The NFL Scouting Combine
The week long showcase of football talent known as the NFL Scouting Combine is the most important pre-draft event on the NFL calendar, offering up many interesting competitive events in which prospective college football players pit their wares in front of appraising NFL eyes and minds, all in the hopes of securing that all important next step of their careers – ascending into the select NFL world. [Insert dramatic shiver]
To some, It’s the equivalent of the gladiators in ancient Rome competing at the Coliseum. Some have called it (tongue-in-cheek) the underwear Olympics. Whatever it may be, it is nevertheless a huge deal – where future NFL stars are born, where NFL stocks rise and fall, where dreams are made or sadly crushed.
BetOnline has served up some tasty NFL props for the various events set to take place this week in Indianapolis and we’re here to highlight a few of the choice morsels on offer for your NFL picks.
The 40-yard dash
Betting on the 40-yard dash is fast becoming one of the most attractive bets during the NFL Combine. It’s popularity has grown over the years, thanks largely to some impressive feats – namely John Ross’ 4.22 seconds in the sprint of a few years ago. The question whether someone might break the record yet again is rather seductive. Nothing is more thrilling than a new record being set, right? Heck, watch any competitive sport (ehem, the Olympics, say) where records are crucial and doesn’t the crowd go wild, the TV announcer go completely berserk when a record is smashed.
Note of interest: Usain Bolt at 32-years of age casually tied the 4.22 record just recently at the SuperBowl experience event – mind, you, wearing sweats and sneakers, no less, suggesting he might have broken it altogether had he been in proper gear. Well, he is only the fastest human on the planet as evinced by his eight gold Olympic medals.
The reality is that the record held for nine years when RB Chris Johnson set a 4.24 record in 2008 until WR John Ross broke it in 2017 with his 4.22 sprint. It’s also worth noting that in six Combines from 2006 to 2018 the fastest time didn’t crack 4.30. In 2010, 2011 and 2015 the fastest time was 4.28 while in 2013 the fastest time was 4.27. The closest to Johnson’s 4.24 was recorded in 2014 by a 4.26 time.
This neatly brings us to the overarching market for the fastest 40-yard dash by any player which is tipped at 4.29 seconds at BetOnline. Oddsmakers didn’t pull that number out of their hats randomly. It’s exactly as it should be when tabulating the average over the last 12 years, going back to 2006. What’s more significant for NFL bettor though is how the market stacks up and whether it’s a worthwhile bet.
Any player OVER/UNDER bets for fastest 40-yard dash at 4.29 seconds is tipped at -120 both ways. Essentially it’s a tossup bet which can make it a bit of a moot point. That said, consider that seven times during 2006-2018 the fastest time recorded was 4.28 or less perhaps a small tickle on the UNDER 4.29 is worthwhile for your NFL picks.
This year’s list of top candidates include Bryce Love and Kyler Murray, with the former hedging on OVER/UNDER bets for 4.38 seconds while the latter is tipped at OVER/UNDER bets for 4.37 seconds. Love is tipped equally to go OVER/UNDER at -120 either way but Murray’s NFL odds are quite off kilter. He is interestingly tipped at -300 for the OVER and +200 for the UNDER.
Other contenders to note in this field include Dwayne Haskins with 4.71 seconds as his benchmark, Hunter Renfrew with 4.6 seconds, Josh Jacobs with 4.5 seconds and Trace McSorley with 4.65 seconds.
Public Favourite Rich Eisen
The longshot of this group is Rich Eisen, who is tipped to a benchmark of 6.02 seconds but with the UNDER favoured at -140. Oh wait! Rich Eisen isn’t a budding college football talent but a journalist and sports personality covering the event forever now. Some might say he’s the best entertainment to be had during this pre-draft NFL betting extravaganza.
Since 2005, Eisen has participated in the proceedings with an average time of 6.18 in 14 attempts. (Mind you in full suit and tie, bit of a disadvantage for a 40-yard dash don’t you think?.) Only three times has Eisen cracked the 6.00 mark, including 2018’s time of 5.97.
In fact, his last three recorded times are as follows: 5.94, 6.02 and 5.97. Given this trend it’s understandable why the oddsmakers have Eisen favoured to go UNDER 6.02 seconds. Nevertheless, he’s only cracked the 6.00 three times in 14 attempts and he’s no spring chicken at 49 years of age, even if he is training for the event. Surely, the OVER is the smarter NFL pick here with the attractive +100 NFL odds attached to it at BetOnline.
Other 40-yard dash options:
Other angles to consider in this market for your NFL picks is predicting what position player will clock the fastest time. It’s interesting to note defensive back leads at +100 to clinch the fastest 40-yard dash, while the Wide Receiver position nips at +125 and the Running Back position rounds out the trio at +175. Why is this interesting you might ask? Well, in another category for your NFL picks where it is split between either a choice of an offensive or defensive player to clock the fastest time, the former has the edge at -160 NFL odds while the latter is a tasty +120 NFL odds. Slightly contradictory at face value, but then again that’s down to perhaps the fact that the balance in numbers favours the offense.
Vertical Jump and Bench Press
Finally, BetOnline offers prop bets on the Vertical Jump and Bench Pressing categories. The Vertical Jump is tipped at 43.5 inches with the OVER and UNDER priced at -120 on the ML. The Bench Press mark is set to 40, with the OVER and UNDER also priced at -120 for your NFL picks. Arguably, both these bets are essentially a coin toss the way they are priced, giving NFL bettors a 50-50 chance for their NFL picks.