Betting the 2021 NFL Draft: Early Odds Breakdown For Picks 1-3

SI Gambling insider Frankie Taddeo dissects the betting odds for the projected first, second and third overall players in the 2021 NFL Draft.
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Now that the NCAA has crowned their men's and women's basketball champions, sports bettors can focus their bankrolls on Major League Baseball, the NBA and the NHL. However, sandwiched in between is one of the largest growing betting events of the calendar year. 

The NFL Draft has exploded into a three-day event capturing the attention of the betting world. Coinciding with the massive rise in popularity is the growing market offerings by sportsbooks around the country; offering wagers involving specific players' draft position over/under, round betting, total players by position per round, as well as which players come off at the board at a specific designation.

Today, we take an early look at the markets at several sportsbooks involving which player will be selected first, second and third overall on Apr. 29.

No. 1 Overall NFL Draft Position

                                  Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook

                                  Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook

“Frankie Whispers” Analysis: There is plenty of intrigue involving this year’s NFL Draft, however who will be chosen first overall has little doubt

For nearly a year, Clemson star quarterback Trevor Lawrence has been the clear betting favorite by oddsmakers to be selected as the first player in the 2021 NFL Draft. Over time, the only thing to change in this betting market is the overall prohibitive odds. 

Lawrence, who could be found at odds of -305 last May, has ballooned to astronomical odds of -10000. To put that in perspective, a wager risking $10,000 dollars would only potentially profit $100. Sportsbooks have no desire to take action on this market. For sports bettors, this is a market to completely avoid at these odds combined with the strong knowledge that no one outside of Lawrence will hear his name called first in this year’s draft.

                                     Odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook

                                     Odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook

FanDuel Sportsbook believes that new Jacksonville head coach Urban Meyer’s absence at Zack Wilson’s pro day should tell all bettors everything they need to know with an offering of Lawrence to the Jaguars at odds of -9000.

SI PRO Recommendation: Pass


No. 2 Overall NFL Draft Position

                               Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook

                               Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook

“Frankie Whispers” Analysis: This market witnessed a substantial move following the New York Jets trade of starting quarterback Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers. Rumors and speculation linking the Jets to BYU quarterback Zach Wilson intensified after the star quarterback’s televised private workout for scouts. 

Previously, there was always wonder if the Jets would trade the No. 2 overall pick for a plethora of picks and/or players. In addition, Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields was projected by several draft analysts to be the second overall player chosen in the 2021 NFL Draft. Following his impressive workout on March 26, the oddsmakers made Wilson a sizable favorite over Fields. However, the odds doubled on Monday after the Darnold trade seeing Wilson’s odds go from -1000 to -2000 in minutes. 

Sports bettors are now required to risk $2,000 dollars for a potential profit of $100. The trade of Darnold out of New York further solidifies that Wilson will become the new face of the Jets franchise, but at these prohibitive odds, making a wagering investment on Wilson is simply not a wise endeavor for fiscal bankroll management.

                                        Odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook

                                        Odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook

If you have a true strong conviction that there is no way the Jets pass on Wilson following the trade, the best odds on Wilson can be found at FanDuel Sportsbook at odds of -1050.

SI PRO Recommendation: Pass


No. 3 Overall NFL Draft Position

                                Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook

                                Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook

“Frankie Whispers” Analysis: Here is where things finally start to get interesting. 

The San Francisco 49ers traded up with the Miami Dolphins and now own the No. 3 overall selection in the NFL Draft. The rumors are that San Francisco’s first choice is Zach Wilson, but he will likely not be there at No. 3. Instead, the 49ers are believed to have their sights set on either Alabama’s Mac Jones, Ohio State’s Justin Fields or North Dakota State’s Trey Lance. 

The oddsmakers at DraftKings Sportsbook strongly believe that Jones will be the pick as he now sits atop the betting market at odds of -200. The wildcard here is Lance, who comes from a smaller school in North Dakota State but is raw with immense upside. There are no real reasons for smoke screens here, so where there is smoke there is fire and it appears with Wilson off the board to New York, San Francisco GM John Lynch will tab Crimson Tide quarterback Mac Jones at No. 3 overall.

However, I try to fade the “chalk” whenever possible. I believe 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan will pound the table when they're on the clock for Jones, but others inside the organization prefer Lance and Fields. At plus-odds of +250 and +300, I may be willing to take a shot that the voices of “many” outweigh the voice of “one”, but we still have several weeks to make that call.

                                     Odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook

                                     Odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook

By shopping around, you can save a few dollars by placing a wager at FanDuel Sportsbook backing that Jones will be drafted in the top three simply by betting “under” 3.5 overall draft positions at odds of -194.

SI PRO Early Lean: Mac Jones Under 3.5 (-194)