NFL Draft Betting Chaos: What If Jacksonville Passes On Trevor Lawrence?

Posted By Russ Mitchell on April 28, 2021

The NFL Draft can be life-changing for the athletes.

But don’t look for it to be odds-changing in the world of futures wagering.

There are exceptions, but Darren Darby, the sports trader at BetMGM, sees relatively stable Super Bowl odds even after teams add rookies to their rosters through the draft.

Darby said:

“Should Jaguars go a different route and not take (Clemson QB Trevor) Lawrence No. 1 overall and instead take a WR, then this would impact their futures price negatively. Rookies contribute on teams for sure, but I would expect only subtle changes after this weekend concludes — unless there is a blockbuster move.”

NFL Network, ABC, ESPN and ESPN Deportes will carry the NFL Draft. It’s a three-day event:

  • Round 1 — 7 p.m. Thursday, April 29
  • Rounds 2-3 — 6 p.m. Friday, April 30
  • Rounds 4-7 — 11 a.m. Saturday, May 1

The NFL Draft isn’t a wagering event in Iowa. Bets on “sports-related events” like pro sports drafts and individual player awards aren’t allowed yet. Bettors in the Hawkeye State can still wager on the draft’s impact through futures markets, however.

Quarterbacks shape NFL Draft, futures odds

Pro football analysts call Trevor Lawrence one of the best quarterback prospects in years, and he “inevitably has an impact on Jacksonville’s odds,” according to Jay Croucher, the USA head of trading at PointsBet. But:

“That’s largely already baked in. We don’t need to wait for draft night for the Jags to most likely get Lawrence on their roster.”

Farther up the Atlantic coastline and further down the draft, New England could be in the market for a quarterback. A 7-9 record leaves them at pick 15 of the first round, however. The top five quarterbacks could be off the board by then.

“If they were to get (Ohio State quarterback) Justin Fields, who has probably higher upside than (current starter) Cam Newton for next year, that might also alter their odds. But, beyond the quarterbacks, there’s not going to be too much in terms of individual picks that shift the Super Bowl market in particular.”

Here’s a look at Super Bowl odds leading into the NFL Draft. The league’s 32 teams will select 259 players over the weekend:

Betting on a future champion

Darby, at BetMGM, said a multitude of factors go into Super Bowl futures odds:

  • Squad stability and experience
  • Cap space during free agency
  • Head coaching experience
  • The number of players coming back to (or joining) a playoff-caliber team.

“If a team comes out of the draft having not addressed a key need then their future odds could move,” Darby said.

If a blockbuster trade happens, look for futures odds to change almost immediately at BetMGM. The sportsbook’s traders don’t wait for the end of the draft to make adjustments for the upcoming season. Darby added:

“The biggest focus is on the first round. These are the best players, the most recognizable to customers, hence why they get a whole day to themselves and the other rounds are compacted into the other days.

PointsBet also updates NFL futures odds in real-time. A good pick might only move a team’s odds from 25-to-1 to 20-to-1, for example.

Croucher said:

“For instance if a team trades their quarterback on draft night and drafts a younger replacement who is probably going to be more raw and not as pro-ready, then that team might immediately drift out in the Super Bowl market. … If there was an absolute shock, and someone traded up to number one to get Trevor Lawrence, that might have a significant impact on the odds, but short of that most of the changes will be will be relatively minor.”

Photo by John Bazemore / AP
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Russ Mitchell has been covering news and sports in northwest Iowa since 1997, including 11 years as managing editor for one of the most acclaimed community newspapers in the state. He looks forward to keeping readers up to date on the growing sportsbook industry in Iowa.

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