NFL Draft betting: Tips for winning wagers

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NFL Draft betting is a strange market to handicap when compared to the NFL action on the field. That just means you need a sharp betting strategy when it comes to navigating all the mock drafts and getting the best of the NFL Draft props.

Here are some simple tips for betting the NFL Draft odds.

Tip No. 1: Inside info

Social media is your biggest weapon against the books when finding an edge in the NFL Draft props. Twitter is a firehouse of information, with about a million mock drafts filling your feed in the weeks before the draft.

You’ll want to trim some of the fat and really find the voices that could give you that golden nugget of NFL news – actionable information that you can bank on when placing a bet on the NFL Draft.

Reporters like Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, and Adam Schefter and Josina Anderson of ESPN are must-follows in the months and weeks leading up to the draft. Local beat reporters are also a terrific source of news and rumors, specifically when it comes to team needs and front-office rumblings.

Tip No. 2: Mind the mock drafts

Mock drafts and opinions: everybody’s got’em. You used to only have a handful of mainstream options in terms of projected draft selections. But with the boom in fantasy football over the past decade, there has been a monsoon of mock drafts available to NFL bettors.

The best advice is to avoid treating mock drafts as the gospel and use them more as a comparison tool when searching for value in the NFL Draft props. They’re very handy when it comes to position props – such as “How many quarterbacks will be selected in first round?” – because you can weigh the opinion of multiple draft analyst against the betting odds and find your edge.

If you’re looking to bookmark some of the best NFL mock drafts, experts like Walter Cherepinsky of Walter Football and Evan Silva of Establish The Run have some proven success when it comes to predicting the NFL Draft selection order.

Tip No. 3: Bet early/Bet late

Odds for the NFL Draft are hitting the board earlier and earlier every year. For sportsbooks, draft betting is primarily a sharp market with more action from professionals than the general public.

That means those initial odds offerings get bet as soon as they’re posted and bookmakers move the lines quickly off that sharp money. Following those steam moves is a solid ploy for those looking to get the best of the number and tail the opinion of the wiseguys. Just make sure you’re not too late to the party and all the value is dried up.

If you don’t jump on the early line moves, then it’s best to wait until closer to draft day as any late news and rumors coming out tend to hold more water than whispers from weeks out. In most cases, when a team’s pick or plan is leaked, it’s a race to the window for sports bettors trying to action that info before the bookies adjust.

That said, sportsbooks in Nevada must close their NFL Draft book the day before the draft to limit the risk of any late breaking news influencing the odds and action. So make sure you know the rules around betting the NFL Draft at your particular sportsbook.

Tip No. 4: Shop around

You’ll find a lot of the standard NFL Draft props at most books, like “Which player will go first overall?” and Over/Under pick props on the big-name prospects. However, the odds board varies from book to book in terms of options and prices.

If you’re able to bet with multiple sportsbooks, make sure you shop around and get the best possible return for your opinions. The vig/juice could be significantly different on certain props or a book could off a variation of a prop that benefits the bettors, with less risk or a larger payout. Some online sportsbook will also offer live betting during the NFL Draft, if you’re looking to react to the market pick-to-pick.

 

Longshots to consider when betting the Shoemaker Mile

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Monday’s Shoemaker Miles Stakes at Santa Anita Park is a great race for a number of reasons. For starters, the Shoemaker Mile is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series “Win and You’re In” race that offers the winner a guaranteed spot in the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Mile at Keeneland.

Watch the Shoemaker Mile on Monday, May 25 from 6-8 p.m. ET on NBCSN, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.

The race also features last year’s Preakness Stakes winner, War of Will, making his season debut. Despite his triumphs on the dirt in 2019, War of Will started his career on the turf and his pedigree suggests that he’s very likely to be just as successful on the grass. That said, the Shoemaker Mile will be his first start off of a six-month break, and I’m going to try to take a swing or two with some horses who could upset the apple cart at longer odds.

Let’s start out with the horse on the rail, Without Parole. He won the Group 1 St. James’s Palace Stakes going a mile at Ascot back in 2018. His three other career wins have all came at this mile distance as well. Granted, he hasn’t won in six races since the St. James’s Palace but he did finish a fast-closing third two starts ago in a much tougher U.S. debut in the TVG Breeders’ Cup MileIrad Ortiz Jr. rode Without Parole in that race and he will reclaim the mount on him again on Monday.

