The NFL Draft is already invigorating the NFL betting prop season.
The Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants, and New York Jets each have an interesting betting consideration from their top selections.
Besides their longshot odds to win offensive rookie of the year, all three players are generating realistic props on yardage totals and touchdowns.
It’s no longer just each player against the field, but each against his projected total.
Let’s analyze each pick.
Heisman winner Smith has high NFL expectations
BetMGM pegs the speedy Heisman Trophy-winning receiver at 749.5 receiving yards. The over and under are both -110. Fair shot, a straight play.
The book also has over-under touchdown totals at 5.5. It leans under the total at -125 and over at +105, playable from either side.
It’s good to see those props because winning the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year is an uphill battle for a wide receiver. High-profile quarterbacks gain more categories to impress awards committees beyond yardage and touchdowns. Quarterback rating, completion percentage, and fourth-quarter comebacks also factor into the equation.
Quarterback Justin Herbert of the Los Angeles Chargers ran away with this award in 2020, notching 41 votes. Second-highest was Minnesota Vikings’ wideout Justin Jefferson, who had 1,400 yards, with nine votes.
Breaking down NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year odds
Wondering who to play this time around? Here is the opening offensive top rookie betting board.
DraftKings Sportsbook has Trevor Lawrence, the top overall pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars, as the +300 favorite.
Here are some other names to watch:
- Justin Fields, Chicago Bears QB, +600
- Trey Lance, San Francisco 49ers QB, +600
- Zack Wilson, New York Jets QB, +700
- Najee Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers, +1000
- Ja’Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals WR, +1100
There was some early May movement on Smith, up to +1400 from +1600.
Jaylen Waddle, his Alabama teammate, is +1600. He is now a wide receiver for the Miami Dolphins.
William Hill (Caesars) has Smith at +1800 and reported that the fastest-rising ticket recipient is actually Harris, who was the Steelers first-round pick. Harris has gone from +2000 to +1000 and taken a third of the tickets.
“Looks like the early money is for Najee Harris,” said Nick Bogdanovich, director of trading for William Hill US. “There’s twice as many tickets on him compared to anyone else early on. [James] Conner is no longer in Pittsburgh, so looks like it’s going to be Harris’ show there. He’s going to get plenty of opportunities, so I can see why they’re betting Harris.”
FanDuel Sportsbook has +1700 for Smith and Waddle.
Will DeVonta Smith click with the Eagles offense?
Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for Draft Kings, believes Smith will hit stride quickly, regardless of his betting odds.
“Some guys get to the NFL right away and look ready to go; DeVonta Smith looks like one of those guys,” Avello told NJ Gambling Sites. “He’s a high confidence player and it looks like Jalen Hurts is where all their eggs are going at quarterback, although that’s a little surprising to me.
“Smith is a little guy and he’s fast. Cornerbacks will tell you that receivers like this are going to be really tough to cover. Going across the middle, however, could be a problem.”
This is a good time to savor just how good Smith is. He is only the fourth receiver to win the Heisman.
The previous recipients are:
- Michigan’s Desmond Howard in 1991
- Notre Dame’s Tim Brown in 1987
- Nebraska’s Johnny Rodgers in 1972.
Avello initially thought Smith would get drafted either at No. 11 or 12, and he wasn’t surprised that the Eagles, who had the 12th pick, vaulted the New York Giants at number 11 to get him. That also had a ripple effect throughout the draft.
Modest forecast for Wilson as Jets new QB
Wilson’s individual prop numbers convey caution
As PointsBet, he has an over-under of 22.5 passing touchdowns, a low number for the 17-game season. The under is -125, the over -105.
His yardage is over-under 3,800 at -115 on both sides.
How to compare?
Herbert, the top rookie last season, had a terrific opening season for the Los Angeles Chargers. He threw for 4,336 yards and 31 touchdowns, despite not being the opening-day starter.
Expectations are low for Wilson’s touchdown total, too. It projects the Jets being patient with him, letting Wilson grow into the job and not have the same meteoric pressure that accompanied Sam Darnold, who is now with the Carolina Panthers.
But this being New York, hype is in the genes.
Bet MGM pegs Wilson’s yardage total at 3,874.5 with the over and under at -110.
It lists him for 20.5 touchdowns with the over -125 and under +105.
Here’s a great shopping opportunity. Go with BetMGM if you like the over and PointsBet for the under regarding touchdown totals.
Giants rookie WR Toney has no pressure
BetMGM projects Toney with an over-under of 524.5 yards for the season. It’s -110 on either side.
Toney has an over-under of 3.5 touchdowns with the over -130 and the under +110.
This is an interesting prop. The Giants should have playmaker Saquon Barkley back from injury and will build its offense around him. The G-Men picked up Kenny Golladay from the Detroit Lions, a sharp move, and they already have Darius Slayton, a breakaway threat.
Toney, who represents excellent value at No. 20, fills out a new-look Giants offense that looks capable of spreading the field. There won’t be much early pressure on Toney, but he may grow into the job.
Nick Foles: Birds bettors still see him in green
Of course, Nick Foles, the former Eagle and the MVP of the franchise’s lone Super Bowl championship, caught the effect of the Smith draft-night move. It caused the Giants to move down from 11 to 20 and the Bears to move up to 11 and draft Fields.
Uh-Oh, that’s one crowded area behind center and the subject of a DraftKings prop.
Who will be the Bears’ opening day quarterback?
Fields joins Foles and Andy Dalton, who was acquired in the off-season by the Bears.
Foles is the +900 longshot. Dalton, who moved over from the Dallas Cowboys is -167. But Fields enters the field as the +160, signaling an intense training camp.
The numbers say Dalton had the job and Foles would be the backup. A quarterback controversy involves two players. Now it’s three
Maybe the real prop is who gets disgruntled first, or whether all three will start a game next year. Either way, it’s interesting.
The situation further underscores how Eagles GM Howie Roseman became the maestro of the draft.
With the 2021 NFL regular season still several months away, there is plenty of time to ponder the odds.
AP Photo/Jeff Haynes