Las Vegas Sportsbooks Generate a Lot of Action with New NFL Draft Prop Bets

The Nevada Gaming Control Board approved NFL Draft proposition bets this year, so gamblers have a chance to wager on the 1st Round of tonight’s NFL Draft. This year’s slate of NFL prop bets appear to be fairly straightforward, but it is an experiment that might open the flood gates to NFL Draft prop bets in 2018 and beyond.

Each of the Las Vegas sportsbooks designed their own bets. John Murry, sportsbook manager at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, told ESPN that his sportsbook kept things simple. Murray said, “We wanted to pick props that were easy to understand and that we thought we’d get a lot of action on. We had a list approved by gaming and we picked the eight we thought would generate the most interest.”

The full list of Westgate prop bets included the number of SEC players in Round 1, the number of Bit Ten players drafted in Rond 1, whether more offensive or defensive players would be taken, the number of running backs who would be selected in Round 1, and the number of wide receivers who would be selected in Round 1.

Over/Under on QBs Drafted in Round 1

For that reason, the Westgate SuperBook set an over/under line on the number of quarterbacks who would be drafted in Round 1 of the draft. Quarterback is the glamour position in football, and the players being drafted at QB are likeliest to be well known to gamblers.

The over/under for the number of quarterbacks drafted in the 32 picks of Round 1 is 3.5 quarterbacks. As usual, the bookmaker created a difficult bet to beat. Mitch Trubisky of the North Carolina Tarheels is expected to go in the Top 12 picks, at the very least. In fact, Trubisky might go to the Cleveland Browns 1st overall, though that is an outside chance, because the Browns are expected to take defensive end Myles Garrett out of Texas A&M, who is widely considered the best prospect in the draft.

Trubisky, Watson, Mahomes, and Kizer

Even if the Browns do not take a quarterback first overall, Mitch Trubisky could go anywhere between the 2nd and 12th pick. The San Francisco 49ers need a young quarterback prospect, though they are expected to draft either a defensive player or Leonard Fournette. Teams like the New York Jets at pick 6 could take Trubisky. The Cleveland Browns have a second Round 1 selection with the 12th pick, so the young passer is unlikely to fall further than the Browns second selection.

Among the other 1st Round talents are Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes, and Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer. Watson and Mahomes each have been discussed as potential Top 10 or Top 15 picks. Few people believe either will fall out of the 1st Round.

That means the Westgate’s quarterback prop bet likely comes down to whether DeShone Kizer is drafted in the 1st Round. It is hard to predict what teams in the bottom third of the 1st Round might do, though most playoff teams have an established quarterback and are not looking to draft a passer. Instead, the real threat is a team who decided to forego a quarterback early in the 1st round trading up to take their franchise quarterback in the latter stages of the 1st. The 2017 NFL Draft is thought to have a lot of depth, so teams certainly will be interested in a trade-down to get more picks.

John Murray on Kickers and Alabama Players

John Murray said the Westgate took bets on field goal kickers and Alabama Crimson Tide players, but most of the betting involved quarterbacks. He said most bettors believed more than 3.5 QBs would be drafted in the first.

Murray said, “We took several limit bets on that over and the ‘kicker in Rounds 1-5’ prop, but more on the over 3.5 QBs than anything else. That’s our biggest liability. There’s also been a good amount of action on the Alabama over 4.5 players, both sharp and public.

Field Goal Kicker Prop Bet

The field goal kicker’s bet involved whether the first kicker would go in Rounds 1 through 5 or whether they would be drafted in Rounds 6 or 7. Presumably, no kicker being drafted would be a push. After the Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafted Roberto Aguayo in the 2nd Round last year (and he disappointed), you can expect teams will not draft a PK in the first two days of the draft. The quickest way for an NFL GM to lose his job is to make seemingly frivolous or senseless selections. By the 5th round, teams might consider a kicker with a strong leg and a history of accuracy, especially in the new era of field goal rules.

Alabama Crimson Tide Prop Bet

Another popular bet at Westgate is about the number of Alabama Crimson Tide players will go in the 1st Round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Defensive tackle Jonathan Allen, cornerback Marlon Humphrey, and tight end O.J. Howard are locks to go in the Top 10 to Top 15 picks of the draft. Most people consider offensive tackle Cam Robinson and linebacker Reuben Foster to be fairly solidly as 1st Round talents, so the Alabama prop bet looks like an “Over” pick.

Reuben Foster’s strange performance at the NFL Combine has caused rumors to spread that Foster might slide, though. The talented linebacker not only failed a drug test at the NFL Combine (due to a diluted sample), but he also was sent away from the Combine when he got into an argument with a member of the medical staff. The NFL did not invite Foster to sit in the Green Room, a sign either of official disfavor or buzz that Reuben Foster will not be drafted early.

More Action Than Super Bowl Propositions

As always, the NFL brings plenty of intrigue. Bookmakers at the Las Vegas sportsbooks say that most of the NFL Draft prop bets have gotten more action than Super Bowl proposition bets, which is somewhat incredible. But the NFL Draft is a special time of the year, when teams are playing coy, fans are excited about their team’s newest players, and surprises always happen.

William Hill NFL Draft Prop Bets

Nick Bogdanovich, William Hill US’s the director of trading, told ESPN of the action, “The wagering on the NFL draft props has been exciting. We didn’t expect all the action that we are currently seeing. It makes me believe that in the future NFL draft wagering will be very popular, with an expanded list of additional props — a good sign for years to come.

About Cliff Spiller

Cliff Spiller has been an online writer for 14 years. He worked for Small World Marketing for a decade, where he covered topics like gaming, sports, movies, and how-to guides. Since 2014, he has blogged about US and international gambling news on BestOnlineCasinos.com, USPokerSites.com, and LegalUSPokerSites.com

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