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NFL draft betting: The many ways to play positional 1st-pick markets

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Caleb Williams seems like a shoo-in to go first overall in the 2024 NFL Draft. Of course, that means he'll be the first quarterback drafted.

Part of the allure of the NFL draft is the positional nature of the sport. You can pick 23rd and still get the best available player at a position. In turn, each position group has its corresponding market to bet for the first player to hear his name called.

First wide receiver drafted

Marvin Harrison Jr. -600
Malik Nabers +250
Rome Odunze +2500

Players listed at 100-1 or longer are not listed

This market is similarly prohibitive to where the No. 1 overall pick market sat all season, with Marvin Harrison Jr. priced as 85.7% likely to become the first receiver off the board. It asks the bettor to either be sure that the presumed pick is a certainty - like in the case of Williams - or to come up with an alternative player whose stock may soar at the last minute.

First running back drafted

Trey Benson +150
Jonathon Brooks +250
Jaylen Wright +400
Blake Corum +500
MarShawn Lloyd +500
Braelon Allen +2500
Audric Estime +3000
Bucky Irving +3000

Players listed at 40-1 or longer are not listed

The odds for a tailback to go in the first round aren't high, meaning we likely won't see one picked until the second. Any number of teams could take a flier on a running back that fits their needs (zone-blocking scheme, heavy pass offense, pass-protection responsibilities, etc.). Trey Benson might have the most talent, but he may not be the best fit. So, looking at an underdog here is the move.

First offensive lineman drafted

Joe Alt -400
Taliese Fuaga +350
Olumuyiwa Fashanu +650
JC Latham +1000
Troy Fautanu +2300
Amarius Mims +4000

Players listed at 100-1 or longer are not listed

At -400, the implication is that Notre Dame's Joe Alt is 80% likely to be the first offensive lineman selected. That assessment might be low given his potential at left tackle, but it's best to steer clear from laying four units to win one two weeks out with four other offensive linemen capable of going in the top half of the first round.

First defensive player drafted

Dallas Turner -190
Laiatu Latu +400
Jared Verse +600
Quinyon Mitchell +600
Byron Murphy II +1200
Terrion Arnold +2500
Chop Robinson +4500

Players listed at 80-1 or longer are not listed

Like former Alabama teammate Will Anderson last year, Dallas Turner is the favorite to become the first defensive player off the board in 2024. However, the markets for offensive linemen and wide receivers are more certain than here. Mel Kiper has Turner (No. 8) four spots ahead of Quinyon Mitchell (No. 12) in his latest mock draft, but the key is positional scarcity.

Top edge rushers are relatively scarce this year, so teams are incentivized to pounce on the one or two standouts. The Falcons (No. 8) have an obvious need at edge rusher, which also increases Turner's chances of going first among defenders.

First cornerback drafted

Quinyon Mitchell -200
Terrion Arnold +200
Cooper DeJean +500
Nate Wiggins +2000
Kool-Aid McKinstry +5000

Players listed at 100-1 or longer are not listed

Mitchell has shorter odds here than Turner has among defensive players. However, four corners, including Mitchell, are slotted in between No. 12 and No. 22 in Kiper's mock draft. Cornerback is rife with viable options, so that cluster may collectively drift down in favor of players manning more scarce positions. At which point, Arnold, DeJean, Wiggins, or even McKinstry could be taken over Mitchell if a team prefers their skill set for its defensive scheme.

As you can see, there are a multitude of ways to think about these markets with two weeks to go until the 2024 NFL Draft.

Matt Russell is the lead betting analyst for theScore. If there's a bad beat to be had, Matt will find it. Find him on social media @mrussauthentic.

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