Without Parole has only had one race this year and it was in the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational in which he finished second to last. However, he had several excuses right from the start of that race when he got squeezed coming out of the gate. He also raced in traffic throughout and got cut off several times in the stretch before Frankie Dettori — who had come from Europe to ride him at Gulfstream — finally just wrapped up on him. The Pegasus World Cup Turf also was a race that didn’t allow him to run on Lasix (furosemide) after he’d shown significant improvement racing on Lasix for the first time at the Breeders’ Cup.

Stream the 2020 Shoemaker Mile live here

How much of a factor might Lasix be for some horses? Well, let’s next look at the horse who finished last in the Pegasus World Cup Turf: Next Shares. In his following start (back on Lasix) in the Grade 1 Frank E. Kilroe Mile Stakes, Next Shares finished third (beaten just a neck) to River Boyne. Both Next Shares and River Boyne return in the Shoemaker Mile and I prefer the former as a pace play who has plenty of back-class. If you rewatch the Kilroe Mile, Next Shares covered a lot more ground than River Boyne. With a similar effort, Next Shares could certainly turn the tables.

The other thing to like about Next Shares is that his trainer, Richard Baltas, has entered speedster Neptune’s Storm in the Shoemaker Mile. That horse, along with Voodoo Song, should ensure a very brisk pace up front — they’ll also be kept honest by Blitzkrieg and War of Will, both of whom usually race on or near the lead. All of that speed adds up to good news for Next Shares. He’s a Grade 1 winner who has always done his best running when he’s had some pace to run into. The other two keys for him (like all stalking or closing-type runners) is clear running room late, and hopefully he’ll get that with Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez taking the mount.

Lastly, we should take a look at True Valour. It’s hard to make much of an excuse for his flat finish in the Kilroe last out, but he’s truly performed better than what his results on paper might indicate. In the Thunder Road Stakes in February, he looked pretty keen early and it took him a few strides to settle down without throwing his head around and fighting his rider. Turning for home, it was clear that jockey Andrea Atzeni had plenty of horse under him but was just waiting for some running room. It ended up coming too late because River Boyne was in a better spot and had already taken command. True Valour did split horses nicely in the closing stages and was half a jump away from finishing second.

If you go back to the Breeders’ Cup Mile, True Valour had excuses there, too. He was up on heels early and he again took a little bit of time to settle down into a comfortable stride. Then, turning for him, he was just waiting for running room but instead got stuck behind a wall of horses. True Valour ended up steadying pretty badly and lost all chance at that point. I’m a little worried about how headstrong he tends to be early in races, but there’s a scenario here that could have at least two horses battling for the lead early and opening up some daylight on the rest of the field. That means he’ll be less likely to be running up on anyone’s heels and it also ensures that he’ll have a nice setup. Whether he can navigate clear passage late in the race is a separate matter.

Longshot Selections

#1 Without Parole

#3 Next Shares

#2 True Valour

Watch the Shoemaker Mile on Monday, May 25 from 6-8 p.m. ET on NBCSN, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.

How to bet an exacta on a horse race

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Betting an exacta can present a challenge on several levels.

There is, of course, the primary need to analyze past performances and decide which horses are going to finish first and second.

Yet because of the inherently lower payoffs as opposed to what you’ll find in a Pick 3 or Pick 4, you’ll need to structure your wagers effectively in order to turn your selections into a profitable wager.

For starters, an exacta can be a simple wager. If you like two horses equally, you can just box them in the exacta and collect so long as they finish 1-2 in any order. If you like one of them a little more, you can then bet more on the one you prefer, say $10 on a 1-2 exacta and $5 on 2-1.

If you’re a little more uncertain, make sure you structure your bet around the size of the field and the probable payoffs.

If you like a longshot, the higher probable payoffs give you the cushion you need to wager on more combinations and still turn a nice profit.

But if you’re dealing with favorites or horses at relatively low odds, you have to wager more efficiently to preserve your profit.

In a field of six or less, you’re best to either focus on one horse or box two of them instead of boxing three or more horses because of the small payouts the bet will most likely generate.

In a field of seven, a wise strategy would be to box your top two choices and then, if you are worried about other horses, play them top and/or bottom other the other horses. For example, box 1-2, then bet 1-2 over 3-4 and 3-4 over 1-2. This way you are getting coverage on four horses without having to box them.

Once you get an eight-horse field, as long as there is not an overwhelming favorite, you can expand the number of horses you box since the payoffs will typically be higher, giving you a better opportunity to offset the inevitable array of losing tickets in a boxed wager.