Will More Offensive or Defensive Players Be Selected in First Round of NFL Draft?

Thirty-two picks will be made on the first night of the 2020 NFL Draft. How many players will be taken from each side of the ball? Let's examine this prop bet and see where bettors should put their money.
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NFL Draft prop bets are keeping the betting market afloat in these scarce times. From individual player props to wagers pitting conference rivals against each other, to whether or not any cats will show up on players' livestreams during the first round, you can bet on almost anything surrounding the 2020 NFL Draft.

While most bets will be resolved one way or another quite quickly, with the focus either at the top of the draft or only for a small section of picks, there's one bet that will take the entire night to determine. How many offensive and defensive players will be taken in Round 1? More specifically, which side of the ball will have more first-round picks?

Odds courtesy of Bovada

Odds courtesy of Bovada

According to Bovada, the offensive side of the ball is the heavy favorite to have 17 or more players selected in the first round—Al Davis isn't around to draft kicking specialists, so bettors shouldn't factor that in at all. Those who believe more defensive players get taken can get almost a 2/1 return on their investment. Let's dive into this further.

In my latest mock draft for Sports Illustrated, I have 15 offensive and 17 defensive players going in the opening round. A late run on defenders from picks 24-32 put the underdogs in his prop on top. In Kevin Hanson's latest mock draft, he has an even 16-16 split between both sides of the ball, with three straight offensive players being taken to round out the night for a push. 

In both cases, although for different reasons, the final ten picks will likely determine which side of this bet wins. Why? Because it's the part of the draft experts are most unsure. We may not be able to match players with exact teams at a high accuracy level, but guessing which players go in the top half of the first round in any order is significantly easier to do. Doing that late in Round 1 is a crapshoot. 

For example, will the Kansas City Chiefs take a cornerback (a position of need) or the top running back in this draft class in D'Andre Swift? Will the Minnesota Vikings look for a Stefon Diggs replacement in Round 1 or look to bolster a defense that lost a ton of players this offseason? If a team trades back into the end of the first round, will it be to take a falling defensive player or a quarterback like Jordan Love? 

The offense vs. defense either/or scenarios are plentiful in the final picks of the round. The best advice is to do your research and construct your own mock drafts and see what scenario plays out most often based on your evaluations. 

One other factor to consider is the ability to push. As mentioned above in Hanson's mock, a 16-16 split is possible. Waiting all night just to get your money back in what amounts to free adrenaline isn't the ideal scenario, but it's valuable insurance for underdog bettors. 

I believe more defensive players get drafted in Round 1 anyway, but having the push opportunity on top of +185 odds makes this an attractive wager.

The Play: Defensive Players (+185)

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