Opinions vary as to which teams improved their fortunes and which ones did poorly at the NFL draft, April 22-24, but you need only follow NFL betting future book odds to see what operators of sportsbooks think of the recent college talent distribution.
According to revamped future book prices to win Super Bowl XLV, the Raiders, Seahawks, Browns, Lions and Ravens were among the teams that benefited from the lottery process while the Jaguars, Broncos, Bears and Bills didn't impress very many sports betting oddsmakers.
Oakland probably made the most significant move, acquiring quarterback Jason Campbell from Washington for a fourth round draft choice in 2011. Campbell, who became expendable in DC when the Redskins acquired Donovan McNabb from the Eagles (try to keep up), is a significant improvement over former No. 1 draft choice JaMarcus Russell, who looks like a colossal bust. Accordingly, the Raiders, who opened at 125/1 to win Super Bowl XLV, were lowered to 100/1 after the draft.
Seattle also improved its roster to the point where many sportsbooks lowered future book odds on the Seahawks from 80/1 to 40/1. The ‘Hawks not only landed two of the best players in the draft in the first round—offensive tackle Russell Okung and safety Earl Thomas—but added playmaking WR Golden Tate in Round 2 and maneuvered to upgrade their running game by acquiring veteran backs LenDale White and Leo Washington.
With Mike Holmgren at the controls, Cleveland took a step forward, getting help for its beleaguered secondary while obtaining its quarterback of the future, Colt McCoy, in the third round. The Browns improved their Super Bowl outlook from 80/1 to 60/1 with sportsbooks.
No one really thinks Detroit is headed to the post-season, let alone the Super Bowl but the Lions helped themselves by drafting dynamic defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and flashy running back Jahvid Best, moves that lowered their NFL Championship prospects from 100/1 to 80/1.
Baltimore also received high marks from oddsmakers and even was heralded by ESPN draft gurus Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay. The Ravens made their biggest move in the off-season, sending two mid-round picks to Arizona for Anquan Boldin, one of the best receivers in the league. Then, on draft day, General Manager Ozzie Newsome added some youth to an aging but still effective the defense, grabbing speedy outside linebacker Sergio Kindle and massive nose tackle Terrance Cody. The moves convinced sportsbooks to lower the Ravens from 25/1 to 15/1 to win Super Bowl XLV.
On the other cleat, a handful of teams failed to impress and saw their Super Bowl chances downgraded by oddsmakers. Jacksonville is at the head of this dubious list. The Jaguars seemed to reach in the first round, selecting defensive end Tyson Alualu with the eighth pick in the draft, bypassing more highly regarded defensive linemen such as Brandon Graham, Derrick Morgan, Dan Williams and Jason Pierre-Paul. Jacksonville didn't have a second round pick so if Alualu doesn't exceed expectations and the Jags falter, the team's drop from 45/1 to 60/1 will seem justified.
Sports betting oddsmakers also weren't overly impressed with what Denver did in the draft. Broncos second-year Head Coach Josh McDaniels continued to choose temperament over talent, selecting Florida quarterback Tim Tebow and wideout Demaryius Thomas with Denver's first two draft choices, effectively replacing QB Jay Cutler, who was jettisoned in 2009, and WR Brandon Marshall, who was peddled to Miami this year. Denver went from 50/1 to 60/1 on most NFL Super Bowl future book lists.
Chicago didn't get to choose a player until the third round and if you're standing still in this league, you're moving backwards. At least that's the way many sportsbooks viewed the situation, boosting the future book price on the Bears from 25/1 to 30/1.
Buffalo grabbed the best running back in the draft, C.J. Spiller, early in the first round but didn't invest in a quarterback for the future and failed to address the team's most glaring need—offensive tackle—until Round 5. You can't run without holes and you can't throw without holes. Oddsmakers agreed, dropping the Bills from 125/1 to 150/1.
The real winners and losers in the 2010 NFL Draft won't be known for several seasons but sportsbooks already have rendered their opinions, challenging sports betting enthusiasts by raising and lowering Super Bowl future book odds based on their own assessments.