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NFL draft to be carried by three networks, promises to be most-wagered in history

NFL draft to be carried by three networks, promises to be most-wagered in history
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Thursday night's NFL draft promises to be the most-watched draft in sports history, with three networks carrying the event and online gambling expected to surge as the public seeks to satisfy their sports itch while almost all leagues globally on hold for the foreseeable future.

The draft will be an unprecedented virtual event and will include NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announcing draft picks from his basement.

Online gambling has suffered greatly across the states that allow it as a result of the global sports halt. Betting options remaining have been limited to Russian table tennis, darts and Belarusian soccer.

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The NFL draft, in contrast, involves players and teams that fans in the U.S. are actually familiar with, so there is an expected surge for people who are looking for a sports gambling fix in these unprecedented times. 

“There’s no doubt this will be the biggest-bet draft ever,” Joe Asher, CEO of William Hill US, told The Associated Press. “The draft is a time of renewal, and I think people are looking forward to a bit of fun after all of the tough news we’ve had recently. Betting on the draft is small in context, so this is no silver bullet, but it’s something positive for sure.”

Overall, there are more than 150 wagers available, with most bets centered on when certain players will be taken in the draft.

The demand for something new in the sports arena is so high that three national networks will carry the draft, including one of the four major networks, ABC, joining ESPN and NFL Network in airing the event on Thursday starting at 8 p.m.

National champion and Heisman Trophy-winning LSU quarterback Joe Burrow is expected to be the No. 1 draft pick by the Cincinnati Bengals. Burrow is a native of Ohio.