Live NFL Draft Updates: Pick by pick first-round news and analysis

Ken Bilson

credit…Isaac Brecken for The New York Times

Not everyone in Las Vegas is happy that the NFL Draft is coming to town. Hotels will be full, restaurants will be full and tens of thousands of fans visiting the three-day event will undoubtedly head to the many casinos here.

But for Jay Cornegai, vice president of Westgate SuperBook, one of Las Vegas’ biggest sportsbooks, the draft is likely to be a waste of money. Lots of bookies have a lot of data about the NFL teams and the college players that might help them. Some might call this a level playing field, but a math book that relies on “uneven” amounts of data (more for them, less for bettors) to turn a profit, it’s a recipe for disaster.

“There is just so much information: Smart people have it, beginners have it,” Cornegay said as he sat in the VIP box on the floor of this month’s SuperBook. “It’s my least favorite event because they win.”

Cornegay said Westgate has never made money from the event since Las Vegas sportsbooks began betting the draft in 2017. To limit their exposure, sportsbooks offer relatively low limits, $1,000, versus five-figure limits for typical football games.

Most Las Vegas sportsbooks published their odds just this week. According to BetMGM, Aidan Hutchinson, a rusher from Michigan, is a favorite to generally take first.

In Nevada, bets that include a player’s name are cut 24 hours before the start of the first round of the draft, whether placed by phone or in person in a sportsbook. Bettors who wanted to put money on Hutchinson to be chosen first overall had to do so by Wednesday night.

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Bets that don’t include a player’s name – over/under on the number of players selected, for example, or the number of players from the Southeastern Conference chosen in the first round – can be offset until the start of the round on a given day. Even with these variables, bettors often come out on top.

“There are a few real surprises,” Cornegay said. “I don’t know why we would bet on the draft. We haven’t won any money yet.”

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