Tua Tagovailoa target at NFL Draft

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William Hill director of trading Nick Bogdanovich said players don’t understand Russian table tennis or Belarus soccer much.

Then again, a $50 bettor cashed in for $9,676 on Saturday after hitting a 10-team parlay on Ukrainian table tennis — ahem, ping pong — using his Nevada mobile sports betting app.

The event Bogdanovich is waiting on, with record numbers in sight, is the NFL Draft, scheduled to take place April 23-25. As of Monday, he said, the action has been equal to numbers he’s seen in the past just weeks before the annual event.

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“But I do believe if they concretely say we’re doing this April 23, by far, not even close — I can’t say if it’s five times, 10 times — more than any other draft in draft betting in previous years, just because there’s nothing else to bet on,” Bogdanovich said. “It’ll be magnified and it’s something people can understand. They understand NFL football.”

Other events remain on his radar, like the proposed Khabib Nurmagomedov-Tony Ferguson bout at UFC 249. But the attraction of anything to do with the NFL while the other major sports are shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic means bettors could be chomping at the bit.

“There’s no question if this draft fell in the middle of all the other sports coming back, it would dilute it for sure,” Bogdanovich said. “Whereas now they’d have the entire betting states to themselves.”

Bogdanovich put up numerous props a while back — including 32 players and their predicted draft position — and has continued to see action.

With Heisman Trophy winner and national champion quarterback Joe Burrow expected to be drafted first out of LSU, the “Second Pick in 2020 Pro Football Draft” has gotten some attention since rumors have surfaced that Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa might be grabbed second.

Ohio State defensive end Chase Young is the favorite (-340) to go after Burrow, but with Tagovailoa’s health reportedly improved since his hip surgery in October, his draft stock has come full circle and he’s once again being predicted to be selected No. 2 overall to the Washington Redskins.

Tagovailoa is +180 as the second choice and sits at 7-1 to be the third quarterback chosen in the draft. There are also odds on which team will take the 22-year-old 2018 national champion.

“We thought at one time that was a foregone conclusion, that it was going to be Burrow No. 1, and Chase Young No. 2 and then (who knows) after that,” Bogdanovich said. “There’s a rumor that Tua might get snuck into the two-hole with a trade. It’s pretty wild. I just hope they go on with (the draft) as scheduled.”

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Aside from player propositions on when they’ll be drafted, there are props on overall positions being taken in the first round.

For instance, the combination of quarterbacks and running backs taken in the first round is 5.5, with the under favored at -170. Offensive linemen are the overwhelming favorite in the first round, with the same 5.5 favored at over -160. Playing over 5.5 wide receivers taken in the first round will cost -120.

In an odd twist, though, betting who will be get nabbed the most in the first found, wide receivers (-115) or offensive linemen (-105), the wideouts are slightly favored on the dime line.

Bogdanovich said he was prepared for a nice windfall with more than 600,000 people expected to visit Las Vegas for the NFL Draft, but with all festivities canceled, the handle will be much less than anticipated — albeit a welcome one with not much else taking place.

“We were going to write so much money on this draft it was going to be insane,” Bogdanovich said. “Obviously that’s one more thing we lost out on. Just at the mere fact the NFL draft — obviously NFL is king — we would write a ton to this draft. And it’s an interesting draft, too, so that really helps as well.

“If they hold firm on the 23rd, betting will spike between that last week. People will really get interested and jazzed and there will be a late rush into that pool.”

About the Author

W.G. Ramirez

W.G. Ramirez is a 32-year veteran covering sports in Southern Nevada, and resident of 46 years. He is a freelance reporter in Las Vegas and the Southern Nevada correspondent for The Associated Press.

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