With dozens of betting markets available for the NFL Draft, you can bet everything from Over / Under draft selections to the position of mister irrelevant (the last player taken in the draft). An emerging popular NFL Draft betting prop is being able to bet the 1st player taken at a given position. While Quarterback Joe Burrow is a consensus choice to be the first QB off the board, other positions offer more questions and thus more opportunity for the bettor. In this article, we will break down how to bet the TE position for the 2020 NFL Draft.
With mock drafts like ours popular across all corners of the internet, one angle we can take is trying to understand how good mock drafts have historically been at pegging the top selection at a given position.
Top Tight Ends Selected Last Ten Years
2010: Jermain Gresham (R1 Pick 21), Rob Gronkowski, Ed Dickson
Gresham and Aaron Hernandez were the consensus top TEs in mock drafts this year and Hernandez fell down the board.
2011: Kyle Rudolph (R2 Pick 43), Lance Kendricks, Rob Housler
Kyle Rudolph was the clear #1 TE in mock drafts and went off the board first, but not until the 2nd round.
2012: Coby Fleener (R2 Pick 42), Dwayne Allen, Michael Egnew
There was no popular TE in the 2012 draft as Fleener went at the top end of the 2nd round. The Colts drafted two TEs in this class.
2013: Tyler Eifert (R1 Pick 21), Zach Ertz, Gavin Escobar
Tyler Eifert was the consensus #1 TE of the class and went in the 1st round to the Bengals.
2014: Eric Ebron, (R1 Pick 10) Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Jace Amaro
Ebron was the consensus #1 TE of the class and went in the 1st round.
2015: Devin Funchess (R2 Pick 41), Maxx Williams, Clive Walford
There was no consensus TE this year, Funchess was technically drafted as a TE despite playing WR during his NFL career.
2016: Hunter Henry (R2 Pick 35), Austin Hooper, Nick Vannett
Hunter Henry was the consensus TE1 in mock drafts and went to the Chargers at the top of the 2nd round.
2017: OJ Howard (R1 Pick 19), Evan Engram, David Njoku
OJ Howard was the consensus TE1 in mock drafts and was the first off the board.
2018: Hayden Hurst (R1 Pick 25), Mike Gesicki, Dallas Goedert
Mock Drafts were a bit split in 2018 between Hurst and Dallas Goedert, along with some seeing value in Mike Gesicki. Mock Drafters were still fairly accurate but it was more of a coin flip for who the top selection would be.
2019: TJ Hockenson (R1 Pick 8), Noah Fant, Irv Smith
TJ Hockenson was the slam dunk #1 TE pick last year followed by Noah Fant and there were no major surprises.
Takeaways: Any of the years there has been a clear consensus pick for the TE1 of the draft, they have seemed to deliver and go as the first TE off of the board. Even in the years where there are co-favorites, the mocks seem to be pretty savvy at identifying who to flip the coin between.
In the last ten years, we have seen first-round TEs in six of the drafts and never seen the first TE drafted later than Pick 43. However, this year’s draft class seems to be shaping up towards the low end of this range.
NFL Draft Odds to be the 1st Tight End Drafted
- Cole Kmet (-143 DK / -160 FD / -125 PointsBet)
- Adam Trautman (+500 DK / +550 FD / +460 PointsBet)
- Brycen Hopkins (+700 DK / +750 FD / +625 PointsBet)
- Thaddeus Moss (+1000 DK / +900 FD / +800 PointsBet)
- Hunter Bryant (+1100 DK / +1100 FD / +1000 PointsBet)
- Albert Okwuebunam (+1200 DK / +1000 FD / +1100 PointsBet)
- Harrison Bryant (+2000 DK / +1200 FD / +1500 PointsBet)
Longshot TE odds include Devin Asiasi, Cheyenne O’Grady, Jared Pinkney, Josiah Deguara, Colby Parkinson, and Dalton Keene.
The first thing to note is the importance of line shopping when betting the NFL Draft as even the top selections have a wide range of pricing across the three betting operators covered. Notre Dame TE Cole Kmet is still the consensus top tight end and is available at -125 at PointsBet, while if you are betting either Dayton TE Adam Trautman or Purdue TE Brycen Hopkins you get much better value betting at Fanduel Sportsbook.
As you move past the Top 3, DraftKings Sportsbook offers much better pricing on the longer shot TEs and would be the book of choice for betting Thaddeus Moss, Hunter Bryant, Colby Parkinson, Albert Okwuebunam or Harrison Bryant.
Leveraging the Grinding the Mock app which allows you to regress various mock drafts, they have Cole Kmet as TE1 across 54 expert mocks, ranging from Pick 41.9 to Pick 71.4.
If not betting on Kmet, some other data points to consider are Dayton TE Adam Trautman (52.8-78.8), Stanford TE Colby Parkinson (55.4-79.8), Missouri TE Albert Okwuegbunam who across 79 mocks ranges from pick 66.3 to 89.5.
The Grinding the Mock app rates Parkinson’s odds comparably to Adam Trautman but you get a much better price. Considering the pedigree of Stanford Tight Ends perhaps Parkinson will offer some value for long-shot bettors at +6600 on DraftKings Sportsbook.
Cole Kmet Over / Under NFL Draft Betting Odds
As noted above, Cole Kmet is the consensus favorite to be the 1st TE selected. His current O/U at PointsBet is 46.5 with -121 juice on the under and even money on the over. At Fanduel Sportsbook, Cole’s odds are O/U 48.5 with -142 juice to the under. That is pretty low, considering every year this decade we have seen a TE go Pick 43 or earlier. The Grinding the Mock app actually believes Kmet may go as low as Pick 56 on average, so this bet is a pass for us given the conflict between historic context and mock rankings. If I had a lean it would be to take the + price on the over on Fanduel.
If anything, this reflects how poor the TE class is in the 2020 NFL Draft and suggests it could be a closer comp to 2011, 2012 or 2015 where there was a less clear consensus.