There’s No NFL Draft Betting In Iowa, But That Could Change Eventually

Written By Russ Mitchell on April 26, 2021

Fully-vaccinated NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will be allowed to hug first-round prospects at Thursday’s NFL Draft.

But, the state of Iowa isn’t ready to embrace NFL Draft wagering just yet.

Most states with legalized sports betting allow you bet on whether the country’s best TE is taken before or after the sixth pick. Football fans in Illinois, for example, can bet on whether the Chicago Bears address offense or defense with their first selection.

Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC) Administrator Brian Ohorilko explained:

“I’m not sure if it was an intentional omission or not, but currently, it is not something that is authorized in the state of Iowa. The statute would need to be changed.”

A proposed bill could allow esports and player selection betting.

State Rep. Megan Jones, of rural Sioux Rapids, IA, said some specialized sports bettings options were put “on the back burner” because online gaming is so new in the state.

“We needed to get that going and perfected before we take on any more. That wasn’t an easy bill to get done, so we need a little breathing room. That said, the discussion isn’t off the table. People continue to work on this through informal discussions.”

NFL Draft bets that are off the books — for now

William Hill and DraftKings are the state’s top two sportsbooks, and offer a window into what Iowa bettors are missing.

NFL experts overwhelmingly expect Jacksonville to take Clemson QB Trevor Lawerence when the draft opens Thursday night in Cleveland. Sportsbooks agree. Bettors elsewhere have to risk $10,000 at DraftKings or William Hill, just to win $100 if Lawrence goes first.

The odds are very short for the second overall pick as well: Sportsbooks expect the New York Jets to take BYU quarterback Zach Wilson. To win $100, bettors would have to wager $5,000 at DraftKings and $2,000 at William Hill.

The pro football community isn’t quite as certain once the draft reaches the third pick. Right now, Alabama QB Mac Jones seems to be a fit for the 49ers. Odds are -305 at DraftKings and -300 at William Hill.

More NFL Draft wagers: At a glance

DK set odds for 22 different players to be among the first five picks.

Choices range from Jones (-305) to Virginia Tech cornerback Caleb Farley (+12500). Lawerence and Wilson are locks to be in the top five, so they weren’t assigned moneyline odds.

DK also has odds for:

  • 35 players to be among the first 10 picks starting with Florida tight end Kyle Pitts (-10000) and ending with Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond (+12500). Again, bettors outside of Iowa wouldn’t find odds for the most obvious first-rounders.
  • 37 players to be selected anywhere in the first round starting with Michigan defensive end Kwity Paye (-1667) and ending with Mond (+1800).
  • where Ohio State QB Justin Fields goes. Options start with Carolina and New England at +300 and end with teams that are very set at the position: Kansas City and LA Rams at +50000. The destination for North Dakota State QB Trey Lance is also on the board.

NFL Draft picks around the Midwest

Team-based wagers are also part of a DraftKings NFL Draft menu, which remains out-of-reach for Iowa bettors.

The sportsbook set odds for the position teams will address with their first pick. Here’s a Midwest rundown:

  • Chicago: Top 3 most likely — OL (+180), WR (+275) and CB (+325)
  • Green Bay: Top 3 most likely — WR (+200), OL (+225) and CB (+400)
  • Kansas City: Top 3 most likely — WR (+200), OL (+350) and CB (+400)
  • Minnesota: Top 3 most likely — OL (+120) DL (+175) and CB (+400)

Over at William Hill, the sportsbook offers odds on whether a team drafts offense or defense first. The Midwest examples are:

  • Chicago: First pick offense -300, first pick defense +240
  • Green Bay: First pick offense -145, first pick defense +115
  • Kansas City: First pick defense +100, first pick offense -130
  • Minnesota: First pick defense -120, first pick offense -110
Photo by Rick Bowmer / AP
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Russ Mitchell

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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