The NFL Combine is usually taking place in Indianapolis right now, but that isn’t the case this year.
Coaches, scouts and executives have been flocking to Indy for decades to check out the latest prospects.
However, The NFL decided to skip the usual plan in 2021 thanks to COVID-19.
With no combine at the end of February, the league will be leaning on pro days to evaluate prospects.
Pro days on college campuses
Using pro days as the main avenue for checking out prospects is hardly ideal.
Exaggerated performances tend to be a problem since college players attend pro days on campus at their own school. A Boilermaker does his tests at Purdue, a Hoosier does his at IU and so on.
The tests are not very consistent from one pro day to another, which is why the NFL runs a yearly combine in the first place. Standardizing everything with impartial officials is the best way evaluate prospects.
Unfortunately, that’s off the table this year thanks to the pandemic.
The NFL is trying its best to standardize as all of these separate pro days so that teams have a good barometer for comparing players. There’s no way to know how successful the league will be until pro days get underway in a few weeks.
Stable NFL Draft betting odds
So pro days might be more unreliable compared to the typical combine, but what does that mean for the players themselves? It likely means that scouts won’t be shuffling around their draft boards by too much.
In a normal year, the combine can wildly change the draft stock of certain prospects. A killer combine performance can turn a late second-round receiver into a first-round pick.
Since teams take pro day results with a grain of salt, those types of big shifts could be less common this year. That should keep the betting odds for the NFL Draft relatively stable.
You can bet on all sorts of draft options in Indiana, such as what round a certain player will go in, or how many SEC players will be picked up in the first round. Some of the betting odds for the NFL Draft are already available at Indiana’s online sportsbooks.
Here are the current odds at DraftKings for the first quarterback to be drafted:
NFL betting is wildly popular in the state, so the draft in late April is sure to attract some gamblers.
No NFL Combine pro day betting
Even with draft betting on the table in Indiana, combine and pro day bets are still off limits.
Back in 2019, New Jersey briefly gave sportsbooks permission to take action on the NFL Combine.
However, the Division of Gaming Enforcement quickly revoked betting on the event after a few days. Sportsbooks were forced to issue refunds to gamblers.
It basically boiled down to integrity issues surrounding the event.
That’s also the case in Indiana according to Sara Gonso Tait, the executive director of the Indiana Gaming Commission.
The commission didn’t even consider allowing combine betting last year because of integrity concerns.
“The IGC has not been provided with integrity policies applicable to the participants at the NFL Combine. As such, event wagering is not eligible for approval.”
If gaming authorities are squeamish about betting on the standardized and regulated NFL Combine, then betting on unpredictable pro days is definitively off the table as well.
Pro days for Notre Dame, IU and Purdue
2020 was a good year for college football fans in Indiana.
Notre Dame had a great season during its pandemic-induced conference debut in the ACC.
IU finished second in the Big Ten trailing only Ohio State. The Hoosiers will be hoping to build upon that solid showing in 2021.
You might not be able to bet on pro days, but you can certainly watch your favorite prospects get to work.
The big prospects like Trevor Lawrence get their own pro days. Indiana’s teams don’t have a projected top pick in this year’s draft, so Hoosiers will be watching the regular pro day formats for entire teams.
Purdue’s pro day is taking place on March 23 at 8:30 a.m. Notre Dame’s players will hit the field on March 31 at noon.
IU hasn’t announced the date for its pro day yet, so fans will have to sit tight for more information.
When it comes to how to watch these events, it varies from school-school.
Typically, you can catch the action either from the team’s website or from their conference’s TV channel. For Purdue and IU, that means the Big Ten Network.
Since there are weeks until these pro days start, a lot of schools haven’t finalized their broadcast plans for the events yet. For more info on how to watch pro days, check in with the school’s website closer to the event date.