Latest NFL Draft Odds, Tips & Ultimate 2021 Betting Guide
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From a sports betting perspective, the NFL Draft has grown dramatically in recent years, offering far more than simple odds for “Who will be No. 1.” Following the COVID-19 pandemic and the shutdown of live sports, the draft exploded in popularity. Now as the 2021 NFL Draft looms, hundreds of NFL props are available for the four-day event, rivaling a fall Sunday in options for sports bettors.
Not only are there NFL odds for No. 1 pick, but for No. 2 and No. 3 picks. There are props for specific players, such as where QBs Justin Fields or Trey Lance may end up. You can lay bankroll on whether Mac Jones goes in the Top 5 or Top 10, or whether there will be four or five quarterbacks selected in the first round.
The NFL betting options are vast. Below is a breakdown of several of the most popular wagers, from the No. 1 overall pick to the defensive linemen selected first.
1st Overall Pick Odds
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Betting analysis: When it comes to the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft, don’t expect shockers. They rarely happen, and never to the extent that we’d see if Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence isn’t the first name called. The closest thing to a “surprise” over the last decade was perhaps in 2018, when the Cleveland Browns took Baker Mayfield No. 1 over other contenders such as Sam Darnold and Saquon Barkley.
With Lawrence at -10000, it’s not worth the time or energy to bet on him, and it’s not worth the money to take any flyer.
2nd Overall Pick Odds
Betting analysis: When it comes to the No. 2 pick, teams are either still looking for their franchise QB, or for a tackle to protect a recently drafted QB. Six of the last nine No. 2 overall picks have been quarterbacks or offensive tackles. Two of those three anomalies occurred the last two drafts. In each instance, the pick went to a defensive end. Nick Bosa of the 49ers and Chase Young of Washington already have the look of future Hall of Famers.
Rushing ends are a priority in today’s NFL, but this isn’t the year to get one this high. In fact, there may not be any D-linemen taken in the top 10.
In fact, any potential drama for the No. 2 overall pick ended when the Jets traded away Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers. When that happened, the odds of BYU QB Zach Wilson going No. 2 moved from -200 to -2000, then to -10000 to begin draft week. Wilson, it is now universally believed, is the choice for New York over Ohio State QB Justin Fields.
Total Quarterbacks In Round 1
Betting analysis: It isn’t uncommon for QBs to be taken early and often in the first round of the NFL Draft. Certainly, 2021 won’t be an exception. The top three picks in the draft are all projected to be QBs. It could be the top four.
Considering five QBs in the opening round isn’t the norm but isn't outrageous. But six? That’s up there. The last 10 years, five signal-callers have been first-round selections just once, in 2018, and the fifth was a flyer with the 32nd overall pick (Lamar Jackson – that one worked out).
Barring a shocking turn of events, Lawrence and Wilson will go 1-2 to the Jaguars and Jets. Jones of Alabama, Ohio State's Fields and Trey Lance of North Dakota State are all considered potential top-10 talents. The general consensus has moved in the last few weeks, so much so that sportsbooks took down the Over/Under of 4.5 QBs and reposted it at 5.5.
There are enough teams after the top two that could be looking for a current, or future, QB. The Atlanta Falcons (No. 4 pick), San Francisco 49ers (No. 6), Denver Broncos (No. 9) and New England Patriots (No. 15). There are at least six teams that are in the market for a rookie QB. But odds are, guys such as Davis Mills of Stanford and Kellen Mond of Texas A&M – each fringe first-rounders but more likely second-rounders – will still be there at Pick 33.
Team To Draft Justin Fields
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Betting analysis: Fields was expected to be a top-three pick. With Lawrence surely going No. 1 and now Wilson all but locked in to No. 2, we begin at 3.
