Best NFL Combine Prop Bets
More than 300 prospects have flocked to Indianapolis, the annual site of the NFL Scouting Combine, where their NFL futures very well hangs in the balance. It’s not a stretch to say careers will be made or broken this weekend.
In spite of the abundance of game film on these players in college, the combine and its array of drills serves as one more test — a giant one at that — for upcoming rookies to prove their mettle in front of coaches, GM’s, scouts, and doctors.
While you admire their uncanny ability to zig-zag through orange cones and run 40 yards a warp speed, here’s the best wagers that deserve your attention. Below odds are courtesy of BetOnline.
Faster 40 Time: Saquon Barkley or Lamar Jackson
Oddsmakers pegged Barkley (-165) over the ex-Heisman winner Jackson (+135). Honestly, we’re surprised those odds aren’t more lopsided as Barkley has this one in the bag.
Look, this one comes down to who has more to prove and that’s clearly Barkley. Hear us out. This is the “money drill” for running backs, wide receivers, and cornerbacks — not signal callers. A few tenth of a seconds means the difference in draft selection for those position players. Barkley is a lock for the first round, but that could be anywhere from a top-5 to bottom-half selection.
Why? Not because of Barkley’s skills, but how teams value the running back position. Why waste a first-rounder on a rusher when history has shown there are hidden gems available late (Alvin Kamara in the third or Jordan Howard in the fifth as recent examples). It’s on Barkley to prove he’s a can’t-miss prospect and a lightning-quick 40-yard dash time is the perfect evidence.
Not that Jackson doesn’t have something to prove. Matter of fact, most pundits have Jackson as the fifth or sixth best quarterback this draft class. However, a fast 40-yard time isn’t going to change those rankings whatsoever. Jackson’s question marks are tied to his throwing mechanics, not superior athleticism — which is hard to miss. No way Jackson is training for this drill more than Barkley has.
Pick: Barkley (-165)
40 time: Anyone break combine record (4.22 seconds)
Here’s the recent history of record holders in the famed 40-yard dash. In 1999, Rondel Menendez set the record when combined officials first used electric devices to measure time. Nine years later, Chris Johnson broke the mark. That record stood for eight years until John Ross topped it a year ago.
That’s all you need to know about this prop bet. Don’t let that yes (+475) option tempt you, this is a record that literally stands time (if previous trends continue, it’ll be seven years before someone beats Ross’ performance).
Pick: No (-750)
Bench Press: Anyone with at least 40 reps
Is there a more grueling test of strength and endurance than benching 225 pounds repeatedly? Not a chance. And pumping at least 40 reps is a longshot — even for the burliest lineman.
Here’s a look at recent competition leaders: two players tied at 35 reps last year. That fared better than the 2016 best of 34 reps. In 2015, the high was 37 reps. Heck, the last time someone topped 40 was Russell Bodine in 2014.
Based off that, we’re going with a hard no (-230). If you want to chance it — and go against history — the yes pays out at +180.
Pick: No (-230)
Over/under 6.05 seconds: Rich Eisen 40 Time
In what’s become a must-see combine tradition, NFL Network host Rich Eisen runs the 40-yard dash. Here’s the catch (besides Eisen’s complete lack of athletic ability): Eisen isn’t stripped into his underwear like true prospects. Instead, he sprints with a full-on suit and to his credit, for the benefit of charity.
Bookies have this at a near toss-up — over (-125) and under (-105). Akin to the previous wagers, this prop bet is best evaluated by past examples.
“Run Richie Run” first took place way back in 2005 when Eisen posted a “deceptively fast” 6.94 time. He’s broke under six seconds twice in 2014 (5.98) and 2016 (5.94).
However, here’s the giveaway stat: Since 2012, Eisen has run under 6.05 all but once. With that said, ride the hot hand!
Pick: Under (-105)
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