NFL ‘Virtual’ Draft Set to Smash Previous Records and Become Biggest Ever

Here’s a definitive guide to the selection of American Football’s hottest properties

The NFL draft is set to smash betting records in the UK and worldwide to become the biggest EVER, according to Britain’s dedicated US-sports bookmaker RedZone.bet.

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Sport-starved UK fans are gearing up to follow the NFL’s annual draft in record numbers this week – despite the socially-distanced event now taking place via Zoom instead of the scheduled star-studded bash in Las Vegas.

The 2020 edition will look like nothing we’ve ever seen before – procession, ceremony, glitz and glamour will be replaced by dodgy Wi-Fi connections and dingy dial-ins from basements across America as the best of college football gets snapped up by the major franchises.

But according to RedZone, the UK (and global) betting markets will see record numbers this week, from upwards of $30million stateside to over £5million at home – which would make it by far the biggest ever draft, not to mention swelling global TV audiences.

Below is a definitive guide filled with everything you need to know, with the expert help of Steve Baumohl, co-founder and Head of Trading at RedZone.bet – a man who has seen it all in the NFL and is gearing up for a hectic few days at the trading computers.

Here, he provides commentary, stats, best odds and market movers to further understand why this year’s draft is quite unlike any other…

Why is the 2020 draft so unique?

Steve Baumohl: “The show that was put on in Nashville for the draft last year was spectacular, with 500,000 people attending – and this year’s event in Las Vegas was promising to be even bigger before most things fell victim to Covid-19.

“But it is a testament to the sport, the fans, and the NFL itself that the buzz around this ‘virtual’ draft is as big as ever and looks set to smash records.

“With the NFL delivering lighting and cameras to 58 draft prospects to set up home filming plus all the team personnel in their individual ‘war rooms’ this should be compelling viewing and something which I’ve never seen in all my years of following NFL.”

Will this be the biggest draft ever in terms of betting and the biggest betting event in the UK since lockdown?

SB: “It will absolutely blow away all previous records of Draft betting turnover; it already has! Other than the Virtual Grand National, I can’t think of any single event that generated as many bets as we are on track to see on the draft.

“The unfortunate current situation has catapulted an already ascending event into mega status in the UK.”

So how much will be bet and how many will watch in the UK and globally?

SB: “Judging by the business we have seen already, which has easily eclipsed last year’s record turnover even before the last day rush, this will be by far the biggest draft in terms of betting in both the UK and USA.

“With little else on in the sporting world, we have put up over 200 markets for punters to get stuck in to and many other operators have expanded their offerings also. With that in mind, I can see turnover on the draft hitting $30M in the US and as much as £5m in the UK.

“As far as viewing figures, expect the average numbers to resemble those of a typical Monday night NFL game and reach as high as 13million with as many as 80million total viewers in the States.

Top players to watch

SB: “Joe Burrow and Chase Young are pretty much certainties to go first and second but the third overall pick is up in the air. We have Jeffrey Okudah as 11/10 favourite but it really is quite open, especially with this pick being a possible trade spot for teams looking to jump up.

“The quarterbacks, after Burrow, are very interesting with Justin Herbert recently taking favouritism from Tua Tagovailoa; it appears that with the lockdown teams are unable to get a proper physical on Tagovailoa’s hip dislocation recovery and his stock is slipping.

“The offensive linemen are also intriguing with any one of Jedrick Wills Jr, Tristan Wirfs or Andrew Watson being a top 5 pick.

“This is also regarded as one of the best ever wide receiver classes and the top three prospects, Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb and Henry Ruggs III, all look like making immediate impacts for whoever gets them but the crop is much deeper and there will likely be players who would be first round picks in any other year available in the second and third rounds.

“For fans of running backs, we don’t expect much action in the first round with odds of only 2/5 that we see any drafted on Thursday but when it happens, we have D’Andre Swift expected to be the first off the board at odds of 4/7.”

Top draft markets

2nd quarterback drafted:

  • Justin Herbert: 4/5
  • Tua Tagovailoa: Evens

Total wide receivers in round 1

  • Over 5.5: 1/2
  • Under 5.5: 6/4

Round 1 most picks

  • Offensive players: 1/2
  • Defensive players: 6/4

Alabama first round picks

  • Over 5.5: 11/10
  • Under 5.5: 4/6

LSU first round picks:

  • Over 5.5: 9/4
  • Under 5.5: 1/3

Ohio State first round picks

  • Over 2.5: 3/1
  • Under 2.5: 2/9

Will New England’s first pick be a quarterback?

  • Yes: 7/2
  • No: 1/5

Will Grant Delpit be picked in the 1st round?

  • Yes: 7/5
  • No: 4/7

Who will draft Tua Tagovailoa?

  • Miami Dolphins: 6/4
  • LA Chargers: 7/4
  • Jacksonville Jaguars: 5/1
  • Detroit Lions: 8/1
  • Las Vegas Raiders: 8/1
  • Washington Redskins: 12/1

*all odds from RedZone.bet

Main top pick draft markets

1st overall pick

  • Joe Burrow: 1/100
  • Chase Young: 14/1
  • Tua Tagovailoa: 20/1
  • Justin Herbert: 30/1
  • Andrew Thomas: 30/1

2nd overall pick

  • Chase Young: 1/30
  • Tua Tagovailoa: 15/1
  • Justin Herbert: 17/1
  • Isiah Simmons: 25/1
  • Joe Burrow: 25/1
  • Jeffrey Okudah: 33/1

3rd overall pick

  • Jeffrey Okudah: 11/10
  • Justin Herbert: 4/1
  • Tua Tagovailoa: 9/2
  • Derrick Brown: 5/1
  • Isiah Simmons: 10/1

*all odds from RedZone.bet

NFL Draft Pick Betting Market Movers

  • CeeDee Lamb (20/23) is now favourite to be the first wide receiver taken – it was Jerry Jeudy (23/20) as favourite a couple of days ago
  • Justin Herbert (20/27) is now favourite to be the 2nd quarterback taken, it was Tua Tagovailoa (Evens)
  • Tristan Wirfs (11/10) has been favourite for first offensive lineman for ages, but Jedrick Wills Jr (10/11) took that spot in last day or so

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