Last year, there was some wild movement in the NFL Draft betting market a few days before the event.
Aidan Hutchinson had been the big favorite to go first overall for most of the offseason, then the week of the draft there was a complete shift to Travon Walker as the favorite. Walker went first overall.
This year there is some more big shifts in the NFL draft betting market, but that’s happening weeks before the draft.
Bryce Young was the favorite to go first overall most of the offseason. Then the Carolina Panthers traded up to the first pick, everyone assumed Frank Reich would want a bigger quarterback, and CJ Stroud became the favorite. His odds dipped all the way to -275 at BetMGM, which meant the market believed there was a very good chance Stroud would be the pick at No. 1.
This week, the NFL Draft betting market flipped again, and now it’s Young who looks like a near lock to go first overall.
Bryce Young now a big favorite
There aren’t many betting markets in which the odds will shift like this year’s NFL Draft.
In early March, Stroud was +400 to go first. After the Panthers trade, Young rose to +350. Stroud remained the favorite until this week.
As of Monday, the gap had shrunk considerably. Stroud was -130 and Young was -105. That came after a couple of veteran journalists said they’d heard Young was the favorite among those in the Panthers organization.
By Wednesday, the odds looked a lot different.
Young’s odds at BetMGM moved all the way to -300 to be the first overall pick. Stroud was second at +210. Anthony Richardson remained in the third position at +2000.
Those -300 odds means a bettor would have to wager $300 to win $100. The -300 indicates there are implied odds of 75% of Young going first overall.
About 48 hours before, Young wasn’t even the favorite. And there are more than two weeks left for the odds to keep changing.
Bettors beat sportsbooks on draft props
Draft props are a tough market for sportsbooks. The house had a tough time last year, when bettors got ahead of sportsbooks to win on bets for the NFL, NBA and NHL first overall pick. In those instances the betting market tipped off the first pick before news reports did.
Sportsbooks don’t have much inside information on draft props, which makes it tough to set odds. It’s feasible that there’s a bettor out there with a ticket on Young at +350 and one on Stroud at +400. Maybe even one on Richardson too. That’s what happens when the odds fluctuate as wildly as they have for the first overall pick.
Sportsbooks in Nevada couldn’t offer props on the NFL draft until 2017. That market has gotten popular, in part because bettors have had success in it.
Sportsbooks have been adjusting and trying to figure out that market. Judging by the huge swings in the No. 1 overall pick odds, it’s still a work in progress.