The new NFL league year opened in March and teams completed a flurry of free agent transactions. These roster moves altered the future odds for many teams as the franchises sought to plug roster holes. But as the teams make these moves, betting odds for the top pick of the 2022 NFL Draft change.
Following the first week of free agency, the draft stands as the next opportunity for teams to improve their rosters. With 262 selections spread out over three days, teams spends months pouring over scouting reports and game tape, hoping to unearth the next diamond in the rough. But with all the recent wheeling and dealing by general managers, who gets picked first remains very much up in the air.
Festivities in Las Vegas start on Thursday April 28th with all 32 selections of the first round coming on the opening night. Here’s a look at the 2022 NFL Draft betting odds.
Jacksonville Holds THE Top Pick in 2022
The Jacksonville Jaguars hold the No. 1 overall selection for the second year in a row. The Jags find themselves in a similar position as they were a year ago, with the top pick in the draft and a new head coach. The big difference this time is Jacksonville has a capable head coach coming in and clear needs to address.
Betting odds for the top pick in the 2022 NFL Draft swing between two clear needs in Jacksonville: offensive tackle and edge rusher. The Jags invested last season’s No. 1 overall pick on quarterback Trevor Lawrence, so it makes sense that the team would follow that with an investment along the offensive line to protect him. Jacksonville signed five-time Pro Bowl guard Brandon Scherff in free agency to stabilize the interior part of the line, but they could use additional talent at tackle opposite Cam Robinson.
Most sportsbooks point Jacksonville’s other need as the most likely to be filled with this year’s No. 1 pick. The Jags registered the fifth-fewest sacks (32) and fifth-fewest QB Hits (83) last season. Jacksonville ranked 19th in pressure percentage (24.2) and 22nd in pass rush win rate (39 percent). Josh Allen led the Jags with 7.5 sacks, and Dawuane Smoot finished with 6.0, but no other player registered more than 3.0.
Betting Odds for No. 1 Overall Pick
If the Jaguars remain on the clock come the evening of April 28th, the betting odds tilt toward the team taking an edge rusher with the No. 1 overall pick.
Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson sports the best odds to be the first pick (-250) over at DraftKings. Caesars Sportsbook also has Hutchinson at top their list, but have the betting odds for the No. 1 overall pick at -400. FanDuel lists Hutchinson first as well, with -420 odds.
Hutchinson led Michigan’s defense, piling up 14 sacks, including three apiece in wins over rivals Ohio State and Penn State. Hutchinson helped the Wolverines defense finish the year eighth in scoring. He also finished second to Alabama quarterback Bryce Young in last year’s Heisman Trophy voting. He’s a plug-and-play prospect that would immediately help Jacksonville’s defense.
The other players getting consideration for the No. 1 overall selection would fill Jacksonville’s other needs. Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal comes in behind Hutchinson at Caesars (+550), DraftKings (+550), and FanDuel (+700). North Carolina tackle Ikem Ekwonu follows them, with his best betting odds coming from Caesars (+550). Fourth on these lists is Orgeon edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux, but he’s at least +1300.
There’s a chance Jacksonville trades down from the No. 1 pick, considering the depth of quality pass rushers at the top-end of this draft. The 2022 Big Board features three edge rushers in the Top-10 and seven in the Top-50. Over the last eight drafts, defensive end is the only other position, besides quarterback, to be taken No. 1 overall. The last edge rusher to drafted first overall was Myles Garrett in 2017.
Betting Odds for the No. 2 Overall Pick
The Detroit Lions hold the No. 2 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft following their 3-13-1 season. This team needs an infusion of talent, so their selection becomes a swing spot on Day 1. Detroit touched on their top two needs, receiver and edge-rusher, in free agency but the Lions still need difference makers on both sides of the ball.
