New England Patriots 2021 NFL Draft Betting Guide, Preview
During the 2020 NFL Draft, Patriots coach/GM/field marshal Bill Belichick kept the world in suspense when it came to his first pick of the post-Tom Brady Era.
While pundits and insiders pontificated as to what the NFL’s latest dynasty would do following the GOAT’s migration to Florida, Belichick opted for his trusted pooch Nike to sit in for him on the draft cam when it was the Patriots’ time to pick.
New England ended up trading out of the first round.
The tale of Nike – also known as the Greek Goodness of Victory and a shoe/apparel company – offers a warning for anyone who wants to handicap the draft and how it might go down at One Patriot Place in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
Belichick’s next move is a mystery for fans and NFL betting enthusiasts alike. It has been this way for more than 20 years ever since he quit his job as “HC of the NYJ” just a day after accepting it back in 2000.
The Patriots have the 15th pick in the first round of the 2021 NFL draft after finishing under .500 for the first time since Belichick’s debut season in New England.
The Patriots re-signed QB Cam Newton for an NFL-paltry sum of just $5 million, with another $9 million in potential performance incentives. Then Belichick went on an unprecedented (for him) offseason spending spree in free agency. The Patriots retooled their offensive arsenal, signing TEs Hunter Henry, Jonnu Smith and WRs Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Aghlolor.
The Patriots’ recent drafts have been less than stellar. Three of the 10 players chosen last year are no longer with the team. Even Patriots owner Robert Kraft weighed in with a rare public rebuke of the team’s recent selections.
Patriots 2021 NFL Draft Options
There remains an undercurrent of doubt that the Patriots will actually stick with Newton. Belichick is always pondering. No one knows his next move. Perhaps not even him. Let’s look at his three options heading into the draft.
Trade Up To Get A Stud QB
Trading up is most popular option among Patriots fans and bettors, both of whom struggled through the 2020 season. It’s also the least likely option given the expected cost. Newton went 7-8 as a starter overall and 7-7 ATS in 2020. The Patriots reportedly tried and failed to deal with several teams already in this process.
Their lone possible partner left in a position to land one of the top QBs appears to the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons are currently set to choose No. 4 in the first round. This draft is QB loaded. The top three teams – Jaguars, Jets and 49ers – are all but certain to take Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson and either Trey Lance, Mac Jones or Justin Fields.
(Value Alert: Lance is +300 to be the third pick at FanDuel and would be the choice for the 49ers if they don't move Jimmy Garoppolo. More on that below.)
The Falcons are “stuck” with Matt Ryan at QB through 2022 unless they choose to absorb a massive hit in dead cap money – up to $48.6 million next season. It's hard to imagine they would take a QB so high up in the draft only to sit him for two years. The Bengals pick at No. 5 and should grab tight end Kyle Pitts from Florida unless the Falcons take him first.
The 49ers wrecked the draft market with what they gave up to Miami in moving up to the No. 3 spot. Any deal the Patriots make with the Falcons would require – at the very least – a first-round swap this year, a first-rounder in 2022 and more. The Patriots might even have to throw in the Super Bowl 51 trophy, which was earned at Atlanta’s expense after the Falcons blew a 28-3 lead.
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Bring In Another Veteran at Quarterback
Newton’s salary and the Patriots’ remaining cap space make this a real possibility. The top targets are former New England QB Garoppolo and Teddy Bridgewater of the Panthers. The 49ers say Jimmy G. is still their 2021 starter. But they moved into the third spot at considerable cost. Keeping Jimmy G. and his $25.6 million contract in 2021 doesn’t make sense, but Lance is the best of the top QBs to develop and sit for one season or less. Bridgewater was given permission to seek a trade out of Charlotte when the Panthers traded for Sam Darnold.
Belichick chose Garoppolo as Brady’s successor in 2014, only to be rebuked by Brady’s victory over Father Time. Garoppolo returning to Foxborough appears the most likely outcome on the board here.
The Patriots can make the cap space work by reworking Garoppolo’s contract and he’s a perfect fit for Belichick’s offense. The 49ers want a first-rounder (for now) but Belichick only got a second-rounder from them when he traded Garoppolo to San Francisco.
Stick With Newton
"Plan C." If the Patriots were indeed 100% secure in Newton, they would not be among the suitors for several other QBs. Of course, if they begin the season with Newton, you will be told they had wanted it that way all along.
How To Bet The Patriots And The 2021 NFL Draft
There is no betting market available on the No. 4 overall pick. Nor is there any value among choosing any potential top-five pick, given that the NFL futures betting odds being offered for Trey Lance and Justin Fields are -500 at DraftKings. If you’re leaning toward the Patriots making a deal with Atlanta, you might want to grab Fields going under No. 4.5 in his draft position odds. He is +105 at DraftKings.
The Patriots are getting +135 to make the playoffs at BetMGM and elsewhere. That is a terrific price. The team total for wins remains at 9 at most books, but the price for over 9 has risen to -143 at PointsBet. Even Newton at his worst is worth 10 wins with his new tools and the Patriots defense over the course of the 17-game 2021 NFL season,. Hop on the “total win” and “make the playoffs” markets before Belichick shocks everyone – again.
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