“What are you thinking G-Men? ”
This is what New York Giants faithful in the New Jersey online sportsbook community ask about the NFL Draft.
The Giants have the 11th pick, or, from a betting perspective, crapshoot heaven for the April 29 event.
Big Blue is one spot in front of the Philadelphia Eagles, keeping the NFC battles raging in the offseason. But neither team will select the big names and draft handicapping becomes complex.
So is there a consensus with Giants’ pick?
DraftKings Sportsbook projects five quarterbacks to go in the first round and most of them early. This points the Giants in the direction of receiving threats Jaylen Waddle or Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith of Alabama.
Sprinkle in structural due diligence for tackle/guard Rashawn Slater of Northwestern and Christian Darrisaw of Virginia Tech on offense.
Consider cornerback Patrick Surtain of Alabama or linebacker Micah Parsons of Penn State on defense. That should cover it … maybe.
Anything goes at No. 11. Or No. 12 for that matter
“We believe a boatload of quarterbacks are going to go very early, but it’s not easy to line yourself up after that,” Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings, told NJ Gambling Sites. “You still have to be concerned about a team changing draft positions and making some type of late deal so you never can be quite sure.
“Nailing that pick exactly? It’s really hard to narrow down. It’s like trying to hit a trifecta in a horse race, it’s very difficult.”
NFL Draft betting strategies
Bettors can address that difficulty with a two-prong approach regarding the Giants. One is specific player draft positions at William Hill (Caesars) close to the Giants’ draft position.
Surtain’s over-under spot is 10.5. He’s -125 for the over and -105 for the under. The Giants would be his first landing spot on the “over”.
Smith has been rumored to be all over the top 12 for the last month. William Hill gives him an over-under of 11.5, with the over at +115 and the under at -145.
Parsons has an over-under of 11.5 with the over at -130 and the under at +100.
The board says the Giants will look closely at this group.
The second prong is a wide-net bet at DraftKings, concerning odds for which position the Giants will draft first. This is a good deal because a wager covers multiple possibilities for one position.
Here are the latest numbers:
- Wide receiver +250
- Offensive line +300
- Linebacker +325
- Defensive line +350
- Cornerback +550
- Quarterback +3300
- Running back +6600
That brings fun to the handicapping process.
And here’s another: the total number of offensive players taken in the first round. The over-under is 18.5. Each side is -112. There is action, therefore, on every selection in the first round.
How do you navigate the big picture?
Let’s analyze the Giants and then connect that to draft hype.
Assessing the Giants team
The Giants won six games last year, after an 0-5 start.
They were the best team in the NFC East over the last 11 games and narrowly missed the playoffs. Their culture changed with new coach Joe Judge and they made noteworthy off-season strides.
The Giants added Kenny Golladay at receiver, providing another downfield threat alongside Darius Slayton.
They added two-time Pro Bowl tight end Kyle Rudolph.
The Giants look determined not to remain part of perhaps an unprecedented NFL statistic.
The Giants scored the fewest points in the NFC last year, 280. The New York Jets tallied the fewest in the AFC, 243. The teams share MetLife Stadium and thus one arena hosted the lowest-scoring team in each conference, the two lowest in all of football.
That’s practically impossible to do.
Where to improve?
The Giants averaged three sacks per game against them last year, second only to the Eagles, 4.1, as the worst performance. That gives the Slater or the Darrisaw argument more credence.
But the classic Super Bowl-winning teams Giants a defense-first presence. A nod for Surtain or Parsons. Maybe EDGE performers like Jaelen Phillips or Gregory Rousseau of Miami.
Who will be there for Big Blue?
One William Hill bet indicates the range of opinions on picks anywhere from three on down.
Here’s what gamblers know: For the first time since 1999, quarterbacks are expected to be named as the first three picks.
Trever Lawrence of Clemson going to the Jacksonville Jaguars, boom. Zach Wilson of BYU to the Jets at number two, check please. (Unless bettors follow some New York tabloids, which makes a case for Justin Fields of Ohio State.)
Mac Jones of Alabama or perhaps Fields to the San Francisco 49ers, who traded up from 12 to three? Jones is -167 at DraftKings to be the third player taken.
Somewhere in this mix is quarterback Trey Lance of North Dakota State.
Quarterbacks will flood the board. But when will that stop?
This leads to the William Hill bet for the first non-quarterback taken.
Conventional wisdom indicates Oregon tackle Penei Sewell. The Bengals with pick 5 need him as security for Joe Burrow, who tore an ACL in the midst of being sacked and was lost for the last six games of last season.
The Bengals were crucified by their fan base for not protecting Burrow, its new franchise player. The team must put muscle in front of him.
So, Sewell is the first non-QB right? Not according to the board. He’s +180 and Kyle Pitts, a heralded tight end from Florida Pitts zoomed to +140, the favorite in this bet
Don’t forget about Ja’ Marr Chase of LSU, perhaps the best wide receiver in the group, at +250.
Somewhere in this process, a star player will unexpectedly fall a few spots and influence who the Giants look at.
If you think you are guessing, you’re not alone.
“We’re very happy when people make wagers now,” Avello said. “This is a tough proposition for the books to beat. As the draft gets closer, the information out there is going to get sharper.”
AP Photo/Jeff Haynes