Unless you’re entrenched in one of the 32 professional football franchises or a respected, professional insider, your biggest edge betting the NFL draft will hinge on your ability to react to news.
Timeliness is an important factor in any market, but the draft is a different animal. Rumors and reports surface daily, especially with the event now just weeks away. Smart bettors not only prioritize urgency but can effectively sift through the smokescreens and false narratives that permeate the draft process.
The 2021 board is starting to take shape, but there’s still time to make money. If you’re willing to act quickly, here are a few simple tips to maximize your profits.
Hit the late window
We see it every year: Prospects skyrocket up draft boards due to a plethora of factors.
A mid-major cornerback runs a blazing fast unofficial 40-yard dash and automatically slips into first-round mocks; a quarterback-needy team – like the 49ers this year – moves up, subsequently sending odds on the move; hell, DK Metcalf shattered a couple of records at his pro day and showed us what 1.6% body fat looks like, then closed as the betting favorite to be the first receiver off the board; he was the sixth.
In hindsight, was it a brutal decision by the other 31 teams? Of course, but the point stands. The market is quick to react to any pre-draft buzz.
And we’ve already caught a glimpse of the first wave of this year’s risers.
Prospects such as Florida tight end Kyle Pitts or Alabama quarterback Mac Jones were perceived as mid-first-round targets just weeks ago. Now, both are on the cusp of being selected in the top five. Bettors who got down on draft position totals or other props are sitting pretty.
If you’re just now arriving at the party, fear not; there’s usually one more window late in the draft process during which you can capitalize on news.
Just last year, players like Isaiah Wilson, Brandon Aiyuk, and Austin Jackson were all late bloomers. Multiple legitimate reporters cited first-round buzz, so make sure you have those Twitter notifications turned on.
Expect a couple more hot commodities to climb the rankings in the coming days.
Expand your portfolio
Imagine digging for a treasure chest, only to stumble upon three of them. Would you loot all three, or just the one you came for? It’s not a trick question.
If you have a legitimate edge in the draft market, don’t stop there – there are plenty of other correlated plays you can make.
Suppose you have a good feeling that LSU wide receiver Terrace Marshall – a fringe first-rounder – will go on Day 1. Not only can you invest in the under on his draft position total, but you can also go over on other props like the total number of wide receivers or SEC prospects drafted in the first round.
Don’t be afraid to cover all your bases.
Find value after the 1st round
If you aren’t making bets outside the first round, you’re doing yourself – and your bankroll – a disservice. Obviously, it’s the meat of the draft; most props take place in the first. And who doesn’t enjoy the anticipation of the commissioner spilling the pick at the podium on that first day, rather than watching the decade-long Packers season-ticket holder stumble through the team’s sixth-round pick in the background of a Saturday interview?
Instead of competing with the market over popular bets, take a second look at draft position over/unders or player matchup props (will quarterback X or quarterback Y be selected first?) for mid- and late-round prospects.
Congratulations! You just turned what’s usually a one-night betting event for most people into a full-weekend extravaganza.
And that might be the biggest win of the draft.
Alex Kolodziej is a betting writer for theScore. He can quote every line from “Rounders” and appreciates franchises that regularly wear alternate jerseys. Find him on Twitter @AJKolodziej.