Apr 30, 2021
David PurdumESPN Staff Writer
- Joined ESPN in 2014
- Journalist covering gambling industry since 2008
Trey Lance went from underdog to favorite to be the No. 3 pick quickly Thursday afternoon, with a rush of betting action on the quarterback out of North Dakota State hitting sportsbooks leading up to the NFL draft.
Lance was as high as a 15-1 underdog to be taken third in early April, but his odds improved dramatically Thursday afternoon. He closed as the consensus favorite.
The betting market was proved correct when the San Francisco 49ers selected Lance with the third pick and settled the most volatile and most heavily bet proposition wager of the draft.
Alabama quarterback Mac Jones and Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields had been the top two favorites to go third for much of the past three weeks. At Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill, Jones eventually emerged as a -300 odds-on favorite entering draft day. Lance began the day as a 3-1 underdog. That changed in just a few hours Thursday afternoon.
A flurry of betting action showed up on Lance — and against Jones — early in the afternoon, shortly after NFL Network reporter Daniel Jeremiah said on “The Pat McAfee Show” that he was hearing that the North Dakota State quarterback would be the 49ers’ pick.
At 2 p.m. Thursday, DraftKings took a $75,000 bet on Lance to go third at even money, according to a company spokesperson. When it was over, Lance had gone from a 3-1 underdog to closing as a -180 favorite.
The afternoon flurry of action caused sportsbook PointsBet to halt betting on multiple proposition offerings, including the No. 3 pick and the over/under on Jones’ and Lance’s draft positions. More money was bet on Jones to go No. 3 than any other player at most sportsbooks.
The betting interest on the odds to be the No. 3 pick topped all other draft propositions offered at sportsbooks. More than twice as much money was bet on the No. 3 pick as any other draft offering at William Hill. FanDuel said the odds on the No. 3 pick was its most heavily bet market of the draft as well.
“We took a strong position early in the day yesterday on Lance and took plenty of money on Mac Jones at plus-money,” FanDuel sportsbook director John Sheeran told ESPN. “So, the result was positive one for us overall.
“Customers definitely won Round 1, which isn’t that surprising given the top of the draft pretty much went to play.”
Trevor Lawrence closed as a massive -10,000 favorite to be the No. 1 overall pick, and some bettors were willing to risk a lot to win a little that the Jacksonville Jaguars would take the Clemson quarterback.
PointsBet reported taking an $18,000 bet on Lawrence to be the top pick at -10,000 odds. The bettor won a net $180 when the Jaguars selected Lawrence with the first pick.