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From Noah Syndergaard to Bethenny Frankel, grading the CNBC Stock Draft players and their picks

Key Points
  • Noah Syndergaard, Bethenny Frankel and Bobby Flay were among the ten contestants who faced off at the CNBC Stock Draft on April 25.
  • The winner of the draft is the contestant with the highest average price appreciation of their three picks on January 31, 2020 - the last trading day before the Super Bowl.
  • Seven traders, strategists and investors studied all ten portfolios and shared their picks for which team will win (and lose).
Noah Syndergaard picks Tesla
Scott Mlyn | CNBC

The 2019 CNBC Stock Draft is well underway. Former NFL kicker and defending stock draft champion Nick Lowery is betting that Nvidia, AMD, and Microsoft will deliver him a second trophy and fend off the likes of star Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard, "Shark Tank" investor Kevin O'Leary and Skinnygirl mogul Bethenny Frankel.

On April 25th, the ten teams chose from a list of 61 investments, including stocks and other assets such as oil and bitcoin. Three rounds, one pick per team per round. The final list of selections can be found here.

The contest began with the closing price on the 25th and will end with the closing price on the final trading day before the Super Bowl (January 31, 2020). The winner is the contestant with the highest average price appreciation of his or her three selections.

Which team is best positioned to win? We asked the pros.

Seven strategists, traders, and chief investment officers sent us their thoughts on who is most and least likely to take home the trophy.

We should note that everyone we spoke to was clear that they wouldn't recommend their clients or anyone use the Stock Draft parameters as an actual investment strategy or buy these stocks based on which ones they think will perform best in this specific contest.

Nancy Tengler – Chief Investment Strategist, Tengler Wealth Management

Best Portfolio:

Nick the Kick's Pix (Nick Lowery)

  • Nvidia
  • Advanced Micro Devices
  • Microsoft

Worst Portfolio:

Mr. Wonderful (Kevin O'Leary)

  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Altria
  • Procter & Gamble

Nancy says:

There were some awesome portfolios and it was very hard to pick a winner. But I selected Nick Lowery as the likely winner based on our thesis that global growth is accelerating and that technology spend will continue to dominate capex spending and keep growing faster than GDP. Nvidia is my least favorite of his picks, but I'm expecting the portfolio as a whole to generate outstanding returns.

My choice for worst-performing portfolio is Kevin O'Leary. It's not the underlying quality of the stocks, but rather the fact that the portfolio is defensive in an environment where we expect cyclicals to outperform. Now is not the time to be defensive. We're seeing stronger-than-expected GDP, and a well-heeled consumer may not reward his consumer staple picks.

Steve Grasso – Director of Institutional Sales, Stuart Frankel

Best Portfolio:

Seymour Alpha (Tim Seymour)

  • General Electric
  • Electronic Arts
  • Macy's

Worst Portfolio:

Oz Knows (Oz Pearlman)

  • Disney
  • Bitcoin
  • Goldman Sachs

Steve says:

The way to win the Stock Draft is to find long shots that are currently out of favor, simply because those are the names with the most upside if they ever get traction – that's why Tim Seymour has a great chance at winning. GE has been so out of favor it wouldn't be hard to string together a couple of days with positive headlines and see the stock take off like a rocket. (Disclosure: I personally own GE for the same reasons). Electronic Arts' Apex Legends has the best shot at giving Fortnite a real run for its money. And Macy's has been the poster child of the death of brick and mortar. Just on their real estate holdings alone, Macy's is worth much more than its current price.

In keeping with the same theme, the stocks that are not out of favor are the least likely to dominate this kind of contest. That's why I don't like Oz Pearlman's portfolio. Disney has already had an incredible run – it will be hard for the stock to move higher from here. Goldman Sachs could move higher, but seems to have lost momentum and I'm not sure financials are the best play in a lower-rate environment. Bitcoin is the wildcard and could prove me wrong here, but the way I see it – he's putting all hopes for a win on this one name.

