Kwesi Adofo Mensah
As we approach the opening day of the draft, mock drafts are being finalized. The analysts have been reviewing prospects and talking to insiders to predict the draft. Meanwhile, the betting markets are showing us who the Vikings will select.
The betting markets are dead set on the Vikings selecting a cornerback. Currently, the Vikings selecting a cornerback is at +115. The next betting line is a defensive lineman at +275.
This is a pretty good indication from the betting markets. Usually, the market has pretty good information to base its lines. So, we can safely say it is likely to happen.
However, it is difficult to parse who that cornerback will be. The reason is that Stingley Jr. and Sauce Gardner are favorites to be drafted top-10. Gardner has a betting line set at -800, and Stingley Jr. has a line set at -140.
Of course, betting markets are not perfect. They are using probability to set the line. However, the markets would not set these lines if they were not confident. The markets do not like to lose money, so when they set lines, you better believe they know something that we do not.
What does this tell us?
The odds of Derek Stingley Jr. being available at 12th overall are not looking great. Now, don’t get me wrong, -140 is not a sure thing. Although, it certainly suggests that cornerback-needy teams like the Jets, Texans, or Seahawks could snatch up both Gardner and Stingley Jr. before the Vikings are on the clock.
Where Does This Leave the Vikings?
The betting markets indicate that the Vikings are in an awkward position. With the 12th overall pick, they might be too far out to get one of the two best cornerbacks in the draft. However, where there is chaos, there is opportunity.
Make no mistake. The draft is going to be full of chaos. For starters, word has leaked that the Jaguars want to trade down. This might not seem significant for the Vikings, but it could change who is drafted and when.
For example, the Texans are predicted to draft an offensive tackle at 3rd overall. But maybe the Texans trade up to draft Travon Walker. Then they use their 13th overall pick to draft an offensive tackle like Charles Cross.
Something like this would push the top offensive tackles, Neal and Ekwonu, down the board even further. Not to mention Thibodeaux, Hutchinson, Gardner, Stingley, and Hamilton all fall further down the board.
Or perhaps the Jets trade up to ensure that the Texans do not snatch Sauce Gardner before they are on the clock at 4th overall. Once again, this pushes other players down the board. Particularly the edge rushers. This could lead to other teams trading up to get one of them.
All of this could lead the Vikings down a path to picking the best player available. That player might not be a cornerback. Although, the Vikings could utilize this to trade down. Many mock drafts have them trading down with the Saints or Steelers, who are looking to draft a quarterback.
Trading down seems like a no-brainer. This is probably what the betting markets are really saying.
With Stingley and Gardner potentially off the board, the only way the Vikings pick a cornerback is with a trade down. It would be a dream come true to draft McDuffie or Booth Jr. after a trade down. And the betting markets appear to be counting on it.