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2022 NFL Draft Betting Recap: Big Payouts and Shocking Beats

Late line movement played out with some of the night's big surprises.

The first round of the 2022 NFL Draft is in the books and bettors enjoyed getting the best of the sportsbooks in the first 32 picks. The opening round witnessed nine offensive linemen, six wide receivers, just one quarterback and no running backs on the offensive side of the ball. Bettors who invested in over 15.5 total defensive players drafted in the first round found a cash when the 16th defensive player came off the board with the final pick of the first round (Lewis Cine, S, Vikings). 

Let’s take a look back!

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Big Wins

Travon Walker, No. 1 overall +300

The winning started with the first selection of the night, when the Jacksonville Jaguars tabbed Georgia edge rusher Travon Walker. I shared back on April 18 that Walker was the target of the respected money in Vegas at odds of +300 to go first overall, back when Aidan Hutchinson was still the prohibitive betting favorite. The former Michigan standout was listed at odds of -333 at SI Sportsbook several weeks ago, but following the strong steam in the days prior to the draft, the odds swung massively in Walker’s favor. The final closing odds found Walker listed at -475 and Hutchinson at +360.

Aidan Hutchinson, Over 1.5 Draft Position +200

This was a correlated wager that I shared here at SI Betting as well once word in Vegas indicated that Walker would be the first overall pick by the Jags. Hutchinson, who went No. 2 to the Lions, was an easy cash at odds of +175 once Walker came off the board first.

Check the Latest Odds from SI Sportsbook

Derek Stingley Jr., First Cornerback Selected +275

The late money in Vegas was absolutely spot on once again when former LSU standout Derek Stingley Jr. went No. 3 overall to the Houston Texans. Late Wednesday, respected steam arrived that drove the dynamic cornerback's overall draft position of 12.5 down to 8.5 and still cashed well inside the closing number. By coming off the board in the top three, Stingley also cashed at healthy odds of +275 in the first cornerback market, going one pick ahead of favorite Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner (-425), who went No. 4 to the New York Jets,

Drake London, First Wideout Selected +335

In a bit of a shocker, the Atlanta Falcons drafted USC wide receiver Drake London at No. 8. London jumped ahead of both Garrett Wilson (-150) and Jameson Williams (+200), who closed as the top two betting choices late Thursday afternoon. The big athletic wideout is going to be a physical presence for Marcus Mariota next season in Atlanta.

Kenny Pickett, First Quarterback Selected +175

The Steelers drafted the only quarterback in the first round when they chose former Pittsburgh Panthers signal caller Kenny Pickett at No. 20 overall. The strong-armed Pickett, who many had linked to the Steelers in recent weeks, cashed in the first quarterback chosen market at +175, ahead of favorite Malik Willis (-225). The Black and Gold have their successor to the recently retired Ben Roethlisberger.

Quay Walker, First Linebacker Selected +500

Need another example of why the respected money in Vegas is nothing short of incredible? Look no further than the selection of former Georgia linebacker Quay Walker by the Green Bay Packers at No. 22. In the final 72 hours leading up to Thursday night, respected steam drove Walker’s overall betting position of 43.5 down to 26.5! The former Bulldog was an impressive cash for bettors at odds of +500 in the first linebacker market ahead of favorite Devin Lloyd (-290).

Taking A Tumble

Evan Neal, Over 6.5 Overall Draft Position

Back in January, there was some talk that former Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal was in the discussion to go No. 1 overall to Jacksonville. However, Neal saw his opening draft position projection of 3.5 by oddsmakers balloon to 6.5 by early Thursday morning. The Giants ended Neal’s mini slide at No. 7 overall after going defense with the first of their two first-round picks at No. 5, drafting Kayvon Thibodeaux.

Kyle Hamilton, Over 11.5 Overall Draft Position

Former Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton witnessed one of the biggest falls from the original draft position projections posted by oddsmakers. Hamilton who opened at 5.5 found his draft position close at 11.5 and went beyond that final number when he came off the board at No. 14 overall to the Baltimore Ravens. As I highlighted in my mock draft, “despite adding Marcus Williams in free agency, Baltimore will be happy to land the best player on the board”.

Jermaine Johnson, Over 9.5 Overall Draft Position

The New York Jets may have struck gold when they traded up into the back half of the first round and made their third selection of the opening round and grabbed former Florida State edge rusher Jermaine Johnson. Oddsmakers had the powerful pass rusher projected to go inside the top 10 picks, but instead the former Seminole found himself sitting on the board when the Titans were on the clock at pick No. 26. The Jets are hoping Johnson turns into the best pass rusher the club has possessed since John Abraham.

Malik Willis Falls Out of First Round

The 2022 draft shocked both bettors and oddsmakers when former Liberty quarterback Malik Willis fell out of the first round. Willis, who opened with a betting draft position of 9.5, plummeted to 16.5, with the closing number easily cashing to the over. In addition, Willis burned bettors who laid prohibitive odds of -200 that the dual-threat signal caller would be the first quarterback to hear his name called by Roger Goodell.

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Frankie Taddeo is a successful high-stakes fantasy football player who created the first-ever DFS program ever offered in a Las Vegas sportsbook. Frankie is SI Betting's Senior Analyst and provides his significant experience and resources in the sports betting scene. You can follow Frankie on Twitter @Frankie_Fantasy for his latest betting and fantasy insights from Las Vegas.