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2023 Ultimate NFL Draft Betting Guide, Best Bets & Predictions

Adam Thompson for Bookies.com

Adam Thompson  | 36 mins

2023 Ultimate NFL Draft Betting Guide, Best Bets & Predictions

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The NFL Draft is no longer simply a time for teams to replenish rosters. Now spread over three days with a primetime broadcast of the first round on Thursday, the NFL Draft has become another hugely popular event for the public.

For NFL betting enthusiasts, the 2023 NFL Draft offers hundreds of possible ways to wager. The choices on sports betting apps are aplenty, from the simple (odds on the first overall pick) to the more nuanced (Over/Under on offensive linemen taken in Round 1), there are more than enough options for every sports betting fan to stay tuned in. 

Bookies.com NFL handicapper Adam Thompson has used his resources of NFL contacts developed over 20 years covering the league and the NFL Draft to break down several of the most popular wagers and offer his NFL best bets for the draft, from the No. 1 overall pick to the amount of Big 12 players selected.

No. 1 Overall Picks Odds

PlayerOdds
Bryce Young -1600
Will Levis +500
C.J. Stroud +2500
Anthony Richardson +3500

All odds in this article available at DraftKings and accurate as of publication.

The QB-starved Carolina Panthers traded a king’s ransom to the Chicago Bears to acquire the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. They did it to find their QB of the future. The question is, which one? 

While there are questions about Bryce Young’s size and durability, it is clear that his maturity, success and excellent aptitude test outshine the issues. 

Will Levis of Kentucky has vaulted up the ranks with a strong arm and great intangible grades. Carolina has to get this one right, and while there is no perfect answer, Young is the guy from this viewpoint. 

The pick is probably Young, but for our purposes, there’s little value in those odds. Rumors have circulated that Levis has told people he’s going No. 1. Is there any credence to the rumors, or is it more draft smoke? His odds have moved from +5000 to +500 this week. It’s probably not true, but at these odds it might be worth a small play on betting sites

Pick: Will Levis +500 small or stay away

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No. 7 Overall Pick Odds

PlayerOdds
Christian Gonzalez +275
Devon Witherspoon +300
Paris Johnson Jr. +300
Peter Skoronski +500
Tyree Wilson +750
Will Levis +1000
C.J. Stroud +1100
Anthony Richardson +1100

The Raiders own this pick, and they have issues to shore up on the offensive and defensive lines, and at cornerback. The top-two O-line prospects, Peter Skoronski of Northwestern and Paris Johnson Jr. of Ohio State, are expected to go in the 10-15 range. This wouldn’t be a huge reach if the Raiders really feel that is the main priority. 

Jalen Carter of Georgia was expected to go as high as No. 1 when the Bears owned the top pick. But a series of off-the-field decisions and incidents, and his showing up at the NFL Combine eight pounds overweight, have damaged his stock. 

Cornerback is the safest play and perhaps the most important area of improvement. Devon Witherspoon of Illinois has risen up the ranks in the last month. But Christian Gonzalez of Oregon has been CB1 on most boards since the beginning. 

There aren’t many plug-and-play CBs these days, but Gonzalez is considered one of them. Las Vegas doesn’t have a shutdown corner, especially one that can handle the game’s more physical talents. Gonzalez would be a boost to a secondary that ranked 29th vs. the pass. 

Pick: Christian Gonzalez +275

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No. 8 Overall Pick Odds

PlayerOdds
Bijan Robinson +200
Nolan Smith +250
Lukas Van Ness +380
C.J. Stroud +600
Tyree Wilson +650
Jalen Carter +800
Devon Witherspoon +800
Christian Gonzalez +850
Anthony Richardson +1500

The Falcons need all sorts of help, but running back isn’t necessarily one of them. Tyler Allgeier rushed for over 1,000 yards and Cordarrelle Patterson had nearly 700 more for the NFL’s third-ranked rush offense. So it’s interesting to see Texas RB Bijan Robinson lead the board. Robinson has been compared to Saquon Barkley, so that must be enticing for a lot of run-hungry teams. 

