Get Real Paid with the Best 2013 NFL Draft Proposition Wagers

by Matt Borcas on March 6, 2013

Matt Borcas is a Mentor, Ohio native who recently emerged from a field of 4,000 competitors to land a job writing about the NFL for ESPN’s Grantland. Matt’s weekly Browns-centric column on the NFL Draft will run here all the way up to draft weekend and through its immediate aftermath. Enjoy!


My first four Frowns columns were mostly thinly-veiled excuses to laugh at my own jokes or glean life lessons from Cleveland legends, but today’s offering, is purely altruistic. Today, in a few scant paragraphs, I will put your kids through college, cover the mortgage for that Colinwood property you’ve been ogling, and back a Brinks truck up the driveway for good measure. In other words, we’ll be examining’s NFL Draft prop bets, where there’s serious cash to be made.

Renowned biscuitologist Jimmy the Greek is credited with popularizing the Latin phrase “Carpe diem,” which will be our official motto with these props. We must pounce now, before bookmakers arise from their hibernation and counterstrike. Of course, I am obliged to tell you that getting rich involves some risk of death, but in this case said risk is very low.


(Note: One unit is one percent of your Draft-prop bankroll.)

Matt Barkley draft position UNDER 32.5 (-200; 50 units)

If you believe in things like history, journalism, or data, betting (half) the house on Barkley to be picked in the first round is your surest path to lifelong prosperity.

HISTORY: We have to go all the way back to Y2K to find a draft that didn’t feature at least two quarterbacks taken in the Top 32, and Barkley is universally regarded as the first or second best QB available. What’s more, since the Homo sapiens left Africa, there have been no recorded instances of 32 NFL GMs consecutively passing on a highly-touted USC QB. And let’s not pretend that the first round is solely reserved for the elite-est tier of elite QBs, lest we forget recent former first-rounders Tim Tebow, J.P. Losman, Rex Grossman, Patrick Ramsey, and of course, Brandon Weeden.


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Additionally, in his clash with Daniel Jeremiah over Barkley’s potential first round status, analyst Bucky Brooks evokes Mark Twain and Joe Namath: “The reports of Matt Barkley’s draft-day demise have been greatly exaggerated…There is no way Barkley falls out of the first round. I guarantee it.” It’s an argument that’s based on there being “several teams in desperate need of a franchise quarterback and few options available on the open market,” while arguments against Barkley’s potential first round status generally hinge on criticisms of his game – i.e., whether or not he deserves to go in the first round, of course, immaterial to whether or not he will.

DATA: Walter Football has compiled every mock draft known and unknown to man into a convenient database, so send the man a fruit basket or something. I spent the last hour clicking on these links indiscriminately and found that most mocks slot Barkley in the first round – pencil me in for a 2014 Sloan panel already!

Geno Smith draft position UNDER 10.5 (-180; 25 units)

This is mostly a play on my belief that the Raiders will take Geno at No. 3, which seems self-evident once one considers that their alternative is Terrelle Pryor (o worse, Carson Palmer). If they shock the world and take a defensive tackle, Geno will still likely go in the Top 10, to the Browns, Cardinals, Bills, or a mystery team trading up. Also, don’t discount the possibility of Geno-to-the-Jaguars at No. 2. Michael Silver reports of former first-round QB Blaine Gabbert acquiring an unflattering nickname in Jacksonville – “Blame” – as well as “internal knocks on Gabbert’s intangibles and…concerns that he gets ‘scared’ under pressure.” New Jags GM David Caldwell knows firsthand the benefits of starting fresh QB-wise – when he was Thomas Dimitroff’s right-hand-man in Atlanta, their first draft pick was Matt Ryan.

Manti Te’o to be drafted between picks 11-20 in the first round (+400; 15 units)

In last week’s Sports Illustrated (sorry, no link available), Peter King wrote that “the Ravens would love to take [Te’o], but he’ll be off the board before the 32nd pick. Possible landing spots: the Buccaneers at No. 13 or the Giants at No. 19.” Say what you will about PK, but he’s as plugged-in to the NFL as I am to Cleveland sports radio legends. At +400, this is a steal.

Bjoern Werner to be drafted BEFORE Jarvis Jones (-200; 10 units)

Anyone who has bookmarked Cleveland Frowns for hot weekly takes on the NFL Draft is familiar with Jarvis Jones’s frightening case of spinal stenosis, and as much as we admire him for overcoming the diagnosis so far, it’s worrisome enough to have prompted “multiple teams to shy away from considering him, especially in round one.” Meanwhile, a glance at Walter Football’s aforementioned database suggests that literally every team in the Top 10 is considering Werner.

STAYAWAYS: “What round will Tyrann Mathieu be picked in?”; Cordarrelle Patterson draft position over/under 14.5

The sharpest bettors know when to avoid a prop, as enticing as it may be. Depending on which report you read, Mathieu will go in the second, third, or fourth round, and the odds (+200, +150, +220, respectively) aren’t favorable enough to risk any units there. Similarly, I could see Patterson going to the Jets at No. 10, or falling out of first round altogether.