The 49ers own the No. 3 pick in the draft – and they’re in the market for a QB. Jimmy Garoppolo is penciled in as the starter, but he’s reportedly on the block. Even if Jimmy G remains under center in 2021, it’s clear the Niners are seeking future alternatives. Fields isn’t considered as polished as Lawrence or Fields but potentially just as good long-term.
But the 49ers could look elsewhere. Jones of Alabama or Lance of North Dakota State may be more enticing. Ohio State’s recent spate of college star-turned-pro-bust QBs (Dwayne Haskins, Cardale Jones, J.T. Barrett, Braxton Miller and Terrelle Pryor) won’t give any GMs a sense of confidence about another stellar collegiate career from a Buckeyes quarterback.
If not the 49ers, then who? The Panthers have emerged as favorites. Posted at +1100 just one week ago, they’re now +300 despite trading for Sam Darnold this offseason and signing Teddy Bridgewater the one before that. The Patriots have been strongly rumored to be looking to trade up and secure Fields; they’ve moved from +700 to +300. The Lions have been big movers, too, from +1100 a week ago to +500. The Falcons, with the aging Matt Ryan, could be the wild card – or a possible trade destination for Fields, at No. 4.
NFL Draft Odds By Position
First Quarterback Drafted
Betting analysis: As many as six QBs could be taken in the first round of the NFL Draft. However, the question as to which one will be first off the board has been all but answered. Lawrence has been the presumed No. 1 overall pick since the first mock draft was created a day after the 2020 NFL Draft. It has become such a formality that most sportsbooks have taken the wager off the board.
First Running Back Drafted
Betting analysis: When it comes to demand and the NFL Draft, running back has been a position on the decline. More teams are willing to forego first-round workhorses for needs at other spots, figuring they can get just as good of a player later.
Case in point: the 2020 NFL Draft. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, D’Andre Swift and Jonathan Taylor were all key members of their team’s offenses in 2021 and look to be future stars at their position. They were the 32nd, 35th and 51st picks taken. The year before, only one RB was taken before No. 53 – Josh Jacobs, the no-brainer No. 1 RB on the board, and it was still only No. 24.
This year, Alabama’s Najee Harris and Clemson’s Travis Etienne are practically neck-and-neck. The question is, which team will take a leap, and when?
Of eight mock drafts posted at reputable, national sites, including NFL.com, only four of them had a single RB taken in the first round. Three times it was Etienne: No. 25 to the Jaguars and twice going No. 32 to the Buccaneers. Harris was once, but it was No. 18 to the Dolphins. The trend of “First RB Chosen” looks to be as big of a crapshoot as it has ever been.
First Wide Receiver Drafted
Betting analysis: The NFL has become a passing league, and it’s only growing stronger in that direction. Fortunately for teams looking for their next pass-catching standout, this draft is as talented and deep at wide receiver as any in recent memory. As many as eight WRs have been linked to the first round, and as many as six of them might be taken in the opening round. Three of them are shoo-ins, and all will be taken in the first half of Round 1.
Ja’Marr Chase of LSU and Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith, both of Alabama, are the top three. There’s little debate about that. Mock drafts and scouting scuttle say it’s a team-by-team preference when it comes to Waddle and Smith. But Chase? He’s the No. 1 wideout on the board.
Very few insiders believe Chase will still be on the board by the No. 8 pick, because those with picks 5-7 (Bengals, Dolphins, Lions) all need a top WR. Waddle is likely next, but Chase is the top dog. His odds have reflected that, dropping from -223 to -625 in the last couple of weeks.
First Offensive Lineman Drafted
Betting analysis: On the great majority of mock drafts, Sewell of Oregon is the top offensive tackle – and offensive lineman – available. He has been strongly linked to the Bengals at No. 5 (who will either look to protect QB Joe Burrow or give him a new target at WR) and the Panthers at No. 8 (who just traded for Darnold, the QB who was mangled time and again in New York).
