Kenny Pickett is the favourite in this market but it’s closer than the odds would suggest and I’ll go for a value play on Malik Willis.

Back Malik Willis @ $5.00

Seventh Overall Pick

The Giants will be asking anyone and everyone if they want to trade up to this spot so they don’t have to make a call.

Whoever does wind up making a move to this spot will be thinking defence and the most popular option here could be Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner as he can come in and slot into the lineup in Week 1.

Back Sauce Gardner @ $3.50

Eighth Overall Pick

Some say that Atlanta’s major need is at quarterback after trading Matt Ryan to the Indianapolis Colts, but they have a guy capable of holding down the fort for a year or two in Marcus Mariota.

If Willis was available they might consider him to sit and learn behind Mariota but instead I have a feeling Atlanta will try and re-stock their skill position.

Had he not torn his ACL in the National Championship Game, Jameson Williams would have been an easy fit here but for a team like Atlanta, they need a guy who will be ready to go in Week 1.

Ohio State’s Garrett Wilson is the next best fit off the board and will be a welcome addition to a Falcons offence that was very easy to defend in 2021.

Back Garrett Wilson @ $6.00

Ninth Overall Pick

Before Seattle thinks about picking up a quarterback, they need to find some talent to surround their next “guy” with.

Part of the reason Russell Wilson wanted out of Seattle is because he was running for his life week after week thanks to some shoddy pass protection.

Charles Cross is the best fit at this position and while the temptation might be to address their defensive issues, they’ll go for a guy who can keep defenders off their quarterback.

Back Charles Cross @ $5.00

Tenth Overall Pick

For their second pick of the first round, the Jets will pick a player that can have an impact in the passing game, it just depends on which side of the ball they want to go.

Zach Wilson could use a receiver and it will come down to one of the two guys coming off a major injury, USC’s Drake London and Alabama’s Williams.

Both have the skills to make an impact with Wilson’s big arm but London’s basketball background might just put him over the edge in the 50-50 shot.

Back Drake London @ $6.00

Top 5 Pick

Now it’s time to dip into the value markets of the draft where you have a bit more leeway and less pressure to nail every pick exactly.

Evan Neal was at one point regarded as the most talented player in the NFL Draft and it would be a stunner to see the man mountain fall out of the top five.

Getting him at over even money feels like a steal.

Back Evan Neal @ $2.15

Top 10 Pick

Unsurprisingly, there are no odds on offer for guys like Hutchinson, Thibodeaux and company who are near locks to go in the top five.

Three names jump out from this group as players who are decent chances to sneak into the back end of the bottom ten.

Kenny Pickett is potentially the best quarterback in the class and could go as high as six and will potentially be in play at eight or nine before any trades come into play.

Kyle Hamilton has seen his stock fall despite a strong season thanks to some less than ideal testing numbers, but his game tape speaks for itself and if a team values it above the spreadsheets, they could look to arrest his fall.

Finally it’s defensive lineman and workout extraordinaire Jordan Davis who has popped in every imaginable way and some teams may be swayed by the fact he is a guy who is almost two metres tall, weighs over 150kg and can run much faster than someone his size should be able to.

Back Kyle Hamilton @ $2.10

Back Kenny Pickett @ $2.25

Back Jordan Davis @ $4.00

First Round Pick

There are plenty of players under $2.00 odds I would love to take to not be drafted in the first round but that’s not what this market is.

One name leaps out above all others as a guy I think is going to sneak into the first round is the cornerback Kaiir Elam who Buffalo is going to be watching very closely in the mid-20’s.

Back Kaiir Elam @ $2.25

Player Draft Position

This is another one of those markets where if you are feeling really confident in a player’s draft stock then you could be in for a real fill up.

The key for this one is remembering that “Over” means the player will be taken later than the listed pick and “Under” means they’re in for an early appearance at the fountains of the Bellagio.

We’ve got them listed alphabetically in that handy little link below so let’s run through the ones I like.

Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner Over 5.5 @ $2.00

Andrew Booth Jr Under 30.5 @ $1.96

Charles Cross Over 7.5 @ $2.35

Derek Stingley Jr Over 9.5 @ $2.35

Evan Neal Under 5.5 @ $2.15

First Quarterback Selected

Personally, I am all in on Malik Willis going off the board before any other quarterbacks but at this price, I’ll have an insurance play on Kenny Pickett since the value on Willis comes in other markets.

Back Kenny Pickett @ $2.40

First Running Back Drafted

Let’s call this one a stay away since no running back will likely be taken in Friday morning’s first round and the position continues to lose its value.

NO BET

First Wide Receiver Drafted

If health wasn’t a factor, Jameson Williams would win this one in a canter (and be at much shorter odds than $2.75) and it does open the door a bit for the current favourite Garrett Wilson to sneak in and take the crown.

Back Garrett Wilson @ $2.75

First Offensive Lineman Drafted

Evan Neal has to be the value play here, there isn’t as much between him and Ekwonu as the market would suggest.

Back Evan Neal @ $3.00

First Linebacker Drafted

This is another market where you can have a bit of an insurance play if you so desire. Devin Lloyd should be the first linebacker off the board but there is always a chance someone will fall in love with Nakobe Dean.

I’ll stay away but that’s where my money would be going at $4.00 odds.

NO BET

First Cornerback Drafted

There’s no value here, Gardner will be the first one off the board as he has really separated himself in the last few weeks.

NO BET

1st Round Position Totals

As we’re getting to the end of this draft preview this segment will be kept quite brief as we search for some value here.

Despite no quarterbacks really having a first round grade on them, someone is always going to panic and overdraft at the position, so the short priced over is an option if you’re looking at building a multi.

On the other end of the scale, no running back is worth taking on Friday so there’s a short priced under.

There will be a run on receivers at some point, probably when the fourth one goes off the board and that lends itself towards an overs play, don’t even bother with the tight ends.

Offensive line is producing a pair of top five prospects and a couple more top half ones but their second tier and middle class is a bit thin so the total of 7.5 seems a bit high, which explains why unders is at $1.68.

But with a heavy load of defensive difference makers on offer, it might not be a great first round for offensive weapons.

Defensively the markets just aren’t all that enticing with the current pricing, injuries mean we won’t see more than four corners going in round one and there could be as many as three safeties.

Over 6.5 Receivers @ $1.85

Under 16.5 Offensive Players @ $1.80

Over 15.5 Defensive Players @ $1.80