Kyler Murray remains a heavy favorite at sportsbooks to be the No. 1 overall pick, but his odds were on the move as Thursday’s NFL draft approached.
The odds of the Oklahoma quarterback to be taken first overall by the Arizona Cardinals had been listed at -1,200 in previous weeks at FanDuel’s New Jersey sportsbook, but were down to -400 as of Wednesday morning.
The odds on Murray being the first overall pick have shifted wildly over the past two months as bookmakers tried to keep up with the latest news and mock drafts. On March 5 — the day after the scouting combine concluded — the SuperBook at Westgate Las Vegas installed Murray as a -140 favorite to be the No. 1 pick and took instant action on the favorite. As speculation grew that Murray would be the Cardinals’ pick at No. 1, his odds improved all the way to -2,500 before the SuperBook eventually took the wager off the board this week.
This will be the third year Nevada sportsbooks have taken bets on the NFL draft. Nevada Gaming Control regulations require books to halt betting on the draft 24 hours prior to the event. New Jersey sportsbooks, like FanDuel and DraftKings, are planning to take bets up until the first round kicks off Thursday.
As of Wednesday morning, Bosa had attracted more bets than any other player at multiple sportsbooks. More money had been wagered on Murray, though.
Overall, the NFL draft is not a heavily bet market, bookmakers say, and doesn’t draw much interest from public bettors. The abundance of news leading up to the draft — and separating fact from fiction — makes it a difficult market to book, and the odds are often more reflective of the public’s perception than true probabilities. Oddsmakers simply monitor the news and move their odds to coincide with the betting at their sportsbooks.
“It’s basically mock drafts … that’s your starting point,” Johnny Avello, director of sportsbook operations for DraftKings, told ESPN. “Then, really stay on top of it, because things change really fast with this.”
Houston defensive lineman Ed Oliver (+200) and Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen (+250) are the favorites to be the Jets’ selection with the No. 3 pick. Williams, the Alabama defensive end, is next at +350.