But Atlanta has a lot bigger fish to fry. Defensive back and defensive line are both in need of improvements, and the Falcons could have great options at both positions at No. 8. 

With so many potential options on the board, this is a good spot to take a flyer. Carter has put himself in a bad spot with his off-field decisions, but the man was compared to Aaron Donald in terms of potential. He just helped lead Georgia to two national titles, and he might still be on the board at No. 8. 

The Falcons stole Saints standout DT David Onyemata in free agency, and can now turn a big weakness into a major team strength with the addition of Carter. 

Pick: Jalen Carter +800

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No. 9 Overall Pick Odds

PlayerOdds
Jalen Carter +275
Darnell Wright +275
Paris Johnson Jr. +350
Peter Skoronski +380
Broderick Jones +1100
Jaxon Smith-Njigba +1500

The Chicago Bears are here after trading away No. 1 to the Carolina Panthers. A team that “earned” the No. 1 overall pick clearly has more than one issue, but the offensive line was a shambles in 2022 and the Bears must protect QB Justin Fields if they’re to take a step forward. 

Wright of Tennessee, Johnson of Ohio State, Skoronski of Northwestern and Jones of Georgia all could start at tackle on Day One for Chicago. All have their strengths, but Skoronski is considered the most polished, the most fundamentally sound and the readiest right now. That he played his college ball just 16 miles away, and can play guard if needed as well, should give him an edge. 

Pick: Peter Skoronski +380

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NFL Draft 2023 Best Bets & Predictions

Devon Witherspoon, Over/Under 6.5 Draft Position

BetOdds
Under 6.5 -115
Over 6.5 -115

Witherspoon, of Illinois, has made one of the bigger draft jumps over the last month, joining Gonzalez of Oregon and Joey Porter Jr. of Penn State as the top cornerbacks in the draft. The Detroit Lions, who pick at No. 6, are reportedly high on him. 

But the Lions have other pressing needs and can make a real impact elsewhere. And we’re not even sure if it’s smoke or not. Gonzalez and Porter, who are both considerably bigger and better-equipped to handle the physical WRs, could be the preferred CBs over Witherspoon for most teams, including the Lions.

Pick: Over 6.5

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Will Anderson, Over/Under 3.5 Draft Position

BetOdds
Under 3.5 +145
Over 3.5 -185

When it comes to edge rushers, Will Anderson Jr. has separated himself from the pack in many eyes. He’s been compared favorably to Von Miller and was called the best defensive player to come out of Alabama in three decades. 

Arizona owns the No. 3 overall pick and has a glaring need on the edge. He can pick up where J.J. Watt, Josh Allen and Chandler Jones left off. The Cardinals just need to avoid temptation and hold on to the pick. 

Pick: Under 3.5

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Offensive Linemen Taken in First Round

BetOdds
Under 5.5 +330
Over 5.5 -475

There are four no-brainer tackles that will go in the opening round: Peter Skoronski of Northwestern, Paris Johnson Jr. of Ohio State, Broderick Jones of Georgia and Darnell Wright of Tennessee. 

After that, though, it gets a little murkier. Interior linemen O’Cyrus Torrence of Florida and John Michael Schmitz of Minnesota are fringe first rounders, as are tackles Dawand Jones of Ohio State and Matthew Bergeron of Syracuse. 

Two of the latter group must go to get to this number. Oddsmakers clearly believe will happen. There is some value in a play on the Under at these NFL odds

Pick: Under 5.5

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Wide Receivers Taken in First Round

BetOdds
Under 3.5 -115
Over 3.5 -115

There is no clear-cut No. 1 receiver in the bunch. Instead, there are 3-4, or even five, that could be atop team draft boards. In an NFL that now devalues RBs but puts a great emphasis on pass-catchers – especially cheap ones – there are enough good options to get teams to invest draft capital.

