The 2022 NFL Draft is just a few days away, so now is the time to bet on what will happen in Round 1.
There is some significant value on the board and a few bets that you should make right now before the odds shift.
So without further ado, here are the seven best NFL Draft bets you must make this year.
2022 NFL Draft Best Bets
Ikem Ekwonu: No. 1 Pick (+320) at BetMGM Sportsbook
UPDATE: This has sadly dipped from (+1000) to the new much less ROI-centric line.
The indications from everyone I have talked to around the NFL is that general manager Shad Khan wants the Jaguars to pick Travon Walker at No. 1. Walker is now the heavy betting favorite to be the No. 1 pick, overtaking Aidan Hutchinson. However, I have heard that there is still disagreement in the Jaguars’ war room.
If new head coach Doug Pederson gets his way, he’ll take Ikem Ekwonu, the incredibly talented offensive tackle from North Carolina State. Pederson loves improving the offensive line and Ekwonu can play four different positions. He could even play guard as a rookie and eventually slide out to left tackle after the 2022 season when Cam Robinson is scheduled to hit free agency again.
Even when dipping from +1000 to +320, Ekwonu is a good bet here as a fade on Walker and Hutchinson. He is one of four players still in contention for the Jaguars with the No. 1 pick.
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George Karlaftis: Draft Position OVER 22.5 (-115) at DraftKings Sportsbook
Early in the draft process, some prognosticators thought Karlaftis could be a top-10 selection. However, that’s no longer the case. As we approach the draft, he’s more likely to be a second-round pick than a top-10 pick.
Over the last few days, a few NFL agents and scouts have told me that Karlaftis is likely to be a late first or second-round pick, citing concerns about his short arms (32 5/8") and small wingspan. His inability to improve on his freshman season, in which he posted 17 tackles for a loss, hasn’t helped to improve his draft stock.
Since that 2019 campaign, Karlaftis totaled just 12 tackles for a loss and 6.5 sacks in 14 games. He’s also dealt with some injuries and there are some concerns about his hip tightness.
Karlaftis should be drafted sometime in the 30s and maybe even in the late 20s. However, there is just no way he goes before pick No. 23.
Charles Cross: Draft Position OVER 7.5 (+100) at DraftKings
After Ekwonu and Alabama’s Evan Neal, two more talented offensive tackles will go early in the first round. One is Northern Iowa’s Trevor Penning, and the other is Mississippi State’s Charles Cross.
Early in the draft process, Cross was viewed as a lock to be a top-10 pick. But recently, his stock has fallen some, and he’s met with several teams drafting in the 20s.
Cross likely won’t fall that far, but I don’t see him getting picked inside the top seven either. He lacks the physical strength to garner that high of a selection, but don’t expect him to fall outside of the top 15.
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Malik Willis: Draft Position OVER 10.5 (-130) at DraftKings
There was some early buzz about the Lions potentially picking Malik Willis at No. 2, but that has died down. The Panthers don’t appear to be a landing spot for Willis, either, as they need a player who can contribute right away.
That means Willis could fall some, likely outside the top 10. Pittsburgh and New Orleans are both teams that could trade up to acquire him, but they likely wouldn’t need to move up into the top 10 to do so. I still expect Willis to be the first quarterback off the board, but for him to be selected somewhere in the teens.
If you want to make another bet on Willis, consider taking him at (+350) to land with the Steelers. The belief in NFL circles is that he is the No. 1 quarterback on the board for Pittsburgh and they could be willing to trade up several spots to acquire him.
Garrett Wilson: Draft Position OVER 9.5 (-130) at DraftKings
There is no consensus when it comes to the top wide receiver in this class. Most believe that Jameson Williams is the most talented, but he is coming off a torn ACL. Still, he’s likely to be the first or second receiver drafted due to his speed.
After that, Drake London (USC) and Garrett Wilson (Ohio State) should come off the board shortly after. The Jets are likely to draft a receiver at No. 10, but only the Falcons (No. 8) are interested in a receiver inside the top 10. For that reason, Wilson seems like a lock to be picked after No. 9
Kyler Gordon: Draft Position UNDER 33.5 (-115) at DraftKings
One of the best indicators of whether or not a player will be a first-round pick is if they are invited to attend the NFL Draft. And yes, Kyler Gordon from Washington will be in attendance on Day 1.
There is a good chance he is the third cornerback to come off the board, as his teammate Trent McDuffie did not receive an invite to the NFL Draft. Gordon is a much better athlete with longer arms and has the ability to play in the slot. It’s still likely that he will “fall" to the 20s, but don’t expect him to get out of the first round.
Teams like the Cardinals, Chiefs, and Bills all have significant interest in Gordon late in Round 1. You can also bet on Gordon to be a first-round pick at (+110) and to be the third cornerback selected (+600). All three props are worth taking right now.
Jameson Williams: First Wide Receiver Selected (+200) at BetMGM
Speed is still king in the NFL. It’s why the Dolphins traded two first-round picks to select Jaylen Waddle at No. 6 last year. It’s why the Raiders picked Henry Ruggs at No. 12 in 2020, making him the first receiver to come off the board. And it’s why Marquise “Hollywood” Brown was the first receiver picked in 2019.
That’s likely going to be the case again this year as Jameson Williams will be the first receiver drafted. Despite some concerns about a knee injury that he suffered in the National Championship Game, Williams has elite speed that every team covets.
He should come off the board inside the top-12 picks, with the Falcons potentially drafting him at No. 8. However, if he doesn’t go there, don’t be surprised if he lands with the Jets (No. 9) or Texans (No. 13). At +200, Williams is too good of a bet right now to pass on.