NFL Draft Betting Trends & Action Report

NFL Draft betting trends are heavily defined by one element: sharp play. NFL Draft odds are so information-driven that they're arguably one of the least favored markets among bookmakers.

And the market is a boon – albeit a relatively small one – to the wiseguys.

BetMGM sports traders Seamus Magee and Cameron Drucker discuss NFL Draft odds, betting trends and action for the April 27-29 event in Kansas City, Mo.

NFL Draft Betting Trends

NFL Draft Odds

For a Limited Time Only

NFL Draft betting is a sharp player's market. This year's draft is April 27-29. (Getty)

In large part due to the volatility and information-driven nature of NFL Draft betting, Nevada has a regulation calling on bookmakers to take odds off the board 24 hours before the event begins. Your mileage may vary in other states/jurisdictions.

"It depend on the state. If there are no regulations in a state, we typically take down all markets an hour before the draft, to protect against any late info coming in," Magee said. "But some states prefer all markets come down 24 hours in advance."

So FYI: Check with your preferred sportsbooks to see when NFL Draft markets close in your state.

The key difficulty for oddsmakers is that NFL Draft betting trends aren't tied to anything decided on the field of play. It's all info, on which bettors and oddsmakers have to act fast. Betting limits are much lower, and odds moves are much more aggressive.

"What makes pricing the draft so hard is that it’s all traded off information and who’s getting the best stuff. I don’t have Mel Kiper’s phone number, or Adam Schefter’s either," Magee said. "The only edge the book has here is seeing the action coming in, in real time, and then having to decide whether the action is legitimate or not. There could be head fakes, and then there could be legitimate steam on a player.

"You have to be able to mitigate risk the best possible way, or else some of these markets can go sideways for sportsbooks."

One form of mitigation: Taking a prop down for a period of time, which is part of that volatility.

"Odds come down basically from a ton of steam coming in on one player, either across all markets or a single one," Magee said. "Last year, [linebacker] Kayvon Thibodeaux got a mountain of steam to go second overall, and it obviously affected countless other markets. When things like this occur, the best we can do to protect ourselves is just to pull all affected markets and wait for the smoke to clear, before we reprice and reopen."

As it turned out, Thibodeaux was drafted fifth overall by the New York Giants, so in that instance, the info went against the result.

Updated on 05/18/2024
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First Things First

Alabama's Bryce Young is a heavy favorite to be drafted No. 1 overall. (Getty)

UPDATE 7:15 P.M. ET THURSDAY: With under an hour until the Carolina Panthers go on the clock, Bryce Young is now at his heaviest price since NFL Draft odds first hit the board a couple of months ago. The Alabama quarterback is out to -2500 at BetMGM, after being as short as -550 earlier this week.

Kentucky QB Will Levis, who made a big surge early in the week to as short as +300, is now the +1000 second choice. Ohio State QB C.J. Stround is the +1400 third choice, and Florida QB Anthony Richardson is a distant +4000.

"Young is a fine result, not a huge winner though," Drucker said. "The biggest liabilities there ended up being Levis and Richardson."

UPDATE 8 P.M. ET WEDNESDAY: Specific to 2023 NFL Draft betting trends, over the past few months, there's been all sorts of jumping around in odds on the No. 1 overall pick. And just when it seemed like Alabama QB Bryce Young was a lock to go No. 1, the market went a little haywire Monday night into Tuesday morning.

Kentucky QB Will Levis is suddenly back in the mix, returning to the board at BetMGM after not being listed in No. 1 pick odds for a while. Around noon ET Tuesday, Levis returned as the +500 second choice, leapfrogging Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud and Florida QB Anthony Richardson. And Young, while still the hefty favorite, dipped from -2000 to -1400.

By 1 p.m. ET Tuesday, Young shifted to -550 and Levis to +300. Then things seemed to settle back down in Young's favor, with the 'Bama QB moving back out to -1200 chalk and Levis going to +650. As of 8 p.m. ET Wednesday, 24 hours before the draft starts, Young's odds were all the way back out to -2000, while Levis moved to +800.

