Betting the NFL and NBA games may be more fun and fashionable, but betting on their respective drafts are significantly more profitable. Unlike the games themselves, there are no computer algorithms or syndicates to sharpen the lines. The draft prop market is an information business. Whoever has the information first, has the advantage. With the myriad of sports to post lines for, sportsbooks generally do not have the time to research the latest news or mock drafts to be able to stay up-to-date and adjust the lines. The bettor who identifies the most accurate sources, gathers new information, and bets with expediency can make a significant amount of money.
If it is easy money, why don’t the syndicates bet the drafts?
Before we answer to the question, let’s clarify a miscalculation with the question. First, this is not easy money. There is nothing easy about sports betting. If someone tells you there is, they are lying. Although drafts have significantly more +EV plays than sides and totals, it doesn’t make it easy. Draft props are simply easier to beat. A hardworking square can make money on the drafts if they go about it the right way.
In regards to the question, the largest syndicates generally do not bet draft props because they aren’t able to get enough money down to make it worth their while. When you are trying to get tens of thousands of dollars down on a game, it isn’t worth trying to get PointsBet to approve even a $100 wager. If sportsbooks permitted even $1,000 on a draft prop, you would see more syndicates action. This is one of the few examples where low limits actually help a sports bettor.
I want to bet the draft, but I don’t know who the most knowledgeable insiders are. Which mock drafts should I trust?
This can be a major dilemma for a novice bettor attempting to bet the draft for the first time. There are seemingly hundreds of mock drafts that post daily. Many of these mocks are click bait and/or copies of someone else's work. Finding consensus or actionable intel from nearly any of them is either impossible or fool’s gold. Parsing the good from the bad is the key to success. The best mock drafts come from those that are most connected. Sam Vecenie (The Athletic), Jonathan Givony (ESPN), Jonathan Wasserman (Bleacher Report), and Kevin O’Connor (The Ringer) are the most in the know and, coincidentally, also have the most accurate mocks. Following their mocks and finding commonalities and consensus is a profitable endeavor. Find the players that are being mocked off market price and bet accordingly.
The NBA mock drafts have been few and far between. How do I get updated information other than just waiting for the mocks to drop?
The NBA mock draft experts have published their mocks infrequently this year, much less than the NFL mocks were updated. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t information to gather in the meantime. Following the draft experts on Twitter, listening to their podcasts, and reading their articles can give valuable insight and information that most miss. Recently, Jonathan Wasserman was on John Schmeelk’s The Bank Shot and Jonathan Macri's Knicks Film School Podcast. Although they were specifically discussing the New York Knicks, Wasserman dropped several league-wide perspectives on draft eligible players. After listening to a Chad Ford NBA Big Board podcast and hearing the same, I was able to bet before others and certainly before the sportsbooks realized their were posting a bad number.
Is there an NBA draft prop that is currently actionable?
Yesterday, I tweeted out James Bouknight to be drafted before Keon Johnson at DraftKings (-140) and I’m absolutely shocked that this number is still available. According to VegasRefund’s NBA Draft Odd's spreadsheet, James Bouknight has an average mock of 6.8, while Keon Johnson has an average mock of 14.2. O’Connor, Vecenie, and Wasserman all have Bouknight being drafted 6 or 7, while none of them have Johnson being drafted in the lottery. The market has moved to heavier vig on Keon Johnson’s over draft position, but have ignored the head to head market. I have my largest draft prop position on Bouknight over Johnson.
It is also interesting to note that as news breaks, bettors and sportsbooks adjust the player draft position quicker than the head to head market. Looking at the derivative marketplace can be fruitful even if you missed out on the initial line move.
Which are the best NBA Draft Prop Twitter follows?
Twitter historically is littered with complete nonsense. Especially this time of year, everyone seems to be a “Vegas Dave-type” NBA draft expert on Twitter. However, just like the NBA mock drafts themselves, there are some diamonds in the rough. The following is an inexhaustive list of people I follow and trust their opinion on the NBA draft market. They are worth a follow: