With Major Sports On Pause, NFL Draft Betting Through The Roof

Updated on April 28, 2020
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The NFL Draft is normally a relatively minor sports betting event but with the coronavirus pandemic forcing major sports into a hiatus, the draft set new records for wagering this past week.

We heard some early reporting from ESPN as sportsbooks in New Jersey told them that they’d see about 10 times the action year-over-year and now that the draft is over, we have some hard figures to report.

Sportsbook See Big Spike In NFL Draft Betting

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For the most part, NJ online sportsbooks in the Garden State haven’t been overly specific about their sports betting numbers in regards to the draft but what we do know is that they all saw gains.

PointsBet was fairly general as they reported that their numbers “absolutely crushed” the 2019 NFL Draft handle. As for PlaySugarHouse, they saw a four-fold increase year-over-year. Meanwhile, FanDuel likened the action on the NFL Draft to a popular Thursday Night Football game, which is quite impressive.

All of this shows just how much bettors have been craving any semblance of action. The Draft didn’t even present any gameplay or battle, per se, yet fans were still dialed into to see who’d go first at each position and how all of the various props would grade out.

Biggest Offering Ever For Betting Options

One of the reasons that this draft was such a sports betting spectacle was because of the sheer volume of betting lines on the board. It’s important to note that there were times in the past where bettors in Vegas would have to go from sportsbook to sportsbook just to find a single line on the NFL Draft.

Even if books carried some odds, it wouldn’t be much more than a handful of options. The 2020 NFL Draft was completely opposite as sportsbooks went all out with a massive menu of options.

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Sportsbooks like FanDuel, BetMGM, DraftKings and pretty much everyone else had hundreds of sports betting lines on the board.

That included bets on who’ll be the first/second/third overall, who’ll be first drafted at each position, head-to-head matchups among players, what players each team will target, props on if the team’s first pick will be offense or defense, trades, number of players drafted by school and many more.

What was even more surprising – and something that’s rarely ever been seen – is sportsbooks coming back with lines for Round 2.

DraftKings led the way as they had a huge variety of lines, which they posted late Thursday night/Friday morning after the first round was finished. That meant bettors had options to sift through on Friday before the second round started at 7:00 p.m. ET.

A huge factor here is that we’re really short on sports betting events. However, sportsbooks deserve credit for really making the most of this to offer customers more betting options than they’ve ever seen before for this event.

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Receiver, Quarterback Props Were Of Particular Interest To Bettors

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Some of the most popular props on the board for the NFL Draft turned out to be the ones focused on receivers and quarterbacks. With receivers, there was rampant debate ahead of the draft as to which who’ll be first taken and what the order will be for the top three.

PlaySugarHouse’s largest bet of the day was that Oklahoma receiver CeeDee Lamb would be the first wideout taken.

  • That player ended up losing just shy of $5,000 when Henry Ruggs III, who was priced at +400, was drafted first.

As for the quarterbacks, they attracted plenty of action as bettors piled in on the Tua Tagovailoa props. They did pretty well against the book as many bettors accurately predicted that he’d be the second quarterback off the board.

PointsBet ran an odds boost promo, bumping Tua to be the second quarterback off the board from -115 to +140, and they ended up paying out quite a bit when that rang true.

The other quarterback that drew a lot of interest was Oklahoma signal-caller Jalen Hurts. Originally, Hurts was in the mix with Jacob Eason and Jake Fromm to be the fifth quarterback selection (and the first in Round 2).

Instead, Hurts ended up being the only one of the three to go in the second round.

  • When the odds opened up at PointsBet (after the first round was over), Eason was at +100, Hurts was at +180, and Fromm was at +425 to be first selected in the second round.
  • So much money piled in on Hurts that he ended up closing as a -175 favorite with Eason dropping to +150 and Fromm falling to +900.

Many bettors were bullish on Hurts, though, as his over-under for a draft position opened up at 69.5 at PointsBet but ended up closing at 48.5 as the under kept getting pounded.

DraftKings saw similar action on a related prop as Hurts opened at +200 to be taken in the first two rounds but closed at -225. Of course, the Philadelphia Eagles stunned a lot of people when they selected Hurts in the second round at No. 53.

What About Next Year?

DraftKings Sportsbook has already opened up betting lines for the 2021 NFL Draft where Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence is a -305 favorite to be the first pick in the draft.

They’ve also posted props on who’ll be the first quarterback, running back, offensive lineman and wide receiver to be taken. Here’s hoping that sportsbooks in New Jersey offer this type of selection for next year’s draft and that this isn’t just a one-off because there aren’t any other sports happening right now.

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