Sean Pendergast

2015 NFL Draft Preview (Through The Lens Of Prop Bets)

The NFL Draft begins tonight. This first night of the draft is truly the only night in the NFL where being utterly terrible the year before has any redeeming quality. This time last year the Texans were ready to be the belle of the ball, sitting on the number one overall pick. They took Jadeveon Clowney at about 7:01 p.m. and that was it for the night.

Tonight will require more patience as, barring a trade, you will have to wait until pick number 16 to find out who the next first round Texans rookie will be. So you'll need something to pass the time, and I can think of no better way to maintain interest in a bunch of picks that have little to do with our hometown team than gambling on said picks.

So thanks to the good folks at Bovada, let's take a look at this year's NFL Draft prop bets of note (and in our own special way, preview tonight's first round of the draft):

Unless otherwise noted, these are all actual bets available on Bovada as of Thursday morning:

Who will be the number one overall pick? Jameis Winston ... -2000 Marcus Mariota ... +900 Any other player +900 ANALYSIS: Winston is a virtual lock to go number one in the draft, despite a rap sheet that includes everything from crab leg theft to cursing while standing on a table at the FSU student union to alleged sexual assault. Even with the specter of a civil lawsuit hanging over his head, the Bucs are not scared (according to head coach Lovie Smith). This in spite of the fact that Winston's very own attorney has said he's not ready for the pros, and in spite of the fact that he clearly butchered his story of the "crab leg" incident on the Draft Academy TV show on ESPN. Honestly, Winston's offseason seems more like one big heat check to see if he can somehow NOT get drafted first than a focused candidacy to be number one.

Who will be the number two overall pick? Marcus Mariota ... -500 Leonard Williams ... +700 Jameis Winston ... +900 Dante Fowler, Jr. ... +1000 Any other player ... +500 ANALYSIS: Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean conducted a straw poll of Titan fans this week asking them who they want to be the Titans' starting quarterback next season. Here were the results:

So, in theory, this means that Titan fans will be disappointed if they select the reigning Heisman Trophy winner with the second overall pick, one season after quarterback-starved Texan fans saw their team draft a guy who wound up with microfracture surgery, in case you needed more reasons to hate the Titans.

How many running backs will be selected in the first round? Over 1.5 ... -500 Under 1.5 ... +300 ANALYSIS: Barring an abduction by aliens of either Todd Gurley of Melvin Gordon, this should be the easiest money on the board. Gurley is trending upward into the top ten, and Gordon would seem to be a lock for the top 25, with no way he gets past the Cowboys at 27. This would be a far more interesting bet if the number were 2.5, as any number of backs could sneak into the back end of the first round (Tevin Coleman, Duke Johnson, Ameer Abdullah).

How many wide receivers will be selected in the second round? Over 5.5 ... -140 Under 5.5 ... +100 ANALYSIS: This is likely the deepest position in the draft, so let's start with the locks for the first round -- Amari Cooper, Kevin White, DeVante Parker, and likely Breshaud Perryman (who the great John Harris of Texans Radio picked for the Texans on my radio show yesterday). Here's where the wrinkles begin. One of the top remaining WR's is Dorial Green-Beckham who has off the field issues, so he could drop. The other dynamic in place is the depth of this wide receiver class could drive several teams to go second and third round shopping. I'd play under on this one, especially with "even money" value.

2015 NFL Draft Position - AMARI COOPER Over 5.5 ... +150 Under 5.5 ... -200 ANALYSIS: UNDER. I'll bit on Jacksonville being a sleeper landing spot for Cooper.

2015 NFL Draft Position - KEVIN WHITE Over 7 ... +100 Under 7 ... -140 ANALYSIS: OVER. I think the off field issues of Randy Gregory and Shane Ray are going to put a top-of-draft premium on edge rushers, potentially clogging up the top seven with guys like Bud Dupree, Vic Beasley, and Dante Fowler.

2015 NFL Draft Position - TODD GURLEY Over 14.5 ... +100 Under 14.5 ... -140 ANALYSIS: UNDER. The next Adrian Peterson will not make it past Miami, who (not so coincidentally) picks 14th.

2015 NFL Draft Position - MELVIN GORDON Over 22.5 ... -120 Under 22.5 ... -120 ANALYSIS: OVER. If Gordon gets past San Diego at 17, he probably slips to at least 23 with Detroit, and I don't trust San Diego to not screw up a prop bet of mine.

2015 NFL Draft Position - DANTE FOWLER Over 3.5 ... -200 Under 3.5 ... +150 ANALYSIS: OVER. If I'm taking Cooper's UNDER because of Jacksonville, by definition, I feel Fowler will go over 3.5 (assuming the two quarterbacks go first and second).

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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts afternoon drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the post game show for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast