NFL Sets Las Vegas For 2022 Draft as 2020 Event Is Sportsbooks Boon

Posted on: April 24, 2020, 11:13h. 

Last updated on: April 26, 2020, 10:24h.

Thursday night was supposed to be Las Vegas’ night to shine. Unfortunately, COVID-19 took away the NFL Draft from the Vegas Strip. But during the football league’s teledraft, Commissioner Roger Goddell gave Sin City residents some good news.

NFL Draft Vegas
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell makes the announcement that the NFL Draft will head to Las Vegas in 2022 after the coronavirus wiped out the league’s plans to hold it there this year. (Image: NFL/ESPN)

Goodell revealed that the 2022 NFL Draft would be held in the Nevada city. Donning a black sweater and silver shirt – the Las Vegas Raiders team colors – he said it would be fitting to make the announcement just before the team made its second pick in the first round.

As you may know, we were scheduled to host the Draft in Vegas this year, and we thank so many for the effort they put forth to prepare that possibility. We think you deserve another shot,” the commissioner said.

The league had previously announced Cleveland as host for next year’s event.

ESPN began its broadcast of the event showing a live shot of an empty Las Vegas Boulevard, with the casinos closed as part of Nevada’s stay-home order. On March 16, the day before Gov. Steve Sisolak issued his statewide order, the NFL announced it was pulling up the stakes on the planned event.

Organizers expected hundreds of thousands would have attended the three-day event, slated to take place on a floating stage by the Bellagio Fountains.

This upcoming season is scheduled to be the first for the Raiders in town, with the club moving from Oakland, where it spent the previous 24 years. Construction work continues on Allegiant Stadium, the Strip-adjacent venue where the Raiders are expected to play this season.

Draft a Hit with Sports Bettors

With no major US sporting leagues or events in action in more than a month, the NFL Draft ended up becoming a major event for US sportsbooks on Thursday night.

DraftKings CEO Jason Robbins said on FOX Business Network Friday that the draft outperformed the average Sunday Night Football game, a feat made more remarkable since Pennsylvania – one of the top sports betting markets – does not allow betting on it since it’s not considered a sporting game or contest.

PlaySugarHouse, a New Jersey mobile sports betting application operated by Rush Street Interactive, reported that both bets placed and money wagered for this year’s first round were triple what they were for the entire seven-round draft last year. Last year’s draft also contended with pro baseball, basketball, and hockey games.

More than $3 out of every $4 wagered Thursday at SugarHouse were bet on the NFL, and most of those dollars were placed on the draft.

The largest bet SugarHouse took was a $5,000 bet on Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb to be the first receiver taken. He ended up being the third wide out selected.

“This was an outstanding opening night for the NFL draft,” Rush Street COO Mattias Stetz said. “We are delighted with the strong wagering action and how bettors supported many imaginative prop bets. They really prepared well for the draft, and they weren’t afraid to bet heavily on some long shots.”

Burrow Futures Bets Already Available

There was little suspense with the first pick, as the Cincinnati Bengals ended up taking LSU quarterback Joe Burrow.

Sportsbooks already have the reigning Heisman Trophy winner and national champion signal caller as the presumptive starter in Cincy, and they believe he may have a prolific rookie year.

BetMGM set the over/under on Burrow’s regular season passing yards at 3,999.5. DraftKings has it at 3,850.5, while FanDuel went with 3,800.5. Those figures are all based on the NFL playing a 16-game schedule this upcoming season.

FanDuel set Burrow’s regular season passing touchdowns total at 22.5, while DraftKings lists it at 21.5.