But it may not be that cut and dried. Rashawn Slater of Northwestern is gaining momentum and is someone the Panthers reportedly like a great deal. One interesting note: Sewell and Slater both opted out of playing the 2020 season. Does that mean anything? Perhaps not.
O-line was the toughest position to project at last year’s draft, too. Maybe believed it was a three-tackle race between Jedrick Wills Jr., Mekhi Becton and Tristan Wirfs. Those three were all picked between Nos. 10-13, but the Giants took a leap with Andrew Thomas at No. 4. If you’re looking for a position prop with a wild-card finish, OL is it.
First Defensive Lineman Drafted
Betting analysis: Aside from quarterback, edge rusher has been the positions each team believes it needs to take the next leap, and one where it's worth using a high draft pick. Last year, it was Chase Young at No. 2. In 2019, three of the top four players chosen were D-lineman, led by Nick Bosa at No. 2. Bradley Chubb went No. 5 in 2018. In 2017, the last time a QB wasn’t selected No. 1, it was Myles Garrett. It doesn’t hurt that all those players have become bona fide franchise guys.
There is no such no-brainer in 2020. Roughly one-quarter of the league’s teams have been linked to an edge rusher in the first round, and there are eight worth taking. Three are considered bona fide first-rounders: Jaelan Phillips of Miami, Kwity Paye of Michigan and Jayson Oweh of Penn State. But Gregory Rosseau of Miami has been linked to the Giants at No. 11. Same with Zaven Collins of Tulsa, to the Raiders.
If a team is going to take a leap, it could be for Paye over Phillips, thanks to size and a perceived higher ceiling. Phillips might be the safer pick – and the NFL is a conservative-thinking league when it comes to personnel – but Paye is the guy who might make some GM look real good down the road.
First Safety Drafted
Betting analysis: Safeties have become an important aspect of every NFL defense with the advent of the pass game. But it’s also considered a deep position in general, and few teams feel the need to aggressively go after the No. 1 man on the board.
In 2020, Xavier McKinney and Grant Delpit were the contenders for First Safety Taken, projected in the latter half of the first round. The winner was McKinney, but not until No. 36 overall. Delpit was the No. 3 safety at No. 44. In 2019, two safeties were taken late in the first round, with four more gone in Round 2.
This year, only one name has been linked at all to a first-round pick. Trevon Moehrig of TCU is the only plug-and-play S on the board. The other contenders here, Jevon Holland of Oregon and Richie Grant of UCF, aren’t even guaranteed to be taken in the second round. Lawrence is a sure thing to be the No. 1 QB off the board, but Moehrig may be the No. 2 sure thing, and his odds are far cheaper.
First Cornerback Drafted
|Patrick Surtain II||-278|
Betting analysis: Cornerbacks have become important spots on any team, and those who don’t have at least one high-level CB can struggle to get over the hump. Just ask the Cowboys. Last year, six CBs were taken in the first round, including Jeff Okudah at No. 3. He was the no-doubt No. 1 corner of the board. This year it’s a little less certain, but there’s a clear favorite.
Patrick Surtain of Alabama is at the top of a majority of the reputable mock drafts out there – but not all of them. The problem is, there’s no true consensus on who No. 2 even is. Jaycee Horn of South Carolina has been trending upward, but Greg Newsome of Northwestern has made a charge. Still, if there’s one thing we can likely count on, it’s the aforementioned Cowboys taking a corner at No. 10. Surtain is going to be the guy if he’s there. If he’s not, that means he was already taken.
First Linebacker Drafted
Betting analysis: Linebacker isn’t the marquee position in 2020. In fact, none are likely to go any higher than 15th overall. But the dominoes may fall soon after, with 5-6 as projected late first-round talents. It’s strongly believed, however, that when the run on linebackers begins, it starts with Micah Parsons of Penn State. He’s a Week 1 starter in the minds of most GMs. Parsons has been linked strongly to the Patriots at No. 15 if the QB they want isn’t on the board and as high as No. 9 to the Broncos.