NFL Draft Betting Odds: Running Back Rankings, Picks and Values
With the rise of fantasy sports, skill position players are among the more popular betting markets for casual fans looking to bet the 2020 NFL Draft. Before making a wager at the RB position for the upcoming draft, here are the key things that you need to know.
NFL Draft Odds to be the 1st Running Back Selected
D’Andre Swift is the consensus top RB off the board and Fanduel is offering the best price here with -175 odds. The junior from Georgia rushed for more than 1000 yards the past two seasons while averaging more than 6.6 yards per attempt in his collegiate career.
The importance of shopping for the best price is clear when reviewing the NFL draft odds, as Jonathan Taylor’s price of +200 is better at DraftKings and JK Dobbins’ price is notably better at Fanduel (and now is up to +1100). Anybody other than Swift, Taylor or Dobbins would be a huge shift from consensus.
Will Taylor or Dobbins be drafted before Swift?
Anthony Amico’s running back breakout work has flagged Jonathan Taylor as the overall top RB prospect and there has been some shift in consensus as the draft draws nearer. Are NFL teams reading Anthony’s work? Probably not, but their teams of analysts are diving into similar data.
Taylor is beginning to approach Swift’s mock draft capital, while Dobbins has diverged clearly away. But have mock drafts been accurate at projecting RB drafts? In 2018, Saquon Barkley was a consensus Top 5 selection in the NFL Draft and went to the Giants at #2 overall. In 2019, Josh Jacobs was the consensus top RB in the draft, was mocked around Pick #25, and went #24 overall to the Oakland Raiders. Both those years Barkley and Jacobs were the clear consensus and it was just a question of where they would go.
This year, the consensus is that there may not be an RB drafted in the 1st round of a loaded wide receiver class. D’Andre Swift has an over-under of pick 26.5 but -165 juice on the OVER, while Jonathan Taylor is pick 37.5. Expert consensus data at Grinding the Mocks shows that the 37.5 projection on Taylor is fair, and expert consensus mocks actually price Swift pretty similarly. Generally, the betting markets view Swift as the consensus, while experts think Taylor could be in the mix.
My favorite way to bet running backs in the NFL Draft though is with the UNDER 0.5 RBs taken in the 1st round at +215 at DraftKings Sportsbook.
I think this bet itself has a positive expected value, as I think Swift is probably no better than a coin flip to be a 1st rounder. If Taylor were to get drafted before Swift, it is likely driven by Swift falling outside of the 1st round more than somebody reaching on Taylor.
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