Among the numerous props to bet during the NFL draft is the first position player selected market. Here, the name of the game is finding value.
Nowadays, the influx of mock drafts has sharpened odds. You'll almost always notice a correlation between price points and where prospects are projected. If a player is favored, there's a good chance they're mocked ahead of the rest of the field.
Just last season, LSU's Clyde Edwards-Helaire - who was going off as high as +3200 at one point - cashed in this same market. Is there another dark horse lurking in this year's crop of running backs, or will the chalk win out?
Let's dive into the odds and see where the value's at.
|Najee Harris (Alabama)||-150|
|Travis Etienne (Clemson)||+150|
|Javonte Williams (North Carolina)||+400|
|Michael Carter (North Carolina)||+4000|
|Kenneth Gainwell (Memphis)||+4000|
|Trey Sermon (Ohio State)||+4000|
|Chuba Hubbard (Oklahoma State)||+5000|
|Jaret Patterson (Buffalo)||+6600|
|Kylin Hill (Mississippi State)||+8000|
Harris (-150) put on a clinic in 2020.
A three-year contributor at Alabama entering the year, Harris sealed the envelope on a star-studded career, leading the country in scrimmage yards and touchdowns en route to a national title as a senior.
Harris has only gained traction since the draft process began. He was listed at +120 to be the first taken during the early betting period in March and is the only prospect at his position currently with a first-round draft total (Over/Under 32.5).
The North Carolina product's 7.3 yards per rush attempt was No. 6 in the nation for running backs with at least 100 carries. The 5-foot-10 standout also logged 22 total touchdowns and earned PFF's top RB grade despite sharing a workload with Carter (+4000), who added more than 1,500 scrimmage yards for the high-flying Tar Heels.
Williams doesn't have Harris' size and physicality or Etienne's career accolades, but there's upside nonetheless. He's only 20 years old and played in 34 career games at UNC, showcasing his elusiveness - his 83 broken tackles in 2020 led the country - and versatility as a pass-catcher (42 catches between 2019-20, with 11.3 yards per reception).
theScore released its running back rankings just last week. Williams graded out as the top prospect, largely due to his age and ability to play every down in any type of system. Considering how the league views running backs nowadays, it's not out of the question for Williams' skill set to lure a team on Day 1, just as Edwards-Helaire did a year ago.
I feel this market's a lot tighter relative to mock drafts and projections, making Williams a solid flier at 4-1.
Alex Kolodziej is a betting writer for theScore. He can quote every line from "Rounders" and appreciates franchises that regularly wear alternate jerseys. Find him on Twitter @AJKolodziej.