NFL Draft Odds: Wideouts Receiving Plenty Of Attention

Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Garrett Wilson #5 celebrating as he runs with the ball during the game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Purdue Boilermakers at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio on November 13, 2021.
Image Credit: Jason Mowry/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Wide receivers dominated the offseason NFL chatter and likely will be a major part of first-round NFL Draft action. As for running backs and tight ends … not so much.

Miami’s Tyreek Hill and Las Vegas’ Davante Adams signed megadeals after the receivers left their former teams, and now Tennessee’s A.J. Brown, Washington’s Terry McLaurin and San Francisco’s Deebo Samuel are fighting for new contracts.

Examining the 2022 NFL Draft odds market, six receivers are projected to go in the first round. On the other hand, any running back or tight end going in the first 32 picks would be a big surprise.

After looking at the NFL Draft odds for this year’s crop of quarterback prospects, breaks down all things wide receivers, tight ends and running backs ahead of next week’s event in Las Vegas.

All odds updated as of 3:15 p.m. ET on April 22.

Line Forms Behind Wilson

Garrett Wilson #5 of the Ohio State Buckeyes
Image Credit: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

All signs point to Ohio State’s Garrett Wilson as being the first receiver taken in the Draft. Despite being listed at 6-foot, 188 pounds, he is the No. 1 ranked wideout in mock drafts from ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay, as well as The Athletic’s Dane Brugler. He’s also the consensus No. 1 receiver per a CBS Sports roundup of mock drafts.

Still, Wilson is available at plus-money to be the first receiver drafted, including as high as +115 at Caesars Sportsbook. In consensus mock drafts, USC’s Drake London is the next wideout off the board, but he is the third choice at most sportsbooks, with a top price of +225 at DraftKings.

Alabama’s Jameson Williams is the second choice at most sportsbooks but is available as high as +225 at Caesars (same as London) to be the initial wideout selected.

First-Round Receiver Parade

Treylon Burks #16 of the Arkansas Razorbacks
Image Credit: Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Just how deep is this year’s wideout pool? If you believe what you see on NFL Draft odds boards, six receivers are likely to go in the first round: Wilson, London, Williams, Ohio State’s Chris Olave, Arkansas’ Treylon Burks and Penn State’s Jahan Dotson. The all-important question for bettors: Will there be a seventh?

DraftKings sets the prop on number of receivers drafted in the first round at 6.5 (Over -105/Under -125). Caesars has the line at 5.5, but juiced to the hilt (Over -400/Under +300).

Several mock drafts have North Dakota State’s Christian Watson slipping in as the seventh wideout in the first round. The CBS consensus actually has eight, with Western Michigan’s Skyy Moore making the cut as well.

With fewer quarterbacks slated for the first round this year, maybe NFL GMs will concentrate on the players catching the ball.

Draft Positions

Jameson Williams #1 of the Alabama Crimson Tide
Image Credit: Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

All the mock drafts have Wilson going by the 10th pick, and his prop total is 10.5. Easy money, right? Well, oddsmakers aren’t giving out any bargains, heavily juicing the Under on Wilson’s prop at -220 at DraftKings.

It makes sense, given that the Buckeyes’ star — who had 1,058 receiving yards and 12 TDs as a junior last year — is going in the top 10 in most mock drafts. However, The Athletic slots Wilson No. 18 in its mock.

London’s consensus position total at sportsbooks is also 10.5, with the Over significantly favored. As for Alabama’s Williams, should bettors place their faith in the oddsmakers or draft-expert insiders? He actually put up better numbers than Wilson last year — 1,572 receiving yards, 15 TDs, — but he tore his left ACL in the College Football Playoff title game loss to Georgia.

Wilson is going 15th or later in most mock drafts, but bookmakers are more bullish on the 6-foot-2 speedster. His consensus prop total is 12.5, and as mentioned above, most books have him as the second wideout off the board instead of the third.

Similarly, sportsbooks are either offering a deal or a reality check on North Dakota State’s Watson. His prop total is 39.5 at DraftKings, but he’s projected Under that number by draft experts, most of whom have Watson in the 20s.

Any Takers for Running Backs?

Iowa State running back Breece Hall runs with the football in his left hand during a game in 2021
Image Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

For years, NFL analytics experts have been railing against using draft capital on running backs. That doesn’t appear to be a worry heading into this year’s Draft, which is expected to be the first since 2014 without a tailback selected in the first round.

The prop on how many RBs will go in the first round is set at the minimum 0.5, with FanDuel offering the best value as it relates to the Over (+200). DraftKings has the best price on the Under at -190.

Iowa State’s Breece Hall and Michigan State’s Kenneth Walker III appear to be in a two-horse race to be the first running back taken. Hall is -250 at FanDuel and Walker is +280, with nobody else closer than 15-1. That offers an immediate scalp opportunity for bettors on the top two choices — provided no long shot comes in.

Talking Tight Ends

At least there’s a puncher’s chance a running back will come off the board in the first round. A tight end going within the first 32 picks? That would be a major upset.

The prop for number of tight ends taken in the first round — as with running backs — is 0.5. But the prices are much starker. For instance, Caesars offers the best odds … at Over +550/Under -800!

If one tight end makes a shocking climb up the board, it probably will be Colorado State’s Trey McBride. Several mock drafts have him going in the second round, with DraftKings setting his prop total at 50.5 (Over -130/Under +100).