Assuming the Jaguars draft Hutchinson, the Lions could continue with the run on edge-rushers, or go in a different direction entirely. It’s unlikely Detroit opts for a receiver, especially considering the Lions also have the No. 32 pick in the first round. Couple the lack of a clear-cut No. 2 prospect with the Lions’ selection of tackle Penei Sewell in last year, there’s real intrigue here.
DraftKings lists Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton with the best betting odds for the No. 2 overall pick at +350. Caesars also lists Hamilton at No. 2, giving him +340 odds. FanDuel has Hamilton tied atop their list for No. 2 overall, with +380 odds. Hamilton stands as the Draft’s top safety, and sports excellent awareness and range, and tackles well in the open field.
Georgia’s edge-rusher Travon Walker checks in third on DraftKing’s list at +500. He’s also third at FanDuel (+430). Walker’s fifth at Caesars (+1000). Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux was once thought to be in the running for No. 1 overall, but FanDuel doesn’t have him among their top five. Thibodeaux comes in fourth for Caesars (+650) and fifth for DraftKings (+800).
A dark horse to consider here is Liberty quarterback Malik Willis. The Lions have need for a franchise quarterback, and FanDuel lists him with the best betting odds for the No. 2 overall pick (+380). He’s tied for the top on Caesars’ list (+340) but fourth at DraftKings (+550).
Betting Odds for the No. 3 Overall Pick
The Houston Texans hold the No. 3 overall selection after their 4-13 season. The Texans could use additional draft capital to really get their rebuild going, so trading down here remains a real possibility.
Interestingly, the Texans team needs align similarly to Jacksonville’s, which means, whomever the Jags don’t take could end up in Houston. The Texans needs another edge-rusher to pair with 2020 third-round pick Jonathan Greenard. Houston finished with the fifth fewest sacks and ranked 18th in pass-rush win-rate.
The Texans also need upgrades along the offensive line. Houston allowed the ninth-most sacks (44) and ranked 27th in pass block win rate (54 percent) last season. The Texans were even worse against the run, ranking 32nd in run-block win-rate (65 percent), and managed the fewest rushing yards in the league last season.
All this has led to tackles Evan Neal and Ikem Ekwonu atop most betting odds lists. At both Caesars and FanDuel, Neal leads (+210) and Ekwonu is just behind (+220). At DraftKings, Ekwonu, the better run blocker, leads (+175), and Neal trails (+225).
Behind those prospects, there’s no consensus among the sportsbooks. Malik Willis ranges from +700 to +1000 betting odds for the No. 3 overall pick, and Kyle Hamilton ranges from +700 to +950. Travon Walker’s also in that mix, with Kayvon Thibodeaux trailing in most listings.
Betting Odds for the First Quarterback Taken in 2022 NFL Draft
Betting odds for the first quarterback taken in the 2022 NFL Draft list Malik Willis as the leader. At FanDuel, Willis sports -170 odds, while at DraftKings he’s at -175. BetMGM lists Willis as the betting favorite as well, with -185 odds. This year’s quarterback crop remains questionable in terms of franchise potential, but there’s no doubt some QB-starved team will take the plunge.
FanDuel lists Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett second among their prospects, with +195 odds. Pickett gets similar betting odds at DraftKings and BetMGM. Behind Pickett, the odds get longer for the likes of Ole Miss QB Matt Corral and North Carolina’s Sam Howell. Both see odds ranging from +1400 to +1600 depending upon the sportsbook.
Interestingly, the player with the best betting odds to the be No. 1 pick following last year’s draft was then-Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler. But following a subpar season, Rattler opted to transfer to South Carolina for 2022 rather than enter the draft.
The BetOnline Sportsbook listed Rattler with +130 betting odds to be the No. 1 overall pick. They listed Thibodeaux with +275 odds, Howell at +450, and Willis at +750. USC quarterback Kedon Slovis rounded out their top five with +1200 betting odds, but Slovis opted to transfer to the University of Pittsburgh for 2022 rather than enter the draft.
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