Still, the late-breaking information and action has led to a shift in BetMGM's needs on No. 1 overall pick. Prior to Tuesday, Magee said Young was BetMGM's "biggest realistic loser," and that Richardson (+4000) was a loser for the book, as well.

But now: "Levis and Richardson are by far our biggest liabilities at No. 1," BetMGM senior sports trader Cameron Drucker said.

So the book now wants Young to go No. 1 overall, or to have Stroud somehow go No. 1. But with all the Levis jockeying of late, Stroud is a distant +2500 third choice.

That's capped an interesting run over the past few days. Recently, Young became the runaway favorite, following multiple reports that he was the Carolina Panthers' man. The Panthers acquired the top pick in a deal with the Chicago Bears, and Carolina is seen as having great need at QB.

"The No. 1 pick came off the board as soon as Bryce Young canceled all his other visits, after he met with the Panthers," Magee said Friday. "He went from something like -125 to -500 within minutes. We spent a few days with it down, waiting for a more liquid market consensus, and reposted Bryce Young at -2000."

Just before that initial move from -125 to -500, Young and Stroud were running close as favorites, with fellow Richardson and Levis third and fourth. Then, BetMGM trimmed its list to just three players in odds to be the overall No. 1 draft pick: Young at that hefty -2000 price, Stroud well back at +800 and Richardson a distant +2500.

As noted above, all of those numbers got a big adjusting Tuesday, as Levis re-entered the market in odds to be the No. 1 pick.

Second in Command

Alabama linebacker Will Anderson Jr. has moved to the favorite to go No. 2 overall. (Getty)

UPDATE 7:15 P.M. ET THURSDAY: Levis is no longer BetMGM's favorite to go No. 2 overall. In fact, he's down to the +750 cthird choice. Alabama linebacker Will Anderson Jr. was a notable -210 favorite this afternoon, a sizable shift from his +350 price Wednesday night.

In fact, this afternoon, Anderson was at -350. But in just the past few minutes, this market has again seen another big shift. Stroud is now a solid -300 chalk to go with the second pick, held by the Houston Texans. Anderson is the +110 second choice.

UPDATE 8 P.M. ET WEDNESDAY: With the No. 1 pick seemingly a mortal lock before Tuesday's news, the No. 2 overall pick in NFL Draft odds became the much more interesting offering. At the moment, the Houston Texans are on the clock, if they don't trade the pick.

On Friday, six days pre-draft, there was a logjam atop BetMGM's odds, led by Alabama linebacker Will Anderson Jr. at +200. Stroud (+250) and Levis (+275) followed, then Texas Tech linebacker Tyree Wilson checked in at +325.

In the unlikely event that Bama's Young isn't taken first overall, he was the +1100 fifth choice to go second overall. Then came Richardson and Georgia defensive lineman Jalen Carter at +2000.

However, Sunday brought a significant shake-up. Levis leapt to the -145 favorite to go No. 2, followed by Wilson (+250), Anderson (+400), then Stroud at +500. Then it dropped off to Richardson at +2000 and Young at +2200. Carter was a distant +6000.

"A known sharp group was playing Will Levis to go No. 2, and that seems to coincide with Will Anderson potentially sliding [down] in the draft," BetMGM senior sports trader Cameron Drucker said.

But wait, there's more! As noted above, Monday night into Tuesday morning, Levis suddenly made a huge splash back into the No. 1 overall pick market. And that led to significant moves in BetMGM's No. 2 market, as well. As of 8 p.m. ET Wednesday, Levis was the +125 favorite to go No. 2 overall. Wilson and Anderson followed at +250 and +350, respectively.

Stroud, who for much of the past couple of months was thought certain to go No. 1 or No. 2 overall, is now the +600 fourth choice to be taken No. 2 overall.

