- Georgia defensive end Travon Walker was picked first overall in the 2022 NFL Draft.
- Walker was the -450 betting favorite on Draft Day but wasn’t among the 30 names when the betting lines for the no. 1 pick of the 2022 NFL Draft opened last year.
- Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson and LSU’s Derek Stingley Jr. were picked 2nd and third overall, also as the betting favorites in their respective draft positions.
The betting gods were spot on. The Jacksonville Jaguars selected Georgia defensive end, Travon Walker, with the top overall pick of the 2022 NFL Draft on Thursday.
Walker recorded 19 sacks and assisted on 18 more during the Bulldogs’ championship-winning season. He played his best football during the 2021 College Football Playoff, recording 10 of his 29 total pressures during Georgia’s two playoff games, including 7 during the championship game against Alabama. He also recorded a sack in each playoff game and finished with 6 in 2021 after only having a combined 3.5 sacks during his first two seasons.
Walker was the Consensus Betting Favorite
Georgia’s Travon Walker is now the consensus favorite to be the No. 1 overall pick at sportsbooks.
— Vik Chokshi (@docksquad33) April 25, 2022
While Walker was the consensus odds on favorite at the top NFL sportsbooks on Draft Day, that wasn’t the case last year when the Georgia Bulldog wasn’t among the 30 names on the odd boards when the betting lines for the top pick of the 2022 NFL Draft opened last year.
And when his name finally appeared on the Las Vegas list, Walker hit the opening betting boards at +3000 odds. One week ago, he was listed at +140, and second behind Hutchinson, but emerged as the new odds-on-favorite at -200 last Monday after most Mock Drafts put him at no. 1. Since then, Walker’s betting odds have skyrocketed.
The 6-5, 275-pound junior saw his price shorten to -225 on Tuesday, -300 on Wednesday, and a massive -450 on Thursday morning. Right before the 2022 NFL Draft proper began, Walker’s odds went as high as -500 before closing at -450 at most of the top NFL betting sites.
Hutchinson Figured He Was Going No. 2
Aidan Hutchinson admits he figured he was going No. 2 on Monday when the odds changed to Travon Walker being the favorite. pic.twitter.com/uNj5gklO3P
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) April 29, 2022
Meanwhile, Hutchinson said he figured he was going no. 2 when Walker overtook him as the betting favorite last Monday. The Vegas favorite was constantly on the move from Spencer Rattler to Sam Howell, then Kayvon Thibodeaux, and Hutchinson who held the title from December 2021 to February 2022. Evan Neal then overtook Hutchinson, while Ikem Okwonu replaced Neal. At the start of March, Neal was back as the favorite for a couple of days before Hutchinson reclaimed the top spot. However, last Sunday, Walker took the lead for good.
In the days leading up to Thursday, Hutchinson had become the betting favorite to be picked second overall. According to BetMG, the Michigan Wolverines’ defensive end opened at +220 to be the no. 2 pick and closed as -220. 33% of the total betting tickets written and 63% of the total dollars wagered for that particular betting market were on Hutchinson. He was also the biggest liability at the said sportsbook.
Derek Stingley Jr. was also the odds on favorite to be the third player picked in the 2022 NFL Draft before he was picked by the Houston Texans at that spot/. Stingley had 22% of the total betting slips issued and 61% of the total betting handle to be the no. 3 pick in the draft. Like Hutchinson and Walker, he was also the biggest liability in that market at BetMGM.