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How To Bet On The NFL Draft: 2023 Betting Guide

The NFL draft odds are a rare opportunity in sports betting that makes sportsbook directors cringe. It’s gotten to the point that oddsmakers set lines out of obligation and await the punishment like a Jackass stuntman closing his eyes, waiting to receive the pain, so the audience is happy.

That audience – sharp and public sports bettors – has been very happy after the last few NFL drafts with many sportsbooks reporting losses afterward. In order to mitigate damages, bookmakers have employed every trick in the book in recent years.

We’ve seen oddsmakers pull NFL props altogether, put serious limits on bet amounts, or wait until the last minute to post the lines. In poker terms, these strategies by sportsbooks are “tells” that they have a weak hand.

Why NFL Draft Odds are so hard on Bookmakers

For bookmakers in the U.S., props on NFL draft odds are relatively new and they’re still fine-tuning their product. Think of them during the NFL draft as a first-year coach who hasn’t been put in certain situations before. There have been growing pains since regulators allowed NFL draft prop betting in Nevada in 2017.

Because we live in the information age when bettors have access to information in places like Twitter, savvy bettors can access insights at the same time as the bookmakers.

However, bookmakers are spread thin (the draft occurring shortly after March Madness doesn’t help) and can’t possibly monitor all teams as closely as a random guy from Chicago follows the Bears or as intensely as a sharp guy in Nevada waiting to pounce.

Tips for Betting the NFL Draft

  1. USE TWITTER - Follow NFL teams’ beat writers along with plugged-in national reporters. It can be helpful to have a separate account for this so that you aren’t seeing other distracting non-lucrative content in your feed.
  2. BEWARE OF FAKE NEWS - It’s very common for random people to pretend they are specific writers or national reporters. People don’t look at their credentials and soon enough fake rumors are spreading. Another form of fake news is put out by teams to actual reporters as a smoke screen so other teams don’t realize how much they are locked in on a particular player.
  3. FOLLOW THE LATE STEAM - Obviously use discernment and don’t “blindly” follow the steam but tailing last-minute steam on a player has been very profitable in recent years. Late line movement is likely off news or inside information and the books can’t move the line quickly enough to stop the bleeding. 
  4. COUNTER LIMITS WITH MULTIPLE BOOKS - Want to place a bet for $1,500 but your betting app or betting counter will only let you bet $250? You could make the bet at several places until you’ve hit your intended $1,500 bet. It’s a lot more work and can be a nuisance to open up new accounts, but there are benefits to doing so beyond the NFL draft, so consider it necessary sports betting hygiene. 
  5. ALWAYS SHOP AROUND - Because liability will vary from one sportsbook to the next, you may see very different numbers on the same prop. Always shop around and make sure you’re getting the best number possible.
  6. BE GREEDY - If you know you have an edge on the sportsbook, be greedy and fire away. Obviously, use healthy betting habits and don’t bet what you’re afraid to lose, but NFL draft season is one of those rare times when something that seems too good to be true probably actually is true.
  7. TARGET A SPECIFIC PROP - Props like “How many RBs will be selected in the first round?” or “How many players from X School will be selected in the first round?” take a lot of research. Do your diligence and become an expert on one or two specific props because it’s actually realistic that, with diligence, you could know more about a specific prop than the guy who set the line.   

2023 Draft Value

C.J. Stroud mania is real, so a lot of people will disagree with me, but my favorite NFL draft prop bet is Bryce Young as the No. 1 overall pick (+250). I bet this at +320 and still like the number at +250.

When the draft order was set, Young opened as a -115 wager to go No. 1 overall. Once the Carolina Panthers traded for the No. 1 overall pick, however, rumors started swirling that they were trading up for Stroud so he became the favorite and Young’s odds dropped. Am I certain Young is going to go first overall? No, but there’s too much value here to ignore.

First, I love +250 value on something that seems to be a coin flip and nobody knows for sure. Second, it’s easier for me to believe that Carolina traded up for Young than for Stroud because Young’s tape is eye-popping.

