NFL Draft still has ways to go for sports bettors

April 24, 2019 10:41 PM

Will the NFL Draft be the next big annual attraction in the world of sports betting (ABC, ESPN, NFL Network, 8 p.m.)? 

Despite intense interest in the draft from football fans across the country, and the fact that “NFL is king” in sports betting, the early returns suggest “probably not.” 

Why not?

  • Sports books could take a bath! This isn’t like betting a game, where a point spread can split the money before the random nature of high level competition influences results. Nobody can be “certain” before a game starts which team will cover a spread. In the draft, somebody knows who’s about to get picked. Occasionally a lot of somebodies. Sports books don’t want that kind of exposure. They’re in business to make money, not hand it away to people with inside knowledge.
  • There aren’t currently any propositions that are attractive to fans. To date, props are only bringing sharps (professional bettors) out of the woodwork. Tuesday morning, Jeff Sherman of the Westgate in Las Vegas told Mitch Moss and Pauly Howard on VSiN’s “Follow the Money” that about 95% of bets are coming from sharps, 5% from recreational bettors. Squares just aren’t that interested.
  • It’s difficult to create props that will be attractive to fans. Maybe there will be a year where the identity of the #1 pick is a true toss-up. Half the country thinks it will be one guy, half thinks a different guy, and sports books are there to collect the vigorish at bet levels that limit exposure. That won’t happen often, if ever.
  • It won’t be uncommon for prop results to be determined by whims of poorly run franchises. Who wants to risk money predicting management mistakes? How do you handicap surprise “reaches?” 
  • Sports books already have great options available to NFL bettors that benefit from draft publicity. Though it’s only April, you can bet “Regular Season Win” totals. Futures prices are available to win divisions, conferences, or the Super Bowl. A sports book’s edge on futures is huge, and the vigorish on win totals gives them a fighting chance.

If you love your favorite team’s draft…bet them to go Over their projected win total, or take a flyer at the futures board. If you think a team made blunder after blunder, bet them Under their win total.

The NFL Draft is definitely a big deal. Sports media this week has been flooded with mock drafts, trade talk, and general hype. And what happens during the draft will obviously impact sports betting choices in the future (sometimes for years!). There’s just little to drive enthusiastic betting on the draft itself. 


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