The NFL draft will be the first major sports event to take place in exactly six weeks. That doesn’t seem like an especially long time, but consider what normally would have been going on during this window. We could have bet on weekly golf, including the Masters, plus the NCAA tournament and conference championships, Major League Baseball and the NHL and NBA seasons and playoffs. That is a massive amount of potential handle lost for sportsbooks and countless opportunities vanished for sports bettors.
With the draft now upon us, sportsbooks are thrilled to be taking in some substantial business. But bettors are approaching it with mixed feelings.
“I was looking at some things last week, but I’m not going to be betting it,” said professional bettor and frequent VSiN contributor Erin Rynning. “The limits are too small for me to bother.”
“Point Spread Weekly” UFC writer and NFL handicapper Lou Finocchiaro explained: “My NFL season begins right after the draft. I have no clue betting the draft itself.”
Professional bettor Rufus Peabody and VSiN fan favorite and hotel executive Mike Palm shared the same sentiments, not intending to bet on the draft.
On the flip side, many industry professionals are welcoming the opportunity with open arms and excitement.
“Oh, man, I’ve made more than a dozen plays,” said Gill Alexander, host of VSiN's “A Numbers Game,” with a history of success betting on the NFL draft.
Professional bettor and frequent VSiN contributor Chuck Edel took an opportunistic approach.
“I made a bet on Tua Tagovailoa’s draft position,” he said. “I played Over 3.5 (-118) when he had trouble with his physical.”
Same goes for another frequent VSiN contributor and professional handicapper, Paul Stone, who saw opportunity in the value of a number.
“A little over three weeks ago, I bet Over 5.5 wide receivers to be drafted in the first round at -167,” he said. “That price is considerably higher now.”
Professional bettor Jack Andrews makes his living finding value in numbers and discrepancies in markets but says typically this time of year, he’s knee-deep in NBA playoffs and Major League Baseball.
“I’m not much of an NFL draft prop bettor,” he said. “My two sports where I originate are NBA and MLB. I’m typically winding down NBA and spinning up MLB during this time of the year. Given the hand we’ve been dealt, I did look at NFL draft props this year purely based on line value.”
In Andrews’ search for a bet that looked to be advantageous, we can illustrate exactly what it means to make a sharp play versus a whimsical one.
“Before long, I found a poorly priced line on D’Andre Swift’s draft position,” Andrews said. “I was able to play him Under 31.5 -110. At the time, the line elsewhere was 29.5 flat. Consensus draft position now on Swift is 27 or 28.”
For many, the largest volume of proposition betting on any one event is the SuperBowl. When making such plays for the big game, I often suggest thinking about how you believe the game will unfold and making your prop bets accordingly. Attacking the draft can be exactly the same, as is the case with Alexander.
“I think Isaiah Simmons, Tee Higgins and A.J. Terrell are all getting drafted in the first round,” Alexander said. All three players come out of Clemson. Simmons is the top-rated linebacker in the draft, Higgins is a wide receiver and Terrell is a cornerback. As listed below, Alexander used his notion to place multiple wagers.
1. Total players from Clemson to be drafted in first round: Over 1.5 (-225)
2. More players selected in the first round, Clemson vs. Oklahoma: Clemson PK (%plussign7)
3. More players selected in the first round, Clemson vs. Ohio State: Clemson +.5 (-190)
Here are a few more plays some of our friends have made heading into the 2020 draft.
Matt Brown, VSiN host
1. Quarterbacks drafted in the first round: Over 3.5 (%plussign0)
2. First running back to be drafted: D’Andre Swift (-182)
Scott Kellen, professional bettor and VSiN contributor
1. Running backs drafted in the first round: Over .5 (-210)
Randy McKay, professional bettor and 2017 VSiN Fan of the Year
1. Total players from Clemson to be drafted in first round: Over 1.5 (-210)
Josh Appelbaum, VSiN sports betting reporter
1. Quarterbacks drafted in the first round: Under 4.5 (-455)
2. Tua Tagovailoa draft position: Over 4.5 (-225)
3. First safety to be drafted: Xavier McKinney (-215)
4. First running back to be drafted: D’Andre Swift (-200)
Bill Krackomberger, professional sports bettor and VSiN contributor
1. Tua Tagovailoa draft position: Over 3.5 (-210)
2. Most picks in first round, SEC vs. all other conferences: All other conferences (-155)
I have never bet on the NFL draft. I have not spent much time studying the draft in the past, and the betting menus were limited. But I do love the draft. I’ve said before that I kind of enjoy it more than the actual season. I love college football. I like seeing these kids move on to the next level, and I find a great deal of enjoyment in seeing how NFL teams strategize to build their rosters. I like the analysis of each player drafted. We get to consume a three-day show and the anticipation the event generates for the future of NFL teams. I’ve made one bet during the quarantine — Shivaree, an 80-1 shot in the Florida Derby, to show. He came in second for a nice payday. The combination of a lack of action, my own thrill for the NFL draft, the much larger number of options on the betting menu and the overall talent in this draft have me getting involved this year. Nothing too serious, but in an effort to have some rooting interest, I’ve made the following four plays.
1. Quarterbacks plus running backs drafted in the first round: Under 5 (-140)
2. Laviska Shenault drafted in the first round: No (-220)
3. Offensive linemen drafted in the first round: Over 5.5 (-230)
4. Most picks in the first round — wide receivers or offensive linemen: Offensive linemen (-140)