The NFL Scouting Combine starts this week, and that means it’s time for prop bets. BetOnline.ag sent out the first round last week, and I’m here to win the ROTB community some beer money.
To give us our best shots at success, I’ve waded through the last 20 years of combine results courtesy of Pro Football Reference (hyperlink: https://www.pro-football-reference.com/play-index/nfl-combine-results.cgi) to suss out the best bets, and the numbers to avoid.
Will anyone break John Ross’ 40 record (4.22 sec)?
Yes +500 (5/1)
No -1000 (1/10)
This is never a good bet. Before Ross, Chris Johnson’s official record of 4.24 seconds stood for eight years. Since Ross ran a 4.22, only two combine participants have run sub-4.3 times. The safe money is with Ross keeping the title.
Fastest 40 time
Over/Under 4.29 seconds
Since 2000, 15 players have run times of 4.29 or better, including Ole Miss DB Zeldrick Woods last year. The “under” is not a great bet here, but at least two players - Alabama WR Henry Ruggs and Western Michigan RB LeVante Bellamy - have reportedly beaten the 4.29 mark. If one or both are healthy enough to run, I think they’ll land somewhere between Ross’s mark and the 4.29. TCU WR Jalen Reagor is another guy who has a good shot. I like the “under” here.
Fastest 60-yard shuttle
Over/Under 10.81 seconds
The 10.81 mark has been bested in five of the last nine years, with WR Shelton Gibson posting the best time at 10.71. However, this event annually has the fewest participants, and I don’t feel comfortable enough with my sample size, so this bet is a hard pass.
Fastest 20-yard shuttle
Over/Under 3.88 seconds
Only 10 players have run this drill in 3.99 seconds or better since 2000, and just two - Kevin King and Justin Simmons - have run sub-3.9 times. The 3.85 from Simmons in 2016 would’ve been the only time to win this bet, so I feel safe taking the “over.”
Fastest 3 Cone Drill
Over/Under 6.47 seconds
We have seen 13 sub-6.6 second 3-cone times since 2016, but only CBs David Long (6.45 last year) and Jordan Thomas (6.28 in 2018) came in under 6.47. Players are obviously getting better and better at this drill, but I’m still confident in taking the “over” at this number.
Most bench press reps
Over/Under 38.5 reps
This number has been topped three times in the past two years, and 21 times since 2000. But we saw a three-year stretch between the 2014 and 2018 combines without anyone beating the mark. When I survey this year’s invite list, nobody jumps out to me as a challenger. I will grudgingly take the “under,” but consider sitting this one out.
Longest Broad Jump
Combine participants have hit or topped the 11’5” (137”) broad jump just 10 times since 2000. But since 2015 we’ve seen six jumps beat the mark. Last year alone, WR Miles Boykin jumped 11’8”, and DB Juan Thornhill and WR Emanuel Hall both hit 11’9” on their best attempts. 2020 invitees Isaiah Simmons, Kyle Dugger and Binjimen Victor have all jumped 11’ or better in the past. I’ll bet on one of those three or one of the other athletic freaks in this class to hit on the “over.”
Rich Eisen’s 40 Time
Over/Under 6.01 seconds
Since 2013, Eisen has alternated between 6.0-plus 40s and sub-6.0 times, coming in last year in 6 seconds flat. The pattern says to take the under this time, but Eisen turned 50 years old last summer, and eventually Father Time takes his toll. I’m fading Rich and his recent yo-yo cycle, and taking the “over” this year.