The Most-Bet NFL Draft Ever: Sportsbooks Report Action Similar to an NFL Playoff Game

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NFL via AP. Pictured: Roger Goodell

For at least a brief moment, things felt normal at sportsbooks across the country. Bets were flying in fast and furious right before the start of a major sporting event in primetime.

“[The NFL Draft] turned out better than a typical Monday Night Football game,” said Patrick Eichner of PointsBet. “It was more on par with a marquee [NFL] playoff matchup.”

We knew the draft was going to be a big night for sports fans, desperate for distraction, and we had an idea, based on reports of big bets in the days leading up to the draft, that it would be a big night for bettors who were desperate for action. But it seems like the night went better than anybody expected: The 2020 Draft was officially the most-bet NFL draft on record.

“Unlike last year, we had a significant amount of bets come in before Thursday,” FanDuel’s Kevin Hennessy said. “It was like pre-game betting for Thursday Night Football. We look at the entire draft, but we’re tracking between 8-10 times the handle we did for the 2019 Draft.”

“Last night’s draft was exciting and while we had a small loss, we saw outstanding action in all states,” said Jason Scott, VP of Trading for BetMGM/Roar Digital, which operates online sportsbooks in New Jersey, Indiana and West Virginia. “The lack of trade activity through the first 12 selections meant the majority of mock drafts were pretty accurate and overall it played out as most expected.”

Here at Action Network HQ, we saw a significant increase in interest in betting on the draft, as traffic increased 61% year-over-year compared to Round 1 in 2019.

All the action resulted in some big winners for the house. Eichner said that Jordan Love being selected at No. 26 by the Green Bay Packers was PointsBet’s biggest winner. Hennessy noted that FanDuel was thankful the Giants didn’t draft Isaiah Simmons, as that combination would have been their biggest loser of the night.

And there were some wins for the players. Hennessy said they were in trouble from the start since they lost big on the “First 3 Picks Exact Outcome” prop. The Joe Burrow/Chase Young/Jeff Okudah was the most popular bet of the night.

Eichner said that their biggest loss was on Tua Tagovailoa being the second quarterback selected. PointsBet was running a promotion, which moved the line from -115 to +140 and that resulted in a five-figure loss for the book.

“It was like our UFC 246 promotion with Conor McGregor,” Eichner said. “Our clients really loved it, but ultimately we had to take one on the chin.”

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