Zay Flowers of Boston College, Jaxon Smith-Ngijba of Ohio State, Jordan Addison of USC and Quentin Johnston of TCU all have a very decent chance to go in the first round. Jalin Hyatt of Tennessee is in the mix as well. Josh Downs of North Carolina has a shot to be a sixth WR taken. 

Pick: Over 3.5

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Big 12 Players Taken in First Round

BetOdds
Under 4.5 -210
Over 4.5 +170

I was hoping the Under would have better odds, but it’s a sound pick nonetheless. 

We know Edge rusher Tyree Wilson of Texas Tech will go, we’re pretty sure RB Bijan Robinson of Texas will, too. Same with TCU receiver Quentin Johnston. Then what? 

Kansas State CB Julius Brents, TCU guard Steve Avila and Oklahoma tackle Anton Harrison have popped up on some radars. But it’s sparing at best. If one of them gets in, that gives the Big 12 four picks. Take the Under.

Pick: Under 4.5

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2023 NFL Draft Betting Tips

1. Don’t Believe The Smoke

The national media has changed its collective minds a dozen times over the last two weeks. Why? For one, it gives them something to talk and write about. But two, the GMs are, how do we put this nicely? We can’t: They’re lying. 

The Houston Texans own the No. 2 overall pick and seemingly nobody knows what they want to do with it. It gives Houston considerable leverage when it comes to possibly trading the pick. Who are the Detroit Lions going to select? Every mock draft out there has an opinion and they’re all different.

Whoever the consensus choices were in March are the players who often get taken in the final week of April. 

2. Expect A Draft Day Curveball

Many experts now believe Alabama QB Bryce Young will be taken No. 1 overall by the Carolina Panthers. But where do the rest of the QBs go? And will Young actually go No. 1? C.J. Stroud was the consensus top guy just a few weeks ago. 

Last year, mock drafts had Florida State rusher Jermaine Johnson going No. 4 overall to the Jets. He went 26th … to the Jets. Malik Willis was projected to go as high as No. 8 to the Falcons. He went to the Titans – in the third round. 

3. Don’t Go All-In On Anything 

All it takes is one shocker to domino through the opening round. Thus, it’s best to spread the wealth and don’t go all-in on one no-brainer pick – because there are no surefire no-brainers. That goes for any NFL Draft, but especially this one, in which there isn’t a clear No. 1 at most positions. 

If the Cardinals trade the No. 3 pick, that starts a domino effect that could impact the next 4-5 selections. 

The NFL Draft is a fun diversion to wager on, and you can do really well on it if you play it right. But we’re still putting all our eggs on the decision-making of men in suits, not players on fields. The entire viewing nation can see one thing, but if one scout gets into the ear of one GM, it doesn’t matter. 

Where Can I Bet the NFL Draft?

NFL Draft betting is limited in most states because state regulators have mandated that betting can only take place on "sporting events" and not events like the draft that have a subjective element to them. Here's a look at which states offer NFL draft betting, along with what restrictions are placed on wagering in those states:

  • Arizona (until the draft starts)
  • Colorado
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Massachusetts
  • Maryland
  • Montana
  • Michigan (until Midnight night before draft)
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Tennessee
  • Washington, D.C.
  • West Virginia (until 8 p.m. night before draft)
  • Wyoming

2023 NFL Draft TV & Time

  • Round 1: Thursday, April 27, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN, ABC, NFL Network)
  • Rounds 2-3: Friday, April 28, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN, ABC, NFL Network)
  • Rounds 4-7: Saturday, April 29, noon ET (ESPN, ABC, NFL Network)

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About the Author

Adam Thompson for Bookies.com
Adam Thompson
NFL writer and expert Adam Thompson joined Bookies.com in 2019 after a successful run as senior handicapper for SportsLine and CBSSports.com. He's long been established as one of the nation's premier handicappers, specializing in the NFL where he's hit on more than 60% over the past three years. Adam's NBA, PGA and horse racing picks have also produced major winners over the last 12 months. His customized NFL and NBA odds for players and teams have been picked up by hundreds of websites over the past year.