Prospect of the Week

Between Ziggy Ansah, Werner, and our latest prospect of the week, SMU’s Margus Hunt, the 2013 draft is brimming with exotic defensive ends. Hunt hails from Estonia, stands at 6-foot-8, 275 lbs., “is the former world junior record holder in discus throw,” and possesses an entire Wikipedia section dedicated to his athleticism. He took up football in 2009 when SMU dropped track and field, and has since developed a freakish knack for blocking kicks. Hunt’s awe-inspiring Combine performance solidified his status as a probable late first-rounder/early second-rounder, so chances are that he won’t end up a Brown – sorry, Kanicki — but his highlight video remains a transfixing/terrifying watch.


NEXT WEEK: We present the comprehensive Kevin Costner analysis Browns fans have been waiting for.

  • Chris Mc

    “…lest we forget recent former first-rounders Tim Tebow, J.P. Losman, Rex Grossman, Patrick Ramsey, and of course, Brandon Weeden.”

    That sound you hear is Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder pounding on your front door.

    • Cleveland Frowns

      Gabbert gets his due mention here, but I don’t think it’s fair to put Ponder in this class, at least not yet.

      • Chris Mc

        Yeah I saw that after I put this up. Anyhow, according to the Vikings fans that I know, if Peterson didn’t have the year that he did the Vikings are in the top 5 in this draft.

        “Ponder is f$%^ing GARBAGE” is one direct quote that I’ll leave here.

        • Cleveland Frowns

          Wait, football fans being hyperbolic about their team’s QB? Seriously, Ponder might not be great but he’s probably already proven that he’s not as bad as that bunch.

          • Chris Mc

            His numbers are in Colt McCoy range, so I guess he’ll be fine.

        • BIKI024

          Ponder is nowhere near as bad as the QB’s listed above. yes AP certainly helped the team and also dictated the playcalling to be run-heavy as it should’ve been, but the guy proved he could make plays for them when they needed him to. hopefully for Vikings fans, with more time/experience as well as talent at the receiver positions that he will continue to move up from having the 16th highest QBR last season. plus the dude has some wheels for a white boy.

      • trashycamaro

        It’s tough – seen that receiving crew over in Minnesota? Add in that Harvin – who is not even a traditional WR – missed 7 games and it is difficult to evaluate him properly.

        This is not to say he is a great QB. But he performed at approximately league average level with AP and no WRs/TEs (although admittedly he was an abomination without AP – Curtis Painter style).

    • Matt Borcas

      Ponder was included in the first draft, but it didn’t hold water with the Executive Committee

  • ChuckKoz

    this is great

  • nj0

    Local political comment from a Cleveland ex-pat: how is Zack Reed still on City Council?

    • Cleveland Frowns

      I can’t claim to have a complete picture but it might have something to do with the fact that he represents his constituency well, and that folks in his ward might, for good reasons, tend to be less bothered by things like DUI arrests than folks in other wards would be.

      • nj0

        True. I wasn’t trying to sound all puritanical about his behavior, but just pointing out that it is kind of an anomaly for a public figure to get into this sort of trouble regularly and keep his or her job. As somebody who doesn’t pay close attention to Cleveland politics, it seems like Zack has always been in the news for DUIs and other shennanigans.

        I remember him being considered a very promising political figure around 2001 or so. More power to him and his voters if he’s doing a good job downtown, though I have to imagine this sort of thing has limited his political ceiling.

        edit: So my point is that I am genuinely curious as to how he has been able to keep getting elected – loyal constituency, political power in the local party, backed by big donors, etc.?

        • DANinNY

          This is nothing compared to Jesse Jackson Jr. If my memory serves me , he didn’t even run in the last Congressional election and still won. The guy was in the hospital being treated for depression for months and was off the grid politically. Now charges of campaign fund fraud are flying to the tune of three quarters of a million dollars. Good for him.

      • nj0

        And I may be wrong, but I believe in Ohio you get an OVI not a DUI.

  • Dave Kolonich

    Love This:

    “ analyst Bucky Brooks evokes Mark Twain and Joe Namath: “The reports of Matt Barkley’s draft-day demise have been greatly exaggerated…There is no way Barkley falls out of the first round. I guarantee it.”

    • SteamingPileOfCraphonsoThorpe

      Then Joe Namath evoked Joe Namath and drunkenly stated to Brooks, “I want to kiss you.” It just got awkward from there.

  • jimkanicki

    ah yes, the margus hunt conundrum. i do indeed have ‘margus hunt at six’ post written but that i couldnt pull the trigger on. as you point out, the ‘highlight video remains a transfixing/terrifying watch’ but mainly in terms of its inconsistency.

    still, i did explore the track and field datum. this was interesting:

    Is this track thing a useful predictor?
    Other track/field guys:
    – Billy Winn, state runner-up (NV) in discus; state finals in shot-put;
    – Cameron Jordan (eight sacks last year for Saints), state champ (AZ) in discus;
    – Sam Acho (starting ROLB for Horton’s Cardinals), state champ (TX) in discus and shot put;
    – Jabaal Sheard, 4th in state (FL) in shot put, also threw discus;
    – JJ Watt, state champ (WI) shot-put.