Then, there’s the Michael Lombardi angle. Lombardi, a former GM and current sports betting radio show host, has been on various radio shows telling anyone who will listen that Young is the better player and he thinks the Panthers are drafting him.

Lombardi’s conviction is notable. As a former GM, he’s very plugged in to the league and he still thinks like a GM. Lombardi’s son Matt just got hired by the Raiders but was the Panthers’ QB coach since 2020. Lombardi likely has ties to the Panthers organization, and if he says with conviction that they’re drafting Young, that alone is worthy of a +250 bet.

How To Sign Up At A Sportsbook To Bet On The NFL Draft

Step 1:

Before you learn how to bet on the NFL draft picks, you should select the best sportsbook for you. Sportsbook is the fancy industry name for the betting site or oddsmaker you visit to bet on the draft. All of the betting sites we champion are reputable, safe, secure and meet our criteria, otherwise we wouldn’t recommend them. There are a number of online betting sites to place your first NFL draft bets with.

Step 2:

Sign up. The process is simple and takes only a few minutes. All you need is your name, email address and your deposit information ready. You will also need to enter your birthday to prove that you are of legal betting age.

Fill out the relevant information and wait for a confirmation email or link. Make sure you have your deposit info handy because once the sign-up process is complete, you can place your first bet.

Step 3:

Make a deposit. How you want to fund your account is up to you. Playing for real money at your sportsbook of choice involves finding a deposit option that makes sense for your needs.

The majority of betting sites allow you to make deposits using your credit cards (VisaMasterCardAMEX), e-wallets (PayPalNetellerSkrill) and debit. Many online sports betting sites will accept cryptocurrency as a deposit method. Generally, you’ll find gambling sites that take Bitcoin, Litecoin, Dash and Ethereum.

Step 4:

Place your wager. Now that you’re equipped with enough information to get you going, and you know how to bet on the 2023 NFL Draft, choose a sportsbook from our list and get started!

How Does The NFL Draft Work?

The NFL draft consists of the 32 teams of the National Football League welcoming in the newest crop of players. The order of the NFL draft is decided based on the previous year as the teams with the lowest winning percentage will have the highest draft pick slots.

The team with the worst record in the NFL the previous season will generally have the first overall pick and will be able to select any player eligible for the NFL draft. To be eligible to enter the draft, a player must be at least three years removed from high school.

With so many players on an active NFL roster, you are probably thinking “How many rounds are there in the NFL draft?” In the draft, there are seven rounds and the entire draft process plays out over a three-day span.

With such a long and intense process, teams often put it all on the line and make huge moves, while others swing and miss. For the teams that truly miss the mark in the offseason and lose more free agents than they gain, the NFL will supply them with compensatory picks that will be applied in the following offseason.

How Do NFL Draft Odds Work?

You’re generally deciding between two possible outcomes, either the OVER or UNDER on draft position, or the number of a certain position to be selected. The biggest difference is in picking from select groups of players to be chosen with the No. 1 pick or to be the top player selected at their position.

Wagering On The NFL Draft: Betting Options

If you’re just learning how to bet on the NFL draft, the most common bet type is for who will be the first overall pick. Bet options will focus on the top prospects, especially at the skill positions. Players’ potential landing spots, as well as their draft spot, are available betting options.

Bets will also separate players by position and look at who will be the first QB, WR or RB to be taken. People will also be able to bet on how many of a certain position will be selected in the first round, or overall. Prospects may also be pitted head-to-head for who is the first to be picked.

Moneyline: How To Make A Straight-Up Bet On The NFL Draft

When you visit any of the top online sportsbooks, you’ll see odds that look like this for who will be the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft:

  • CJ Stroud -270
  • Bryce Young +210
  • Anthony Richardson +700
  • Will Levis +5000

In this case, CJ Stroud is the favorite to be selected first overall by the Carolina Panthers. We know this by the minus sign (-). The others are considered underdogs. We know this because of the plus sign (+).

