While the NFL Draft has grown exponentially in popularity and betting interest, sportsbooks are at odds over how to deal with the growing demand – because in reality, the house doesn’t always win. Some sportsbooks are embracing the excitement and continue to place numerous offer bets, while others have drastically scaled back their menus because they can’t avoid net losses.
“We have customers who bet all year round. So if a customer is lucky enough to beat the draft, we’re not just going to take them down,” DraftKings sportsbook director Johnny Avello told ESPN, expressing that he offers over a few hundred props. “We’re going to keep going and getting better at booking it.”
Let’s not cry too much for the house. Bookmakers still have a built-in retention percentage and access to the same information as bettors when tracking it effectively.
“If a sportsbook was in a good mood, they could clean it up,” a professional bettor and draftsman told ESPN. “The juice is higher for draft props and the indices aren’t always fair either. Bettors sometimes think they have an advantage, but that’s not always the case.
This event is unique to bookmakers and therefore requires a different approach and mindset. There are ways to make money, just like in any market, but you must first understand certain nuances and strategies in order to properly attack them.
The draft market is just extremely soft and volatile; really unlike anything else. In traditional NFL games, the market is tight and doesn’t see big odds changes unless there’s a major move. For example the Dallas Cowboys opened last December as a one-point home favorite against the undefeated Philly Eagles. News of quarterback injury Jalen hurts, an MVP candidate, surfaced and the point spread eventually closed at 4.5 points. That was a gigantic story, and the oddsmakers still handled it with ease.
However, when it comes to draft betting, the odds can change drastically for a variety of reasons and lead to a scramble. A single prop’s juice could swing from +150 to -300 in a single moment. A simple index for the first wide receiver selected can have three different betting favorites over a period of a few weeks. This is because the market is based entirely on speculation and reports from media members who themselves are merely gathering information and opinion from sources while combating targeted misinformation.
“It’s about actively managing and finding out who actually knows something and what a smoke screen is. It’s usually very difficult, but I think we’re getting better every year,” Caesars Sportsbook lead draft oddsmaker Joey Feazel told ESPN, also sharing that his bosses recently changed their workflow to allow him focuses solely on the draft rather than having the entire team monitor all news from all sports. The draft market is a different beast and should be treated as such.
A popular comparison is the NFL preseason. The common denominator is that valuable information such as starters’ playing time is uncovered. While this information is certainly crucial and leads to larger point spread movements than we see in the regular season, it is still a football game with a relatively limited number of potential outcomes. However, the draft is a market of what a few people from the front office, the scouting department and the coaching staff will decide on. The permutations of the results are so much larger when you factor in all players, teams, offense and defense positions, and that’s before factoring in the inevitable draft day trades.
New Year, near me
Every NFL draft has its own stories and the betting market reflects that. These can include quarterback uncertainty, position depth, or the general eagerness of top teams trying to trade down. You have to constantly adapt and understand how big storylines affect choices. In the weeks leading up to the first round, there is an inevitable domino effect of free agency, trades, and main draft development.
“Once we build a market early, I feel confident in that market. It’s the volatility in this market that we don’t see coming,” Avello said.
Last year we saw quarterbacks Malik Willis, Kenny Pickett, Desmond Rider And Matt Korral all open with draft position props that reflected first-round expectations, including two in the top 10. But only one was picked before the third round—a seismic shift between the combine and draft day.
This year we’re starting to see teams lose interest in some marquee quarterbacks. It probably won’t fall as freely as it did last year, but it’s looking pretty clear we won’t see QBs drafted with each of the top four picks like it was thought to be last month. We may only see two boards in the top 6 picks as teams keep changing their minds and gathering more information. The whole process is fluid.
Media insiders and design specialists have very good information. However, they don’t share every kernel every time they appear on TV or post content. This happens for a variety of reasons. First, they lack enough time to empty the entire bucket. Also, they may not have fully checked everything yet. Or maybe they’re keeping that information because of a promise they made to a certain source. However, a bettor can connect some dots and gather wisdom based on peripheral information already posted by teams and other draft gurus.
“Things just keep changing. There are teams that think their overall talent is better than it used to be. Or teams start thinking the same way and a player gets projected into 11th place and then suddenly he’s seventh. It’s really difficult,” called Avello.
Last year, the Houston Texans threw a curveball while pulling the defender back Derek Stingley Jr. with the third overall victory. Or have you? Three weeks before draft, the books offered 100-1 odds for the LSU product to be drafted in that slot. Around that time, Texans head coach Lovie Smith casually stated in a media session that they wanted to improve their secondary education. cincinnati Sauce Gardner was considered a top cornerback, but Stingley had an unusual background with elite pedigree but only played three games
in his final college season. As more news rolled in, Stingley eventually hit -130 in the final days before the draft.
on the clock
Draft betting isn’t for everyone. It requires countless hours and a solid understanding of a granular niche. And like anything related to betting, it also requires discipline. The last thing you want to do is chase after steam. Remember that on March 10th, CJ Stroud’s odds shifted from +240 to -300 as a favorite to be first pick in minutes. Bryce Young, previously favorite, resumed favorite status a month later and currently sits at -1400. Life comes upon you pretty quickly when you are reckless and think that something is easy money.
My next column will be out on Tuesday and will feature my official pieces for this draft. Nothing is guaranteed except how different the market will be by then.