    I wouldn’t be too fast use this as an indicator of football hero. But I *would* say that Margus Hunt is an athlete — a world-class athlete — first. That’s goodness. You won’t worry about him showing up to camp out of shape. That’s goodness.

    and with that, i’ll now saunter off to to exercise some free will, bad choices, and will experience some resultant income mobilty.

    • MichaelTheRed

      after watching tape of Margus I see alot of similiarities between him and Ansah. Both get handled “alarmingly” easily off the line. If they can get a running start and crash the lineman, then they have a chance. Neither locks then discards a lineman very well at all so they have to come with momentum, which means they both seem to get trapped “alot”. Werner gives up at least 15lbs to both of them but for some reason cannot be moved around by monstrous 300+ lineman…I don’t get it. The dude engages with huge lineman, looks like he’s gettin swallowed up….then utterly sheds them. I saw a play that I wish I had another angle on because I’ve never seen anything like it….Werner looked like he got utterly “trucked” by a guard/tackle combo, naturally the RB followed behind this block…all of a sudden Werner’s head pops up to the side. He locked up with both, then shed to his left so he got outside the tackle, then was able to pinch back down on the run. He didn’t make the tackle solo but he was in on it, he forced the run back to the inside. It’s just field’s Teutonic Hun barbarism, all I can think of. I know Hunt benched 225 38 times to Werners 25 or 26…but I have a sneaking suspicion their max’s are alot closer. I’ve been a weightlifter for 20 years, I know how guys can train up a certain lift. I have no doubt that with the kind of money on the line with your draft number, these guys become 225 rep specialists. They made alot about Hunt being handicapped by his long arms but if you bring your elbows in west side barbell style, and like european plifters, you can make up for having longer arms. I suspect that’s what Margus did. Still a freak athlete but his tape just doesn’t look strong except for the highlights that are always the aftermath of him getting those long legs running. If he can do that every play he’ll be a force in the NFL, but that’s not how trench warfare works. Werners’ college tape is still the best of any of these guys “hands down”. If I was Browns GM I’d take him and use him exactly how ShtsPgh uses Harrison…rush the passer, stop the run, sit in the zone and kill anything that runs infront of you.

      • BIKI024

        he might be there when the Browns draft in the 3rd round

        • Matt Borcas

          Would they take him though if they already drafted a DE in the 1st? Guess it depends on the big board. I’d prefer a S in the 3rd.

          • BIKI024

            or if they sign Avril or Kruger, they may go CB/S with 1st and 3rd.. we should have a better idea of their targets this time next week, CAN’T WAIT!

          • MichaelTheRed

            Ok are they looking to sign Avril “OR” Kruger or looking at both? MKC made it sound like they were going to target both….if that’s the case wtf? If it’s either one I guess I would have to say Kruger is the more polished 3-4 guy since he’s been playing in it. But I guess if they do get one of those two guys, we might as well take a run at Mr. Millner in the draft.

            Oh and Werner will not be there in the 3rd round, I didn’t think Margus would be either but the latest post combine draft boards I didn’t see his name in the first 3 rounds….that’s gotta be a mistake. I mean if Hunt is there at the end of the 1st SF would be retarded not to take him for pennies and try to make him into another Justin Smith. Cause they’re dirty little secret is that Aldon Smith becomes all to average if Justin Smith is not in the game. They need a dominating DE on Aldons side to keep his edge game.

          • MichaelTheRed

            so just read another article that also implies that we’ll be looking to get both Avril and kruger if possible. Ok so someone explain that one to me. How would Kruger and Avril be on the field at the same time?

          • alexb

            I don’t know what they’d be thinking cause Kruger is terrible against the run, something the Browns need work on not regression. Avril, well we saw how well Freeney did going to a 3-4 so I don’t even remotely understand that interest. If we’re gonna fill that need through free agency I’d rather have Connor Barwin than either Avril or Kruger. But I agree with some of your past sentiments, if we’re looking at big rush OLB’ers but who can also stuff the run there’s a beast in the draft who might already be better than Kruger.

          • BIKI024

            too bad Barwin has already ruled out the Browns, surprised this hasn’t gotten more than around here:

          • alexb

            well fuck him then. I’m onboard with Werner at that rush OLB spot, watched the tape that mike suggested and he did alot of standup at FS. He stuffs the run from, even from the standup, like nothing i’ve ever seen. He had a decent combine but I think he came in way too smooth. He looked all water whereas Hunt and Ansah looked beast. I think he tried to come in too heavy. He played the season in the 250’s but went to the combine in the high 260’s. I dunno, it would seem that would have hurt him in some of those events. He’s obviously tank strong in the 250 range based on the tape. I mean dick strong.

      • SteamingPileOfCraphonsoThorpe

        What if he brought his elbows in “Gundam Style”? Would that give him an advantage?

        • MichaelTheRed


  • nj0

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