The first round of the NFL draft is in the books. It ended up being a pretty solid showing for bettors. They nailed the Travon Walker and Derek Stingley Jr. picks amongst others, and according to BetMGM’s trader Seamus Magee, “the NFL draft was a success for many bettors.”
However, if you bet one specific prop, you probably woke up this morning in disbelief that your bet lost. Prior to the start of the draft, BetMGM offered a prop on whether there would be over or under 6.5 receivers drafted in the first round. Six receivers went in the first 18 picks and AJ Brown and Marquise Brown were traded during the explosive run on wide-outs. It seemed like the over was a lock, until it wasn’t.
The expected wide receiver run happened
Heading into the draft, many figured there would be a run on wide receivers in the first round. Up to nine different receivers were in the picture to be drafted in the first round and there were plenty of wide receiver needy teams.
The Falcons started off the festivities. They took Drake London out of USC off the board, cashing a +250 ticket for bettors who had him as the first receiver to be drafted. A few picks later, the Jets took Garrett Wilson out of Ohio State at pick No. 10. Wilson was the betting favorite to be the first receiver drafted, but he went second.
The run on wide receivers was under way. The Saints traded up to No. 11 and took Chris Olave. The Lions aggressively moved up from 32 to 12 to draft Jameson Williams out of Alabama. After moving down to 16, the Washington Commanders drafted Jahan Dotson out of Penn State.
Then, two big name receivers changed teams via trade. The Arizona Cardinals traded for Marquise Brown, a 2019 first-round pick, from Baltimore, and shortly thereafter, the Philadelphia Eagles made a massive move to trade for AJ Brown from the Titans.
With the 18th pick the Titans acquired from the Eagles, Tennessee drafted Treylon Burks out of Arkansas to replace Brown. At that point, six receivers had gone in the top 18 picks and two other big names had been traded. It looked like receivers were going to dominate the draft. Then, unfortunately for bettors who had over 6.5 receivers, it stopped abruptly.
Packers, Chiefs passed on receivers
In the months prior to the draft, the Green Bay Packers traded Davante Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders for a package that included the Raiders’ first-round pick. Marquez Valdes-Scantling walked in free agency and the team replaced him with the unreliable and often injured Sammy Watkins. Allen Lazard is the team’s No. 1 receiver.
Armed with two first-round picks, the Packers were widely expected to draft a wide receiver. Green Bay was -145 to use their first pick on a wide receiver. Even if they didn’t take one at 22, you had to expect them to take one at 28. Instead, Green Bay drafted a defensive tackle and linebacker, and extended their streak of not drafting a receiver in the first round to 20 years. Many are questioning Green Bay’s draft.
However, bettors still had hope. They needed just one more receiver.
Much like the Packers, the Kansas City Chiefs traded away their star receiver in Tyreek Hill and received an extra first-round pick in the process. Kansas City was -110 to draft a receiver with their first pick. Instead, they traded up to draft a cornerback and then used their second first-round pick on an edge rusher. While some might not be as surprised by the Chiefs, they were still expected to draft a receiver and passed.
The Ravens also traded away their top receiver in Marquise Brown and got an extra first-round pick in the process. With their star quarterback having a meltdown on Twitter, they drafted a center instead of a wide receiver.
From picks 19-32, no receivers went. What looked like a sure bet came crashing down. Almost everyone had the Packers and Chiefs going wide receiver in Round 1. Maybe they didn’t consider Skyy Moore, Christian Watson or George Pickens as worthy of a first-round pick. They could still address the position in the rest of the draft, but that won’t help bettors who lost their draft prop bet on Thursday night.