Tue, May 2, 12:14pm by Head Editor
The NFL draft took place over the weekend and it was a huge success, with more than 250,000 people turning in the streets of Philadelphia, to watch the event. It was also a massive winner for Las Vegas’ bookmakers, exceeding even their lofty expectations.
This year marked the first time that sportsbooks in Vegas were allowed to offer proposition bets on the NFL draft, and it nearly didn’t happen at all, with approval not granted by the Nevada Gaming Control Board until a month ago.
The success of the prop bets has led to many bookies already dreaming up what they’d like to offer next year. Bets like “How many quarterbacks would be taken in the first round”, and how many players from a “particular college” would be drafted in the first round, were the most popular of the prop bets at many of the casinos on the strip.
Nevada’s William Hill sportsbook took a bet of $8,400 on under four (-210 or $1.48) quarterbacks being taken in the first round of the draft. That speculator won $4,000 after Mitch Trubisky was taken by the Bears, Patrick Mahones by Kansas City, and Deshaun Watson’s name was read out by the Texans on the opening day.
Another betting option that was snapped up by Vegas punters was “which round with the first kicker be taken” with the Cincinnati Bengals taking Memphis kicker Jake Elliott in the fifth round.
While there were no Australian’s taken in the draft, Ohio State’s Aussie Punter Cameron Johnston was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles as an undrafted free agent just a few hours after the draft came to an end.
Johnston will be the eighth Australian in the NFL, while we can lay some claim to Solomon Thomas, who was taken with the third pick of the draft, by Jarryd Hayne’s old team, the San Francisco 49ers.
The 191cm, 125kg defensive lineman moved to Sydney with his family at the age of two, after his father moved the family down under for work. He spent five years in the Harbour City and says he remembers the time fondly.
Geelong-born Johnston will be fighting for the starting punting position with veteran Donnie Jones, who’s been with the club since 2013. There may be plenty of punting to do to with the Eagles a $41 (Sportsbet) shot to win the Superbowl this season after finishing bottom of the NFC East with a record of 7-9 last season.
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