The first round of the NFL Draft will take place April 23, but not in Las Vegas and not with any fans in attendance. Instead, each team will make picks via telecommunications platforms. With no major sports to wager on due to the coronavirus pandemic, NFL Draft props are all the rage among bettors.
Oddsmakers are offering everything ranging from when players will be drafted, to how many players from each position are drafted, to school-vs-school props. In one of the more popular markets over at Bovada, the oddsmakers have created a prop pitting two bitter SEC foes against each other in Georgia and Auburn. In this draft prop, bettors are being afforded the opportunity to wager on which school will have more players drafted in the first round with the odds being: Auburn +0.5 (-230) or Georgia -0.5 (+160).
Alabama and LSU project to have the most players taken on April 23, highlighted by the Tigers’ Joe Burrow, who is essentially a lock to go first overall to the Bengals. Both Auburn and Georgia appear to each have one “lock” for a Round 1 selection. This betting market will most likely hinge on two specific players’ chances of being selected among the top 32 picks. Let’s take a deeper dive and break it all down.
Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
Brown is the prototypical NFL run-stuffer (at 6-foot-5 and 320 pounds) that NFL scouts and GMs crave as cornerstones of their interior lines. Over his four-year career as a member of the Auburn Tigers, he developed into a disruptive force, posting 33 tackles for loss, 12.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries. After testing lower at the combine than many expected, some have begun to question how his athleticism will translate at the next level. On the other hand, some respected scouts view Brown as a better overall prospect than Ndamukong Suh, who went No. 2 overall back in the 2010 draft.
Betting Outlook: William Hill currently has Brown’s draft position listed with an over/under of 8.5. From all indications, many mock drafts have Brown either landing with Carolina at No. 7, Arizona at No. 8 or Jacksonville at No. 9. I don’t see Brown falling out of the top 10 at this point.
Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
Andrew Thomas (6-foot-5, 320 pounds) is one of a handful of elite offensive line prospects in this year’s draft who can step in and immediately upgrade up any team’s guard or tackle position. He’s a dominant run blocker and possesses all the tools to develop into a premier pass blocker at the NFL level.
A three-year starter at left tackle for Georgia, Thomas enters the NFL with the pedigree of playing in a pro scheme while competing against the best opponents college football has to offer. He has played both tackle spots at the collegiate level and in 2019 earned first-team Associated Press All-American and first-team all-conference honors after starting 13 games at left tackle.
Betting Outlook: William Hill currently has Thomas’ draft position listed with an over/under of 11.5. Thomas is rumored to have interest from the Cardinals at No. 8, Browns at No. 10, Jets at No. 11 and Tampa Bay at No. 14. With four offensive tackles projected to come off the board in the first 15 selections, it is unlikely that Thomas does not hear his name called in the opening round.
D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
D’Andre Swift is arguably the best running back in this entire class and is favored to be the first back taken. He’s incredibly shifty, boasts excellent speed and is one of the best pass-catching RBs in the draft. In 2019, Swift earned first-team all-SEC honors with 1,218 rushing yards (6.2 average) and seven touchdowns and 24 receptions for 316 yards and one more score. In three seasons, he rushed for 2,885 yards, averaged a school-record 6.56 yards per carry and added 73 receptions. Sports Illustrated Georgia Bulldogs Maven, Brooks Austin recently highlighted that Swift has garnered a lot of attention from some all-time greats at the position such as Thurman Thomas and Maurice Jones-Drew.
In SI.com's latest Big Board projection, Swift is ranked as the 21st overall prospect who
Sports Illustrated's Kevin Hanson projects being drafted at No. 32 by the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs in his latest Mock Draft.
Noah Igbinoghene, CB, Auburn
Noah Igbinoghene's Auburn football career began as a wide receiver and ended as a defensive back on the other side of the ball for Gus Malzahn’s Tigers. He made the switch to cornerback in 2018 after impressing defensive coordinator Kevin Steele with his athleticism to earn a starting defending role for War Eagle. In his sophomore season, Igbinoghene had 50 tackles and 11 pass breakups followed by 42 tackles and seven PBUs in his junior season. The versatile and dynamic Igbinoghene also excelled on special teams emerging as an electric kick returner.
Igbinoghene announced on Twitter that he will be among the 50 or so players who will be joining the “virtual green room.”
The question bettors need to answer to cash in on this prop is: will the talented cornerback be among the top 32?
- Marlon Davidson, DE, Auburn
- Isaiah Wilson, OT, Georgia
- Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia
Brown is expected to hear his name called very early, but after that only two other Auburn players are projected to be top-50 picks: Igbinoghene and edge rusher Marlon Davidson. In conclusion, it is fair for us to surmise that after the top portion of the first round the schools will be tied at one apiece. I have already wagered that at least one running back will be chosen in the first round and that was based on my projection that Swift gets tabbed within the first 32 selections. With that being said, at attractive plus-odds, I am willing to gamble that the Bulldogs edge out the Tigers two-to-one in the first round as the talented Igbinoghene remains on the board.
Pick: Georgia Bulldogs over Auburn Tigers (+160)
MORE FROM SI GAMBLING: