Each and every year the NFL draft is becoming more and more popular and is becoming a holiday of sorts for NFL and football fans. Some watch it to see where their favorite college players get drafted, some watch the draft for the drama and trades, and many watch it to see which players their favorite team will be building its future around.
With the NFL draft having moved to prime time in 2010, it's now easier than ever to watch the draft and throw parties on draft day 1 (and beyond). Aside from food, friends, and beverages, there's no better way to increase the fun had during the NFL draft than by placing small bets with your friends. Doing any or all of the following games or activities is a great way to stay invested in each and every pick and keep the energy level high.
Game 1: Betting Bowls
- On a fireplace, hutch, or other surface near the TV, place 5 bowls.
- For each pick in the draft, tape 1 name below each bowl, to give a total of 5 names for each and every pick.
- Before each pick, each person in the room places $1 in the bowl of the player they think will be drafted.
- The person who correctly guesses the drafted player wins all the money in the bowls.
If a pick is traded, everyone may remove their dollar bet and, after the bowls are re-labeled (if necessary), change their bet to a new player.
What About Ties?
If 2 or more people select the same player and are correct, all of the money goes into a specially labeled side pot. Of those people, the next person to win gets all the money in the bowls and all the relevant pots. There may be several side-pots at any given point.
What if Nobody is Correct?
If nobody puts money in the bowl of the correct player, all of that money goes into a general pot, and the next person to correctly guess a player gets that money in addition their other winnings.
What if there is still money in the pot after round 1 ends?
If the day or round ends and there's still money left to be won, the game goes to "overtime". At this point, no more money is bet. Each and every pick, each person must choose 1 player they believe will be drafted at that pick, and it cannot be the same player anyone else has chosen (aka they must all be unique). The first person to get a pick correct gets all the money.
- For the first 10 picks of the draft, it is often more fun to have the 5th bowl labeled as "Rest of Field" instead of an actual player name. This represents any player who is not a label on the other 4 bowls.
- Because it can be kind of hectic labeling the bowls in between picks, it's recommended that you rotate labeling responsibilities every 5 picks, so everyone has time to enjoy the draft.
- It's also recommended to find a list of the top 50 players in the draft and use that to pre-create some labels, so you don't have to write down names during the draft.
- To deter any cheating or foul play, it's best if all bets are placed as soon as possible, that all contestants stay off of Twitter, and that no bets may be changed after a certain time (like less than 2 minutes left on clock).
Game 2: Prop Bets
With this game, brainstorming the bets and categories is almost as much fun as choosing the bets and watching them unfold live. The premise is simple: given 2 scenarios which will result in a number, which scenario will produce a larger number. For example: "Which will be higher: Number of Linebackers drafted in round 1, or number of players selected from Florida colleges in round 1?"
Creating between 10 and 20 of these questions and putting $1 down for each is a fun and creative way to think about the draft. Here are some more sample prop bets:
- Wide Receivers drafted in round 1 OR Pick number at which first Wide Receiver is drafted.
- The number of the first pick traded OR the number at which the first Running Back is selected.
- Number of trades in the top 10 picks of round 1 OR number of trades in the bottom 10 picks of round 1.
- University of Florida players drafted in round 1 OR Pac 10 players drafted in round 1.
Mock drafts are getting more and more popular and easier to do all the time with sites like ESPN and WalterFootball.com providing tools to create mock drafts. For this game, each person should make a mock draft of the first round (picks 1-32) and bet $10. The mocks will then be scored and the money distributed in a way agreed upon (aka winner 75%, 2nd place 25%). Score the mock strictly by where the player is drafted with no regards to team using the following system:
- Correct player in exact spot = 5 points
- Correct player 1 spot off (+/-) = 3 points
- Correct player 2 spots off (+/-) = 2 points
- Correct player 3 spots off (+/-) = 1 point
This is not a betting game, but rather an exercise that allows you to better understand the draft's depth and players.
Before the draft, create a printout, posterboard, or individual cards with approximately 75-100 of the draft's top players arranged from top to bottom according to your preferences and team needs, as if you were the general manager. This is a fun exercise when your team is drafted, as you can see who you would pick at this point and can watch players literally "come off the board".