Late April is truly the dog days of sports betting. Football season has long been over – sorry XFL – and it doesn’t start back up for months. March Madness is now a fading memory and the NBA playoffs have started but they are only playing like a game a week. So, what is a sports bettor to do during this sparse time? Luckily, there is a great betting event that comes up the last weekend of April that real bettors know and love to wager on.
The 2020 NFL Draft takes place between Thursday, April 23 and Sunday, April 25, 2020. While most people probably don’t think about the draft as a big-time gambling event, but it’s grown as a betting opportunity in recent years. With the rise of online gambling of all sorts, from online casinos to sportsbooks, events like the NFL Draft have gone from hardcore football nerd fare to gambler’s dream weekend. Here is everything you need to know about the ins and outs of betting on the NFL Draft.
No Drama in the #1 Pick
Many years there is an argument at the top of the draft board over who goes number 1 overall and this is always a fun place to bet. The years when there is two viable top of the draft options are always the best whether it is Peyton Manning vs Ryan Leaf or a more recent example like Jared Goff vs Carson Wentz.
In 2020, there will be no such drama unless something truly crazy and unexpected happens. LSU quarterback Joe Burrow is the odds-on favorite to be the number 1 overall pick whether it is by the Cincinnati Bengals or someone else who trades up for it. Burrow’s odds are at -2200 to be the pick and the next closest player is Chase Young, the Ohio State defensive end at +1200. The moral of the story here is to stay away from betting on the top pick this year.
Betting on Picks 2 -5
This year, the smart money and the action as far as betting on where people will go will be on picks 2 through 5. The Redskins at pick number two are a little bit of an exception but picks 3 through 5 for sure will be fun to wager on.
At pick 2, conventional wisdom says that they will go with Young but if you know anything about the Redskins, they are anything but predictable. Following the NFL Draft combine, there have been whispers that the Skins might take injured Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa with the second pick. While this still seems unlikely, there could also be a trade up for the banged-up signal-caller so betting on Tagovailoa at 2 could make you some money.
As for 3 to 5, this will almost certainly be some combination of Tagovailoa, Clemson’s Isaiah Simmons, and Ohio State’s Jeff Okudah. Figuring out which order these 3 players will leave the green room in should win you a nice chunk of change to get your 2020 Draft betting off to a solid start. You can bet on these results in the form of over/ under draft position or via the money line if you think you can hit it exactly.
The Third Quarterback Off the Board
As discussed above, Burrow and Tagovailoa are pretty much mortal locks to be the first 2 quarterbacks on stage in April. Where the first-round quarterback situation starts to get interesting is with the question, who will be the third QB to hear their name called? This debate is so heated right now that ESPN’s two draft experts, Mel Kiper, Jr. and Todd McShay actually made a $5,000 bet (for charity) on this question with their own money.
Kiper, the original NFL draft expert still going strong, loves Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert and his size and arm strength. McShay, on the other hand, is more of a fan of Utah State’s Jordan love and his smooth athleticism. You don’t have to plunk down 5K but letting a little money ride with whichever ESPN draftnik you like best will be a lot of fun.
Positional Over/ Unders
Another great way to bet on the draft is to take the over/ under on a positional group in the first round. This will likely keep your bet alive all the way until late in the round and if you put together or follow a solid mock draft, it could make you some good money.
As with most odds, the oddsmakers in Las Vegas are very good at putting together lines and over/ unders. Those huge, lavish casinos in the desert didn’t build themselves. That said, there is some good value if you can identify the most or least in-demand position groups prior to the draft. In 2019, it was a very defensive heavy year with a lot of talent coming out on that side of the ball. Because of this, OL, TE, WR, and QB all went under and RBs pushed at 1.
In 2020, the opposite is true and there is a lot of offensive talent that teams covet available early in the draft. There should be 4 quarterbacks taken in the top 15 picks and it would be no surprise if a 5th or even a 6th came off the board at the end of the 1st. There should also be a significant run on offensive lineman in round 1.
The big winners of the first round though will be wide receivers. This year will be a historic wide receiver class and they may see 5 or 6 of their fellow pass catchers all make it into the first. If you find a line that has OL, QB, or WR at 5 or under, take it for sure you will probably be safe taking up to 6 on these three positions.
Don’t let the NFL offseason get you down as a gambler. There are plenty of great futures to bet on and, of course, the NFL Draft. Betting on the draft is a great way spend a weekend and one last tip, make sure you put a coin flip wager on whether the last pick, Mr. Irrelevant, will be an offensive or defensive player. That will keep you invested to the bitter end.
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