Bettors flocking toward NFL draft props

The NFL Draft is providing some welcome action for sports bettors, and at least a short-term boost for sportsbooks hit hard by the shutdown of all major sports due to the coronavirus pandemic.

PointsBet is offering approximately 175 markets for the 2020 NFL Draft, and more than a week out from the event the book has seen almost as much action as it did for the entire 2019 draft. PointsBet director of communications Patrick Eichner said the company is expecting 2 1/2 more turnover year-over-year by the end of the 2020 draft.

The company is projecting the draft to be “on par” with a standalone marquee NFL event such as a Monday or Thursday night primetime game.

PointsBet Tua

Tua’s polarizing odds

Some of the heaviest action has been around Tua Tagovailoa. With the Alabama star’s stock varying heavily depending on how teams view his recovery from hip surgery, some analysts believe Tagovailoa could be the second quarterback selected after projected top pick Joe Burrow of LSU, while others anticipate a potential slide into the back half of the first round.

The Miami Dolphins hold the No. 5 overall pick, and they are currently being offered at even odds by PointsBet to select Tagovailoa. While that bet has been responsible for 19 percent of the action on Tagovailoa, 21 percent of the action has been on Washington Redskins, who hold the No. 2 pick and are widely expected to take Ohio State defensive end Chase Young.

The Los Angeles Chargers are another team likely in the market for a quarterback, but they may have to trade up from No. 6 to have a shot at Tagovailoa. They do have the second-lowest odds at PointsBet (+155), but less than 1 percent of bettors have jumped on the action, compared to 14 percent for the Detroit Lions, +3000, with the No. 3 overall pick and 13 percent for the Jacksonville Jaguars, +1100 at No. 9.

Tua Tagovailoa
Tua Tagovailoa’s hip injury remains a major question mark with his draft status. (Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports)

The only other team representing double-digits in bet count is New England at +1600. The Patriots don’t currently pick until No. 23 overall, but 11 percent of the Tagovailoa prop bets have been on him landing with New England.

While many bettors see Tagovailoa stepping into Tom Brady’s shoes in New England, there has been “some sharp money” on him serving as Brady’s understudy in Tampa Bay. The Bucs’ odds of landing Tagovailoa have moved from +8000 to +2500, according to Eichner.

Meanwhile, Rush Street-owned New Jersey and Indiana are promoting a “prop bet party” for the draft.

With Burrow -10000 to be the No. 1 overall pick and Young -2000 to go No. 2, the books are offering “an abundant betting lineup” for bettors.

“The prop bets make every draft pick significant,” Rush Street Interactive COO Mattias Stetz said in a statement. “Selections are rarely cut and dry for an entire draft round.”

Position-player props

  • The first running back drafted: D’Andre Swift, Georgia, -200
  • The first wide receiver drafted: Jerry Jeudy, Alabama, -121
  • The first tight end drafted: Cole Kmet, Notre Dame, -286
  • The first offensive lineman drafted: Tristan Wirfs, Iowa, +120
  • The first defensive lineman drafted: Chase Young, Ohio State, -10000
  • The first linebacker drafted: Isaiah Simmons, Clemson, -10000
  • The first cornerback drafted: Jeffrey Okudah, Ohio State, -10000
  • The first safety drafted: Xavier McKinney, Alabama, -215 and are offering an over/under prop of 4.5 quarterbacks being selected in the first round, with the over at +340 and the under at -455. Tagovailoa is -286 to be the second quarterback off the board, followed by Oregon’s Justin Herbert at +180.

Alabama and LSU lead the way on school-specific props, with both having 5.5 over/unders for the number of players selected in the first round.

“Last minute pick trades make later selections more unpredictable,” Stetz said. “You never know what’s going to happen and that’s what makes it so exciting!”

–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)