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The ultimate playbook for betting the draft

It’s time to put all that research to work. Joe Fortenbaugh

Print This April 28, 2011, 12:00 PM EST

For the last four months, the National Football Post has spent countless hours traveling, studying film, interviewing players and putting together our prospect rankings.

The time has finally arrived to put that information to good use.

What follows are 13 draft prop bets that get me all tingly on the inside…

Note:  Thanks to Sportsbook.com, BetOnline.com and Sportsbetting.com for the props.

LOCK IT UP

The Bet: Which player will get drafted first?

Jimmy SmithSome experts have said they like Smith more than LSU's Patrick Peterson.

Jimmy Smith (CB, Colorado): -135
Cameron Heyward (DE/DT, Ohio State): +105

Where to book it: BetOnline.com

The Pick: JIMMY SMITH (-135)

Analysis: Eliminate the character concerns and Smith doesn’t get past the Texans at No. 11. The talented Colorado cornerback will likely be drafted a bit lower than where his skill set suggests, but that’s still probably 5-10 picks higher than Heyward’s first potential landing spot.

The Bet: What will Patrick Peterson’s draft position be?

OVER 6.5: +110
UNDER 6.5: -150

Where to book it: Sportsbetting.com

The Pick: UNDER (-150)

Analysis: It’s been one of the most popular mock draft picks for last three months, but there is no way in hell a player as talented as Patrick Peterson falls to the 49ers at No. 7. Whether it’s a trade up by Houston or the Cardinals making a move at No. 5, Peterson will be off the board by the time San Fran hits the clock. That is, unless Jim Harbaugh plans on moving up to take the talented LSU cornerback, in which case, you still win.

The Bet: How many defensive tackles will be drafted in the first round?

OVER 4.5: -170
UNDER 4.5: +135

Where to book it: Sportsbook.com

The Pick: OVER (-170)

Analysis: Alabama’s Marcell Dareus, Auburn’s Nick Fairley and Illinois’ Corey Liuget are all locks to hear their names called during the first round. That gives us three. Baylor’s Phil Taylor, Temple’s Muhammad Wilkerson and Ohio State’s Cam Heyward are all legitimate threats to get drafted on Day 1 as well.

Since we only need two of the final three to cash, I’m taking the over and banking on Taylor and Wilkerson to get it done.

Note: Player positions are according to NFL.com, meaning if he’s listed as a defensive tackle there, he counts as a defensive tackle for your bet.

The Bet: How many defensive players will be drafted in the first round?

OVER 21.5: even
UNDER 21.5: -140

Where to book it: Sportsbetting.com

The Pick: UNDER (-140)

Analysis: In order to cover the UNDER, we need at least 11 offensive players to get drafted in the first round. The following players are first round locks in my opinion (pay attention, because this exact same analysis applies to the next bet):

Cam NewtonICONNewton is just one of several offensive players that will help us win this bet.

1. Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
2. Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri
3. A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
4. Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
5. Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
6. Tyron Smith, OT, USC
7. Mike Pouncey, C, Florida
8. Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College
9. Nate Solder, OT, Colorado
10. Danny Watkins, G, Baylor

Ok, so we’ve got ten locks, which means we need one more offensive player to get drafted in order to cover the spread. Pick your poison: Gabe Carimi, Derek Sherrod, Jake Locker, Andy Dalton, Ryan Mallett, or how about another wide receiver or possibly tight end Kyle Rudolph?

The Bet: How many offensive players will be drafted in the first round?

OVER 11.5: even
UNDER 11.5: -130

Where to book it: Sportsbetting.com

The Pick: OVER (even)

Analysis: Take the ten locks listed in the bet above and add two more players from the “pick your poison” pool.

The Bet: How many players from the Big 12 Conference will be drafted in the first round?

OVER 7: -130
UNDER 7: even

Where to book it: Sportsbook.com

The Pick: OVER (-130)

Analysis: At the very least, this will end in a push because the following seven players are locks for the first round:

Von MillerThe Big 12 is going to have a solid first round presence.

1. Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri
2. Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M
3. Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
4. Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri
5. Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado
6. Nate Solder, OT, Colorado
7. Danny Watkins, OG, Baylor

Throw in Big Phil Taylor (DT, Baylor) and you’ve got yourself a winner.

LOOKIN’ STRONG, BUT NOT ENOUGH FOR ME TO LOCK IT UP

The Bet: How many correct picks in final mock draft?

Mel Kiper (ESPN)

OVER 7.5: -105
UNDER 7.5: -125

Todd McShay (ESPN)

OVER 7.5: -105
UNDER 7.5: -125

Mike Mayock (NFL Network)

OVER 7.5: -110
UNDER 7.5: -120

Where to book it: BetOnline.com

Note: This is actually three (3) separate bets.