If there is no clear favorite, then the player with the lowest odds would be it. If Stroud was at +150 instead of -180, he’d still be the favorite since those odds would still be the smallest.

If you think Anthony Richardson will be the first overall pick, and you bet $100 on the dynamic quarterback out of Florida, you would get a payout of $800. You would get your original $100 back plus your winnings of $700. If you think Bijan Robinson, Jalen Carter or anyone else with even lower odds of being the first overall pick will be selected at No. 1, you can make a significant profit if you’re correct.

Our Odds Calculator will show you how much you’d win based on the odds and amount bet.

What Is A Draft Prop Bet?

When you bet on the NFL draft, you’re making a prop bet. Short for proposition, this is a bet on the occurrence or non-occurrence of certain player or team milestones that may not directly correlate to the outcome of a particular game. You can make this kind of bet as soon as draft odds are announced. If you see odds you like, jump on them quickly as the lines could move or be taken off the board. 

Prop bets are fun side bets for established gamblers or those just learning how to bet on the NFL draft online and can involve just about anything. NFL draft props will range from:

  • • Who will be the first wide receiver drafted?
  • • Will any first-round draftee put on the wrong hat?
  • • How many Pac-12 players will be drafted in the first round?
  • • Who will the No. 1 pick hug first?

Totals: Betting On Draft Position

When you’re wagering on the draft, you’re betting on either the OVER or UNDER on draft position. For example: Where will Jaxon Smith-Njigba be drafted?

OVER 12.5 pick+110
UNDER 12.5 pick-150

If you think the Ohio State pass catcher will be selected anywhere between 1 and 12, and you bet $150 on the wide receiver, you would get a payout of $250. You would get your original $150 back plus your winnings of $100.

If you think Smith-Njigba will be selected 13th overall or later, and you bet $100 on the Ohio State wideout, you would get a payout of $210. You would get your original $100 back plus your winnings of $110.

The numbers under the Odds column are the juice. This is the cut the sportsbook takes from your bet. It’s like paying a tax or commission.

When you see -150, it means you have to bet $150 to win $100. When you see +110, it means you’ll have to bet $100 to win $110.

Live Draft Betting: Wagering While The Draft Is Unfolding

One of the greatest things about betting on the NFL draft, besides the potential to win money, is live betting. Football wagering sites offer live odds and lines as the draft is going on, giving you the chance to bet on almost every selection. If a prospect gets drafted fifth overall instead of 12th as he was initially projected, then that will have an effect on live odds and lines with regard to the remaining selections.

Futures: Who Will Win It All?

Football betting sportsbooks offer NFL wagering year-round in the form of futures. These are bets made on events that usually take place at the end of the season. You can bet on things like which teams will win their divisions, NFL season win totals, which teams will make it to the Super Bowl, total passing and rushing yards, where NFL free agents will land, and all NFL draft picks.

Learning how to bet on the NFL draft can even help your overall football betting. The draft will have a direct impact on futures based on team selections, so check out updated odds on which team will win the championship in 2024 in our Super Bowl 58 odds article!

How To Bet On The NFL Draft FAQ

Can I Bet On The NFL Draft?

Yes, you can bet on the NFL draft. You can wager on things like which player will be drafted first overall, who will be the first wide receiver selected, whether a particular player will go OVER/UNDER a certain draft position, or even the number of running backs who will get drafted.

How Many Rounds Are In The NFL Draft?

There are a total of seven rounds in the NFL draft. Teams are given 10 minutes to make each pick in the first round, seven minutes to make each selection in the second round, five minutes to make each pick in rounds 3 through 6, and four minutes for each pick in the seventh and final round.

How Long Does The NFL Draft Last?

The NFL draft is conducted over three days at an approximate total length of 13 to 14 hours. The first-round broadcast of the NFL draft lasts roughly three hours. Rounds 2 and 3 last around four hours, and rounds 4 through 7 of the NFL draft take anywhere from six to seven hours.

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