The coronavirus pandemic has taken away–among other things–professional sports for millions of sports fans across the country. As a result, newly legal sportsbooks missed out on what should have been a thriving basketball season. Many sportsbooks have turned to alternative events to create betting lines on, like the NFL draft from April 23 to April 25.
How Demand For NFL Draft Bets Spiked
Without college and professional basketball, the biggest sporting event is the NFL draft. With one good betting option, bettors are pouring into online sportsbooks. In fact, FanDuel expects to see ten times more NFL draft bets in 2020 than 2019.
These bets are a critical lifeline for sportsbooks who were hoping to cash in on the NCAA tournament and March Madness brackets. States like Michigan found themselves in the unfortunate position of finalizing in-person betting rules on March 11 so that sportsbooks could the start of the NCAA tournament. Instead, its casinos closed within a week due to the coronavirus. Even worse, Michigan didn’t have online betting regulations in place, so no online sportsbooks were available in Michigan.
Where Does That Leave Colorado Sportsbooks?
The excitement around the NFL draft is invigorating for sportsbooks across the country, but Colorado sportsbooks will miss it. It’s possible that Colorado sportsbooks will get creative with betting events throughout the summer. The increased interest in major NFL events may create new betting opportunities. The NFL’s post-Draft rookie minicamps run May 1 to May 4. That’s a potential start for Colorado sportsbooks.
However, the next big NFL opportunity for sportsbooks probably won’t be until September 5. That’s the day that all NFL teams have to finalize their Active/Inactive lists. Betting on who will make a roster’s final 53 players would be a great betting event before the NFL season begins. But that leaves four months of empty summer that Colorado sportsbooks will have to fill. That’s assuming the NFL season begins on time, and you know what they say about assuming.
How Coloradans Can Get In On NFL Draft Betting
Unfortunately, sports betting doesn’t go live in Colorado until May 1. That means Colorado bettors won’t be able to place fun prop bets on the Draft, like whether Roger Goodell will wear a suit. However, there’s still one betting-adjacent outlet available: fantasy sports.
Through a legal technicality, DraftKings’ fantasy sports has been legal in Colorado years before sports betting was legalized. As a result, Coloradans have been able to build fantasy teams and potentially profit off them for many NFL seasons.
The NFL draft is no different. DraftKings is running mock NFL drafts where players can pick their drafts and see how they play out. Fantasy sport veterans will find it familiar, but rookie bettors will have no trouble with it, either. (Although, whether bettors can pick the draft as well as they can build an NFL team remains to be seen.) While it’s not the same as sports betting, it’s a good way for Coloradans to get some sports gaming action.
What Types Of Bets Are Available On The NFL Draft?
Bettors around the country will find an incredible number of prop bets available. Predictable bets, like the first draft pick, the last draft pick, and the number of players chosen each around are easy fodder for sportsbooks to offer. These bets are endlessly subdivided by draft round, by player position, and by player. Bettors can even wager on which players will be drafted before or after other players in head-to-head style bets. There is an unimaginably massive number of bets available for the 2020 draft.
But these bets aren’t just to satisfy the new influx of bettors. The activity in these sportsbooks is the closest return to normalcy since the coronavirus outbreak began. It’s no wonder bettors are out in droves. The NFL draft will be three days of the live competition fans have been starved of all spring.
How Does The Broncos Draft Look?
Since the NFL draft is the biggest sporting event so far this year, it’s worth knowing where the Broncos stand. Especially after a disappointing 2019 season (see the Vikings game where the Broncos threw a 20 point lead away) the Broncos need to use their draft picks wisely. Five of their choices are in the top 100, so the Broncos have some room to onboard some serious talent. Two big names being floated are:
The internet opinions agree on one thing. The Broncos need a wide receiver from a good southern school. The Broncos’ 2019 season was characterized by strong first halves that were wasted in poor second halves. Having someone who can complete passes in the back half of the game would transform the Broncos’ performance in 2020. If there’s a bet on how much second-half game time new wide receiver picks will get in the next season, bettors could probably take those odds.
Colorado Sportsbook Outlook
Colorado’s sportsbooks will be off to a challenging start. Many of them will just miss the NFL draft frenzy that’ll ease the financial burden inflicted by the coronavirus pandemic. However, Broncos Nation will be scrutinizing their team to see whether the Denver Broncos will reinvent themselves in 2020. That scrutiny will create critical opportunities for Colorado sportsbooks to offer compelling betting lines to its new customers.
It’s a season of hope and change for everyone, and the Rocky Mountain State has no choice but to persevere, adapt, and overcome.