The Pick(s): UNDER (-125, -125, -120) for all three

Analysis: Let me be very clear that I have nothing but the utmost respect for Mel Kiper, Todd McShay and Mike Mayock. However, I know from experience how hard it is to get eight first round picks correct. Once that first trade goes down, the whole thing goes up in smoke.

Last year was a difficult draft to land eight correct picks despite the fact that everyone knew the first three (Bradford, Suh, McCoy) months ahead of time. With Carolina still undecided at No. 1, there is just too much uncertainty.

The Bet: How many defensive ends will be drafted in the first round?

OVER 7.5: -115
UNDER 7.5: -115

Where to book it: Sportsbook.com

The Pick: UNDER (-115)

Robert QuinnICONThe 2011 draft class is stacked with talented defensive ends.

Analysis: The 2011 draft class is stocked with talent at the DE position, but this line was set a bit too high. Let’s begin by recognizing that Da’Quan Bowers (Clemson), Robert Quinn (UNC), Aldon Smith (Missouri), Ryan Kerrigan (Purdue), J.J. Watt (Wisconsin) and Cam Jordan (Cal) are all first round locks. You can even add Iowa’s Adrian Clayborn to the mix as well.

Outside of those seven players, nobody else is a sure thing. Cam Heyward (Ohio State) is listed as a defensive tackle at NFL.com and either Brooks Reed (Arizona) or Jabaal Sheard (Pittsburgh) would need to get drafted in the first in order for the OVER to cover. With the odds at -115 on both sides, we’ll sleep well knowing we have the UNDER.

The Bet: Most selections made by one team (Rounds 1-7) in the draft

OVER 11.5: -115
UNDER 11.5: -125

Where to book it: Sportsbetting.com

The Pick: OVER (-115)

Analysis: At least one NFL team has made 12 or more picks in nine of the last ten drafts. I’ll side with history on this one.

The Bet: Which player will get drafted first?

Da’Quan Bowers (DE, Clemson): -150
Ryan Kerrigan (DE, Purdue): +120

Where to book it: BetOnline.com

The Pick: DA'QUAN BOWERS (-150)

Analysis: The concerns over Bowers’ knee have sent his stock plummeting since the standout defensive end was projected as the first overall pick back in January. And yes, while some teams haven’t cleared Bowers medically, others have. Minnesota at No. 12, Detroit at No. 13 and New England at No. 17 are all possibilities.

Meanwhile, Kerrigan has at no point during the lead-up to this draft been linked to any team higher than the Jaguars at No. 16. I’m willing to play the odds and back Bowers.

LET’S ROLL THE DICE

The Bet: Will Blaine Gabbert (QB, Missouri) be drafted 5th overall?

Blaine GabbertICONWill Gabbert be the 5th overall pick?

YES: +125
NO: -155

Where to book it: BetOnline.com

The Pick: NO (-155)

Analysis: The fifth pick belongs to the Arizona Cardinals, who have been rumored to be interested in the Big 12 quarterback. Call it a gut feeling, but I don’t see this happening. Gabbert could go No. 4 to Cincinnati (I really don’t see this going down, either), but I think the Cardinals go with Patrick Peterson if he is still available.

The Bet: How many offensive linemen will be drafted in the first round?

OVER 7: -115
UNDER 7: -125

Where to book it: Sportsbetting.com

The Pick: UNDER (-125)

Analysis: Let’s assume the following offensive linemen are first round locks:

1. Tyron Smith, OT, USC
2. Mike Pouncey, C, Florida
3. Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College
4. Nate Solder, OT, Colorado
5. Danny Watkins, G, Baylor

That gives us five, which means three more offensive linemen need to hear their names called in order for us to lose this play. Gabe Carimi (Wisconsin) and Derek Sherrod (Mississippi State) are possibilities here, but even if both get drafted in the first round, the worst we end up with is a push.

I’ll roll the dice and say at least one of these guys doesn’t get drafted in the first round. It’s a calculated play with low risk.

BOOM OR BUST PICK OF THE DRAFT

The Bet:  Who will be the third pick in the draft?

Blaine Gabbert:  +250

Marcell Dareus:  +800

Patrick Peterson:  +500

Von Miller:  -175

Where to book it:  Sportsbook.com

The Pick:  MARCELL DAREUS (+800)

Analysis:  If Cam Newton goes first to the Panthers and Von Miller goes second to the Broncos (which is a theory that is gaining a lot of steam at the moment) Dareus makes a ton of sense for the Bills at No. 3. 

Think of it like this:  a $100 bet pays $800.  That's worth it to me.

ONE FUTURE BET TO KEEP AN EYE ON

The Bet: How many games will the Carolina Panthers win in 2011?

OVER: To be determined
UNDER: To be determined

Where to book it: Just about anywhere.

The Pick: UNDER

Analysis: If the only player a 2-14 team adds in the first two rounds is an inexperienced, spread option quarterback who has spent the last seven months surrounded by controversy, I have a strong feeling this team isn’t getting any better anytime soon.

Sorry, Panthers fans.

Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh

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