2023 NFL Mock Draft based on betting markets: Will Levis among three Round 1 picks for Texans; Chiefs trade up

This mock draft will be a little bit different. Even though my name is on it, these are neither the picks I would make for each team, nor the picks I necessarily think each team will make. Instead, our goal is to capture what the betting world is saying about how the first round of the NFL Draft will unfold using the odds posted in several different markets across multiple sportsbooks.

Why does that matter? We’ve seen in recent years that the betting market can be ahead of conventional wisdom about what’s going to happen in the draft, including last year when Travon Walker went No. 1 overall to the Jaguars instead of Aidan Hutchinson. We saw Trey Lance to the 49ers start to emerge in the betting markets before the connection was made by national reporters in the run up to Draft Day. And we’re going to be able to point to several line shifts this year after Thursday’s action comes to a close and say, “See, they told us this was going to happen.”

Even though betting the NFL Draft involves gauging probabilities and finding value while on the outside looking in, it’s not an athletic competition where information only gets you so far. If your sources are good enough, you could theoretically nail every single Round 1 pick in a way that would be impossible if trying to predict the play-by-play of an NFL game. And because betting the NFL Draft is an information race above all else, the sportsbooks have to be careful about what they post, when they post it and how much they allow bettors to “risk.”

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As of Sunday evening, Bryce Young is -1600 to go No. 1, and the implied odds involved in that say you’d need to be 96% certain he’s the pick to play it. But unlike an NFL game, it’s possible to have 100% certainty if your sourcing is good enough, which would make even that bet profitable. Bettors have been trying to get ahead of the news on the No. 2 pick like those who took Young when he was closer to even or even the underdog to go first, and we’ve seen shifts on the favorite at No. 2 from C.J. Stroud to Will Anderson to Tyree Wilson to now Will Levis in the market.

For the purposes of this mock, that means slotting Levis in at No. 2, but we do have the freedom to make some trades using my draft pick value chart or use some amount of common sense if the odds don’t quite line up with the teams on the clock. Basically, even if the No. 3 spinning wheel lands on a QB, we’re not going to force Arizona to draft one, and that extends down the draft.

We’ll lean on props involving prospects to get drafted over or under a certain position, at an exact pick or inside the top five, top 10 or first round. We’ll also bring position of first draft pick props into the mix as we work through teams, using that prop something like a “team needs” column. And while this is least important, we’ll also keep in mind certain markers on total players from a position or conference to be taken in the first round (for example, Under 1.5 running backs in Round 1 is -300 at Caesars Sportsbook, so don’t expect to see Jahmyr Gibbs crack this mock draft).

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Alright, that’s enough table-setting. Let’s get into the Betting Market NFL Mock Draft. Remember: There are only 31 picks in this mock draft because the Dolphins were stripped of their first-round pick due to tampering.

For more draft content, check out our latest prospect rankings and mock drafts, as well as our NFL Draft podcast, “With the First Pick,” featuring former Vikings general manager Rick Spielman. (Check out the latest episode below.)

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