Not everyone in Las Vegas is happy that the NFL draft is coming to town. The hotels will be packed, the restaurants will be filled and tens of thousands of fans attending the three-day event will no doubt head to the many casinos here.
But for Jay Kornegay, vice president of Westgate SuperBook, one of the biggest sports books in Las Vegas, the draft is likely to be a money loser. Too many players have too much data about NFL teams and college players to help them. Some might call it equal terms, but for a sports book that relies on “asymmetric” amounts of data (more for them, less for players) to make money, it’s a recipe for disaster.
“There’s just so much information out there: The sharp ones have it, beginners have it,” Kornegay said as he sat in a VIP box on the floor of the SuperBook this month. “It’s my least favorite event because they win.”
Kornegay said Westgate had never monetized the event since Las Vegas sportsbooks began betting on the draft in 2017. To limit their exposure, sportsbooks offer relatively low limits, $ 1,000, as opposed to five-digit limits for typical football games.
Most of the Las Vegas sports books only published their odds this week. According to BetMGM, Aidan Hutchinson, an edge rusher from Michigan, is the favorite to be taken first overall.
In Nevada, bets involving a player’s name are suspended 24 hours before the start of the first round of the draft, whether placed by telephone or in person in a sports book. Players who wanted to put money on Hutchinson being selected as the first overall had to do so Wednesday night.
Bets that do not involve a player’s name – e.g. above / below the number of selected linebackers, or the number of players from the Southeastern Conference taken in the first round – can be made until the beginning of the round on a given day. Even with these variables, players come out on top more often.
“There are very few real surprises,” Kornegay said. “I do not know why we are betting on the draft. We have not won any money yet.”