Peter Andersen – Chief Investment Officer, Andersen Capital Management

Best Portfolio:

Nick the Kick's Pix (Nick Lowery)

  • Nvidia
  • Advanced Micro Devices
  • Microsoft

Worst Portfolio:

Blue Chip Leaders (Maria Ho)

  • Square
  • UnitedHealth
  • Apple

Peter says:

Nick Lowery takes the top spot for me. His draft picks have two backups (Microsoft, AMD) and a real starter (Nvidia). But Nvidia is so jacked it makes the other two look tiny in comparison. Nick's best scenario is that the Nvidia breakout will overshadow the two busts.

I picked Maria Ho to take last here. It looks like she didn't draft any running backs and picked her defense too early. There are no draft studs on this team that can really break out. And isn't Apple on IR (injured reserve)?

Shannon Saccocia – Chief Investment Officer, Boston Private Wealth Management

Best Portfolio:

The Green Machine (Jarvis Green)

  • Constellation Brands
  • Netflix
  • Lululemon

Worst Portfolio:

Thor's Hammer (Noah Syndergaard)

  • Tesla
  • Amazon
  • Nike

Shannon says:

I'm going with Jarvis Green's picks here. This may have been a portfolio built on the "buy what you know" philosophy, and I think we can count on the consumer to continue to deliver in the back half of the year. I like the Constellation Brands play, as you get cannabis along with an established business in order to offset volatility associated with federal legalization questions. With Lululemon, you've got an undersaturated footprint, high quality product and a move into men's that could be a legitimate tailwind in the next 3-4 quarters. Netflix is challenging, as the showdown with Disney is now underway – but international growth and overall desire for different sources of content should allow for appreciation.

As for last – I'm going with Noah Syndergaard. Any portfolio with 33% in Tesla is going to lose, in my opinion. Corporate management and capital allocation is important, as is transparency and staying in the good graces of the SEC. Amazon and Nike are good picks, but Nike is definitely leveraged to consumer growth in China, which could prove choppy over the next several years.

Paul Hickey – Co-founder, Bespoke Investment Group

Best Portfolio:

Seymour Alpha (Tim Seymour)

  • General Electric
  • Electronic Arts
  • Macy's

Worst Portfolio:

Mr. Wonderful (Kevin O'Leary)

  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Altria
  • Procter & Gamble

Paul says:

The portfolios that have the best chance of winning are the ones that have some of the most beaten-down stocks that could really rebound. That's why I like Tim Seymour's picks. If sentiment towards any of these stocks starts to improve, they could end up carrying the portfolio. Then again, if sentiment doesn't turn – things could get ugly.

To the downside, Kevin O'Leary's portfolio looks nice and safe. Unless the market does nothing or goes down over the next year, it's hard to see all of these stocks having big gains – especially since dividends don't count.

David Katz – President & Chief Investment Officer, Matrix Asset Advisors

Best Portfolio:

Beardstown Ladies

  • Alibaba
  • Biogen
  • Visa

Worst Portfolio:

The Green Machine (Jarvis Green)

  • Constellation Brands
  • Netflix
  • Lululemon

David says:

The Beardstown Ladies have exposure to tech, healthcare and financials in companies we think should fare well in the upcoming year.

My least favorite portfolio is Jarvis Green's. All of the names have had a great run already in 2018 and we think one or two could have subpar returns in the upcoming year.

Jon Najarian – Co-founder, Investitute

Best Portfolio:

Thor's Hammer (Noah Syndergaard)

  • Tesla
  • Amazon
  • Nike

Worst Portfolio:

Bobby's Bulls (Bobby Flay)

  • Kraft Heinz
  • Walmart
  • Madison Square Garden

Jon says:

Noah Syndergaard is my pick for top portfolio here. Tesla is so beaten down right now that it's positioned to give him the most outperformance. And he's got two solid performers with Amazon and Nike. Noah's got a monster offense with Tesla, if the stock really takes off.

I hate to do it, but I'm picking Bobby Flay for last place. He chose good, solid stocks, but they're not going to outperform in this time frame. He didn't pick a wildcard that could rocket him to the top. He's got strong defense but virtually no offense.