National Football League
NFL Draft betting recap: 'We got killed on Penix going in the top 10'
National Football League

NFL Draft betting recap: 'We got killed on Penix going in the top 10'

Updated Apr. 29, 2024 3:18 p.m. ET

The NFL Draft odds market represents a rare time when bettors have an edge against the bookmakers. As noted last week, prior to the festivities in Detroit, it’s difficult for sportsbooks to win on NFL Draft betting.

One reason for that: Crazy things tend to happen. Like Michael Penix Jr. getting drafted eighth overall by a team that just signed Kirk Cousins to a four-year, $100 million deal.

"We got killed on Penix going in the top 10," BetMGM Nevada’s Scott Shelton said.

Multiple oddsmakers chimed in on how the books and the bettors did to NFL Draft odds this weekend.


Absolutely Stunned

Prior to Round 1 on Thursday night, Penix was projected to go either late in the first round or early in the second round. Oddsmakers fully expected four quarterbacks — Caleb Williams, Jayden Daniels, Drake Maye and J.J. McCarthy — to go quickly, within the first five picks.

When McCarthy didn’t go at No. 5, the thought process was that the Michigan star would go to the Minnesota Vikings at No. 11 — which actually became the 10th pick, after a trade with the Jets. And from there, the expectation was a wait-and-see on whether Penix or Oregon standout Bo Nix would make the first-round cut.

Instead, the Atlanta Falcons shocked everyone by selecting Penix far higher than any oddsmaker or mock draft projected, at No. 8 overall.

"Just like anybody else who pays close attention to football, I was stunned," Caesars Sports Head of Football Joey Feazel said. "The consensus was that the Falcons were gonna go with defense. They pulled the bunny out of the hat."

Comparisons were made to the Green Bay Packers in the 2020 Draft. Even though Aaron Rodgers was healthy and playing at an MVP level, the Packers took Utah State’s Jordan Love in the first round. But that was with the 26th pick overall.

"To do it at No. 8, I’m absolutely stunned trying to figure out what the Falcons’ plan is. It’s an interesting move," Feazel said.

Falcons select Michael Penix Jr. 8th overall in the ’shocker’ of the NFL Draft

RELATED: 2025 NFL Mock Draft

Domino Effect

Penix going No. 8 overall affected several prop bets in the NFL Draft odds market. Caesars Sports had Penix’s Over/Under draft position at 32.5, and the Under was a solid favorite. But not on the expectation that he’d go in the top 10.

"We had extremely heavy juice to the Under, at -400, which means there was a 75% chance of Penix going in the first round. So we were expecting the first round, but we were not expecting top 10," Feazel said. "That was a good result for bettors."

At BetMGM Nevada, as Shelton alluded to above, there was a prop of whether Penix would be a top-10 pick. Yes was +2500, meaning a $100 bet would profit $2,500, for a $2,600 total payout. Enough action came in at those long odds to do some damage.

Further, with Penix going No. 8 overall and McCarthy going 10th to the Vikings, the prop of Over/Under 4.5 QBs selected in the first round was decided quite early. Then, with the 12th overall pick, the Denver Broncos took Nix, who wasn’t expected to go until early in the second round.

So six quarterbacks got snapped up in the first 12 picks, with most of the action on Over 4.5, which was good for the public betting masses.

"We expected McCarthy to go early. But once that Penix pick happened, we knew that prop was gonna go Over," Feazel said.

Does Bo Nix fit in Denver?

RELATED: 2025 NFL Draft odds, Sanders favored to go No. 1

Mixed Bag

Most of the action in NFL Draft betting came on first-round props, and Caesars Sports was fine with its modest losing result.

"Outside of quarterback, we did well in Round 1," Feazel said. "We were a small loser to the first round. The Draft is not something we expect to be a giant moneymaker. So we’re very comfortable with how we came out."

Caesars came out ahead on the final prop that could be decided: What player position would be taken with the final pick of the NFL Draft, aka Mr. Irrelevant?

"We need anybody but an edge rusher," Feazel said prior to Saturday’s seventh round.

Safety Jaylen Key was the final pick, going to the Jets.

Circa Sports was the rare book that actually did well to the first-round QB flood. Just before the Draft began on Thursday night, operations director Jeff Benson said via text message:

"More than four QBs going in Round 1 is good. We do well to Nix-Penix Unders."

However, Circa didn’t do well to seven wide receivers going in the first round. Marvin Harrison Jr. led that charge at No. 4 overall to the Arizona Cardinals, though he was fully expected to be an early pick. 

However, four of the last 10 picks in Round 1 were wideouts.

Circa also needed Under 13.5 on the draft position for defensive tackle Byron Murphy II. Murphy went No. 16 overall to the Seattle Seahawks.

After doing the accounting work on Saturday night, Circa Sports was in the red on NFL Draft odds.

"We lost again. Shocking? Nope. It’s par for the course with this tomfoolery. But we had fun booking it," Benson said.

Patrick Everson is a sports betting analyst for FOX Sports and senior reporter for He is a distinguished journalist in the national sports betting space. He’s based in Las Vegas, where he enjoys golfing in 110-degree heat. Follow him on Twitter: @PatrickE_Vegas.

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