Sportsbooks Brace for Major Annual Losses During 2024 NFL Draft

Grant Mitchell
Grant Mitchell
NFL News
Sportsbooks Brace for Major Annual Losses During 2024 NFL Draft


  • Last year’s draft was headlined by controversy at the top pick
  • Jayden Daniels could unexpectedly fall out of the second pick
  • Several players’ draft odds are extremely volatile

The NFL Draft is one of the few times of the year when the oddsmakers are mostly at the mercy of the NFL betting public.

"I have emotions on both ends of the spectrum,” said Circa Sports’ Derek Stevens. “Number one, as a football fan, I absolutely love the NFL Draft. But more recently, since we’ve gotten into the sports betting arena, I’ve come to dread it."

With less than 48 hours until the first round of the NFL Draft in Detroit, MI, legal sportsbooks are anxiously waiting to see the damage that will be done by the end of this year’s event.

A rare situation

The NFL Draft is one of the very few situations in which online sports betting sites provide odds for events that aren’t settled on the field, court, diamond, in the ring, or any arena of play.

Instead, winners and losers are graded by whether NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell reads a particular player’s name while standing behind a lectern.

As straightforward as that sounds, it can be quite controversial. Last year, a Reddit user posted a few days before the draft that University of Kentucky quarterback Will Levis had told his family that he was going to be taken by the Carolina Panthers with the first pick in the draft.

That post caused Levis’ odds of being the first name off the board to soar, resulting in shock when he fell all the way to the Tennessee Titans in the second round.

The controversy this year surrounds projected second-overall pick and reigning Heisman trophy winner Jayden Daniels, a quarterback from LSU whose agent expressed public frustration with the Washington Commanders’ pre-draft evaluation process.

Washington, slated to pick second, met with Daniels, Drake Maye, J.J. McCarthy, and Michael Penix Jr. as a group, as reported by Commanders Wire last Wednesday. Daniels’ agent, Ron Butler, liked two posts on X (formerly Twitter) that condemned the meeting

ESPN’s Adam Schefter confirmed the frustration in Daniels’ camp and reported that it “didn’t seem to go over too well” with Butler.

Despite that, DraftKings Sportsbook has Daniels as a -350 favorite to be the second pick in the draft.

"There’s so much information," Stevens said. "It’s an impossible task for our risk room to be successful at it. There are such wild odds swings."

How will the 2024 NFL Draft unfold?

Daniels is only one of many question marks that exist ahead of the draft.

Michigan QB and national champion J.J. McCarthy is firmly expected to be taken in the top 10, and he only just became the favorite to be the fifth pick on Tuesday. He was second to LSU wideout Malik Nabers.

The twist there is that the team picking fifth, the Los Angeles Chargers, already have a franchise quarterback in Justin Herbert. Unless Jim Harbaugh is willing to make a major shake-up in his first couple of months on the job, that means the pick will likely be traded to a team further down the board.

Everything can change after that. A team that was eyeing McCarthy at a lower pick could trade back since they no longer have a player they want, or they could trade up to get the next-best available QB.

"On a scale of 1 to 10, [the volatility] a 10," Circa Sports risk manager Dylan Sullivan said. "My goal is to win. It is not an easy goal."

Sullivan also highlighted Tulane QB Michael Pratt, who is a hot prospect as a mid-round selection.

“Pratt has bounced around [an over/under draft position] between 130.5 and 165.5,” said Sullivan. “That’s the biggest mover by number of positions.”

DraftKings, FanDuel, and more legal sportsbooks offer a wide variety of betting markets for bettors all the way until the time of the draft.

The Chicago Bears are expected to kick-off the draft, which starts Thursday at 7:00 p.m. ET at Campus Martius Park and Hart Plaza in downtown Detroit, with the selection of USC QB Caleb Williams. Everything after that will determine if the public can maintain its standard of excellence over the books.