ESPN Host Cashes in on NFL Draft Bets, Wins Nearly $300K

Betting ESPN host cashes in on NFL Draft bet
May 26, 2021 04:05Tim Ronaldson

One lucky bettor took home almost $300,000 with a prop bet placed on the NFL Draft. The bettor placed a variety of wagers at self-service kiosks at the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas.

His total outlay was $3,500, and his winnings came in at just about $300,000. That's quite an impressive return, but not surprising considering some of the odds on his bets were as large as 100-1.

A win this big would make headlines anywhere. But, this particular payday brought extra attention since the bettor in question was Doug Kezirian, a host for a sports betting show on ESPN.

The wagers and payout raised a lot of people's eyebrows, and makes sports betting detractors point to this as a reason why it shouldn't be legal.

Nothing Kerizian Did Was Illegal

There is nothing that Kerizian did that was illegal by Nevada law. Let's just start there.

Since he made the wagers in Nevada, at a casino in Las Vegas, Kerizian was doing everything in his legal right. He has a right to place whatever sports betting wagers he wants, just as any other person can if they are above the age of 21.

It's also worth noting that Kerizian most likely didn't do anything that violated any rules or policies for employees of ESPN. Had he violated any policies, it would be highly unlikely that he would publicize the fact that he won $297,800. That would just be downright stupid on his part.

What has some people questioning it is whether Kerizian had any inside information -- or whether he could have influenced the decisions made by NFL teams at the draft.

Kerizian is a host on ESPN's "Daily Wager" program. In his position, it's unlikely that he would be privy to any inside information. Maybe some other employees at his company did, though.

The argument against Kerizian being allowed to wager on sports is that he (or his colleagues) could influence NFL teams to make certain selections during the NFL Draft so he could cash in. But, again, that seems ludicrous.

It's unlikely that an NFL team would risk the enormous penalties they'd face for providing inside information to someone who is about to place a sports wager. And they certainly wouldn't make such a huge decision like drafting a particular player just because someone could win a bet.

While the $300,000 Kerizian won is certainly a ton of money, it's peanuts compared to the salaries of NFL coaches and general managers, and what NFL owners bring in. So, why would anyone on their end put their huge income at risk for the amount of money Kerizian won?

The Bet in Question

The wager that won Kerizian all that money was him correctly predicting that Tyson Campbell would be the first safety selected in the NFL Draft. When the Jacksonville Jaguars selected Campbell, out of Georgia, with the first pick in the second round, it cashed Kerizian's bet.

There is a little nuance to this wager, too. BetMGM had Campbell listed as a safety, even though most other outlets had him listed as a cornerback. He's even listed as a cornerback by the Jaguars.

In this regard, Kerizian didn't use inside information to make his savvy selection. He did what a lot of professional sports bettors did -- he studied the field and shopped around for the best odds offered, and found the one he thought would win.

While the NFL and all other professional and collegiate sports leagues want to exude confidence in the public when it comes to sports betting, there isn't anything in this case that should really make people think there is a lack of integrity here.

So, good for Kerizian, and congratulations on his big win.

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Tim Ronaldson
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Tim Ronaldson is a writer, blogger and marketer. He loves all things sports, especially covering the sports betting industry. He joined the AmericaGambles Team 2020 and is mainly responsible for columns and extensive reportage articles.
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