From Tuesday to Wednesday, Young shifted from +550 to +1600, seemingly a nod that BetMGM expects the Alabama QB to be off the board when the No. 2 pick arrives. Part of the Monday/Tuesday craziness on Levis was a flood of bets on Young to go No. 2 overall – at odds as long as +2500.

"The money came in on Bryce Young at No. 2, obviously directly correlated to Levis potentially going No. 1," Drucker said. "It looks like we took quite a few bets on Young, [including] at 25/1. There's a small liability on Young now. He was a winner for us until [Tuesday] morning, and now we're a small loser."

But just like the No. 1 overall pick, BetMGM's biggest No. 2 liabilities are on Levis and Richardson (+3300).

Third Time's a Charm

Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud is now favored to go No. 3 overall. (Getty)

UPDATE 7 P.M. ET THURSDAY: The third overall pick market has bounced all over today. This afternoon, Stroud was the -110 favorite at BetMGM to be drafted No. 3 overall. Now, with Stroud surging in the No. 2 overall market, Anderson is the +150 fave at No. 3.

Stroud is the +250 second choice in this market, followed by Levis at +500 and Carter at +700.

The Arizona Cardinals, who already have Kyler Murray under center, hold the No. 3 pick.

"It seems to be a huge question mark for who goes No. 3. It's the most interesting pick of the draft. There aren't huge liabilities anywhere," Drucker said. "It seems like the pick is likely to be traded if Stroud goes No. 3."

UPDATE 8 P.M. ET WEDNESDAY: BetMGM's NFL Draft odds on the third overall pick feature several of the same players – albeit in different order – as the No. 2 overall pick. On Friday, Anderson, Richardson and Stroud were knotted as +250 co-favorites, and Wilson was the +450 fourth choice. Then came Levis (+1000) and Carter (+2000), with Young – expected to be long gone by then – a distant +6600.

But Sunday's shake-up at No. 2 also sent odds shifting on the No. 3 pick. Stroud went to the +220 chalk, with Wilson right on Young's heels at +225, then Richardson (+375) and Anderson (+400). Levis wasa +900, Carter +2000 and Young +5000.

Then the Monday night/Tuesday morning Levis surge led to another odds makeover for the No. 3 pick. As of Wednesday evening, Anderson had taken over as the +225 favorite to go No. 3 overall. Ohio State offensive tackle Paris Johnson Jr. was close behind at +250, with Wilson and Stroud knotted at +500. Then Levis checked in at +1000.

The Arizona Cardinals currently hold the third pick.

"For No. 3, we’ve mostly seen action on Anderson, Richardson and Stroud. We’d be more than happy if the pick ends up being Anderson or Richardson," Magee said. "There's so much uncertainty with this pick, as the Cardinals could either trade out of it to a QB-needy team, or end up picking someone to help on the defensive side of the ball."

Position Props

Notre Dame's Michael Mayer is favored to be the first tight end drafted. (Getty)

UPDATE 7 P.M. ET THURSDAY: Beyond the props for the Nos. 1, 2 and 3 overall picks, Magee said player position props are always popular. Bettors wager on options such as first wide receiver selected, first offensive lineman selected, etc.

For several days, Mayer was a -175 chalk at BetMGM. But on Wednesday night, he stretched to -250, with Kincaid at +150. However, an hour before the first round starts, Mayer is just a -115 chalk, with Kincaid even money.

Another interesting market at BetMGM: First defensive player drafted. Texas Tech's Wilson was seeing the most money and was the -140 favorite Wednesday night. But Anderson's surge in the No. 2 overall pick market has impacted the defensive player prop, too.

Anderson is a -350 chalk to be the first defensive player off the board, followed by Wilson at +250.

Where to place a bet this NFL Season?

  • Use our exclusive BetMGM Bonus Code VIBONUS1500 to unlock BetMGM’s welcome offer for new sportsbook users!
  • Compare the latest NFL Odds from the best sportsbooks before placing a bet on this week's games.
  • Check out the North Carolina Sportsbooks just before they launch legal online sports betting.