By The Rex Factor
Good luck – they’ll need it.
An unidentified sportsbook asked the Nevada Gaming Control Board if they would sign off on the legalization of betting props on the NFL Draft this year for the first time.
Shockingly, to some, the answer was a “Yes”.
This will no doubt have the other shops across town, who were perhaps caught with their pants down, scurrying around to try to come up with their own numbers in advance of this year’s draft, which starts with the first round on April 27 in Philadelphia. Many books around town have draft parties and know that the NFL has morphed itself into trying to stay relevant for 12 months a year now. It only makes sense that in order to entice fans and potential bettors, to offer props. The unidentified book has forced everyone’s hand, and I know that from experience.
As part of my oddsmaking consultation, I was in charge of making NFL Draft props for an office in Costa Rica from 2009-2012.
It was an unmitigated disaster for the office, as the players shoved my numbers around every year and bloodied that office annually for four straight years before I was finally relieved of those duties (mercifully) before the 2013 NFL Draft.
It’s not like I (and a couple of friends who I swapped ideas with) didn’t do my work – it’s just that the numbers weren’t good enough to beat the savvy bettors that could pick and choose the spots where we were weak.
In 2009, the hold percentage was calamitous. It wasn’t any better in 2010, which is when I made a mental note that I could write off the first year as an accident, and maybe even rue the luck in 2010. In 2011, when it was equally bad for the office, I knew this was something that should be written for low limits and/or entertainment purposes only. I recommended the winning players from 2009 and 2010 to be allowed just $50 limits in order to cut book exposure. They didn’t listen, perhaps thinking they were “due”.
Give credit to a couple of reputable sportsbook operators in Las Vegas for putting a good public relations spin on something that they no doubt are not eagerly anticipating. Jay Kornegay is the Vice President of the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook and appeared on Brent Musburger’s VSiN show “My Guys in the Desert” on Friday and offered the following.
“This totally caught us off guard,” Kornegay said. “We didn’t realize it was going to be an option. It’s something we’re going to go ahead and pursue with caution because there’s so much information out there… I’m curious if there’s going to be a cutoff point, like a couple days before or a day before because of so much information flying around that will certainly influence the odds.
“We’ll probably put a handful of propositions up for this draft in a couple of weeks and then see how it goes. I’m sure we’ll have low limits because we’ve got all of those sharp guys out there. It’s going to be interesting and it will be a real nice option for all of the fans.”
Bettors will not be able to play on individual props, such as who will be the No. 1 pick, but there will be a number of group props (total number of quarterbacks picked in first round, more offensive or defensive players and many more) available up through the close of business on April 26.
I’m not sure who the book is that petitioned the NGCB and got approval from chairman A.G. Burnett and his board, but if it gets out and this is as ugly for the stores as I anticipate it might be, then that store won’t be popular in Las Vegas for awhile.
The suckers aren’t the only ones who are happy to be able to have a draft sweat. The wise guys are dancing in the streets and high-fiving the board.
Trust me, I know from experience.