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NFL Draft: Final Countdown

Kansas City – Happiest Place On Earth

After months of preparation, the 2023 NFL Draft is finally here with the first round beginning Thursday at 8 p.m. ET. During the three-day event in Kansas City, Mo., 259 dreams will come true as countless hours of blood, sweat, and tears will pay off.

It is the last call for placing NFL picks with draft night only hours away. Cue the music, it’s the final countdown: Duh duh duh duh … duh duh dut duh. If that doesn’t get you fired up, something is wrong. Let’s look at the most intriguing sports bets and storylines to watch in the first round.

NFL Draft: Final Countdown
C.J. Stroud #7 of the Ohio State Buckeyes Carmen Mandato/Getty Images/AFP

In-Store for More Trades?

As usual, trade rumors are running hot as we approach draft night. Several players, like wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, could be dealt on draft night with pick compensation. NFL expert picks have also pointed to the Houston Texans and Arizona Cardinals, who hold the Nos. 2 and 3 picks, as potential trade downs.

If the Texans or Cards trade, this would cause a big shake-up in online NFL betting. The favorite choices for either pick would shift. More than likely, it would favor a quarterback, like C.J. Stroud, Will Levis, or Anthony Richardson. Currently, Houston is favored to take Texas Tech defensive end Tyree Wilson (+125) and, for Arizona, Ohio State offensive tackle Paris Johnson Jr. (+250) is the projected pick.

Best and Worst Bets

Now, let’s look at which bets could be the best and worst NFL predictions. Starting with the best, Stroud as the fourth pick (+200) feels like easy money. I am not buying that the Texans are looking at a defensive end at No. 2. Houston desperately needs a franchise QB, and Levis is closely behind Texas Tech’s Wilson for the second pick at +140. If the Texans select Levis, this leaves the Colts with Stroud or Richardson. Stroud is favored to be the third QB selected (+110), and Richardson is expected to fall out of the top four picks (-325).

In addition, the Seattle Seahawks’ selection of defensive tackle Jalen Carter (+400) at No. 5 is intriguing. Seattle is not expected to trade its pick and will likely target the defensive line. Carter going within the top four would be a major surprise. On Monday, Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network reported many around the league believe Carter will go to the Seahawks, but ESPN’s Todd McShay reported on Tuesday that Carter is not expected to be selected by Seattle. As always, we are getting contrasting reports leading up to draft night.

According to NFL odds, TCU guard Steve Avila is +170 to be a first-round pick. I love this wager. Avila has been a big riser this week, landing in several first-round mock drafts. Most importantly, there are teams in the late first round that need a guard, like the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys.

Moving to some of the bets to curb, I am not a fan of Wisconsin center Joe Tippmann being drafted in the first round (-150). He is trending up, but his stock is perhaps the most split among scouts. Some have a third-round grade while others claim he is one of the best interior offensive linemen available. Plus, the Buffalo Bills seem like the only likely landing spot in the late first round.

Cornerback is the third favorite choice (+190) for the Cardinals, per NFL lines. It would yield a nice payday, and Arizona does need a cornerback. However, there is no prospect available that is worth a top-three selection. This would be a big reach. Unless the Cards trade down, taking a cornerback is unlikely. Now it is time to sit back, relax and watch the 2023 NFL Draft unfold. Good luck with all of your NFL picks and parlays

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