The great unknown in the NFL Draft is picking up a lot of steam. Whether media members are taking the bait or the rumors have some validity, the trade winds are blowing hard just a couple days out from the first round on April 23.
With the Washington Redskins, Detroit Lions, and New York Giants all reportedly exploring their trade options, the betting markets have responded, as they often do. The mock draft went poorly with tons of technical glitches and major issues, which could force some teams to show their hands a little bit earlier.
Bandwidth issues during the virtual drafting process and communication concerns within teams could take away some of the trade drama on draft day. Teams may need to complete their transactions ahead of time because of a limited pick window and all of the technological concerns. The betting markets will be plenty active over the next 60 hours because teams are likely to have to get on the same page long before they are on the clock. Given how much of a debacle this whole virtual draft thing could be, we could argue that the teams are already on the clock.
When that is the case, leaks occur. Teams are going to have to have their blueprints and draft boards ready to go and some team official is likely to spill the beans. Of course, some of those beans could actually be decoys to lead other teams down the wrong path. It isn’t a new development to see beat writers played like a cheap fiddle to do bidding for teams and agents that need to put some misinformation out.
Like I talked about last week, the betting market is your Draft Sherpa. Follow the happenings there with odds changes and things of that sort and you will be able to read the tea leaves. It won’t be an exact science and some things won’t work out entirely as planned, but the betting markets are likely to be more accurate than the media members and mock drafters.
That brings us to the ongoing Tua Tagovailoa saga. We’re back up to Tua at -160 to be the second quarterback drafted at BetOnline Sportsbook. DSI Sportsbook is up to -170, with 5Dimes Sportsbook at -155, and Bovada Sportsbook still with the low price of -105.
This one has fluctuated all over the place for the better part of two weeks. Tua has been the favorite for most of that time, but there was also a time when Tua and Justin Herbert were priced similarly in the -115 to -120 range. At this point in time, Tua is the clear favorite across most of the market.
Are the trade winds the main reason why? For the last couple of weeks, it would seem that the Miami Dolphins maybe favor Herbert over Tua because of the medical concerns with the former Alabama signal caller. Have the Dolphins been playing the game, so to speak, with their reported Herbert interest? If Herbert is the preferred choice at the 5th pick, then that would mean a trade would have to catapult a team above the Dolphins in the draft order for Tua to be the second QB off the board.
It could simply be that the Dolphins actually do want Tua and are content to take him with the 5th pick and the markets have shifted through the BS to come to the conclusion that Miami is going to take the southpaw. BetOnline has Tua going 5th as the favorite at +150, but Field (any other pick) is a second favorite at +250 ahead of 3rd, 6th, 4th, and 2nd.
There have been some stories written about a potential drop for Tua based on the unclear medical reports and the unique nature of the procedure that he had. I don’t really believe that to be the case. The market is lined as such because the Dolphins or a team that trades up are the most likely landing spots for him. The 6th pick belongs to the Los Angeles Chargers, who may simply prefer Herbert or don’t expect Tua to be there. The Lions at 3, the Redskins at 2, and the Giants at 4 don’t need Tua. Any of those three picks would require a trade, which is possible, but I’d put the odds of that lower than what the reporters starving for clicks would have you believe.
Something to watch in the lead-up to the draft is how quickly the offshore sportsbooks take down the NFL Draft odds. Generally speaking, odds disappear on draft day because there are likely to be some big shenanigans at play. Bettors are going to find out definitive answers from sources within the teams and the books are likely to be exposed at that point in time. However, with record betting handles for the draft because of COVID-19, the books may be willing to embrace a little more risk in order to keep taking money on the only thing garnering significant interest.
As teams make their final preparations, it would be wise of you to do the same for the 2020 NFL Draft. As mentioned, the numerous technical glitches during the mock draft made the rounds on social media on Monday and those things are likely to force teams to either know exactly what they want to do today or tomorrow or create a more conservative approach on draft day. That will have impact in the betting markets, so that is what you need to be focused on over the next 48 hours.
Also, as always, in any industry, let alone the reporting of sports, focus on who you feel like you can trust for information. Well-sourced reporters that have a reputation for being right are going to be better for intel than those that are reporting every single rumor that they hear.
The media is a powerful weapon and that is true of something like the NFL Draft. A fraction of what gets reported is actually true. The rest is conjecture or a deliberate attempt to throw somebody off of the scent. It’s all about the social media engagements and the clicks for some of these guys. Narrow the window of the people whose reporting you trust and you should come out ahead.