With the 2021 NFL Draft only nine days away, sportsbooks are increasing their market offerings on player proposition betting markets. Oddsmakers are enticing bettors with everything ranging from when players will be drafted, to how many players from each position will be drafted, to who will be drafted first matchups. It is beneficial to target NFL Draft wagers that offer plus-odds instead of laying prohibitive odds that can undo months of successful bankroll management in other sports.
In Sports Illustrated's latest mock draft, Jenny Vrentas predicts the first three draft picks of the 2021 NFL Draft will be quarterbacks. According to the odds being offered by sportsbooks, Clemson's Trevor Lawrence is expected to go first to the Jacksonville Jaguars (-10000), followed by BYU's Zach Wilson to the New York Jets (-3000). Following a trade with Miami two weeks ago, the consensus was that San Francisco strongly considered Alabama's Mac Jones (-200). However, the betting odds have now flipped, with Ohio State's Justin Fields (-125) now being the favorite to be tabbed by the 49ers.
While the debate will rage on as to which quarterback will come off the board third overall, the draft gets very interesting for sports bettors when Atlanta is on the clock at No. 4. If the Falcons decide against trading back, the indications are they will select Florida's talented tight end, Kyle Pitts. Those convictions are strongly being supported by oddsmakers in Kyle Pitts' draft position market:
The oddsmakers at William Hill sportsbook set an over/under betting position projection of 5.5, with the under now moderately being juiced at odds of -130. To simplify this market, if bettors believe that Pitts will be drafted among the first five picks of Round 1, you will need to risk $130 to win $100.
However, I suggest bettors should turn their attention to a different market at William Hill sportsbook: “First Non-Quarterback Drafted.” I believe three players are strongly in the discussion for the first non-quarterback to be drafted in the first round of the 2021 draft: Kyle Pitts, Oregon’s offensive tackle Penei Sewell and LSU wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase.
Let’s take a deeper look at the betting odds on this market.
Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida [+130]
If the Falcons decide to stay put at No. 4, there are strong indications from several respected areas that Pitts will be the pick. However, with each passing day, there are rumors that New England is targeting a move up if one of the quarterbacks they desire is still there after the first three selections. From the tape I have watched, Pitts, who hauled in 43 passes for 770 yards and 12 touchdowns, compares favorably to Oakland’s Darren Waller or Kansas City’s Travis Kelce: a true difference-maker who can exploit mismatches down the field against linebackers and safeties. Suppose Pitts joins an Atlanta team already possessing Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley. In that case, the rookie combo tight end/wide receiver could make an impact catching passes from Matt Ryan. The veteran quarterback last had a tight end of this magnitude when Tony Gonzalez occupied the position for the club from 2009-2013.
Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon [+225]
The dominant offensive tackle decided to opt-out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns, so teams need to go back to the 2019 season to review Penei Sewell's film. Heading into last season, the top offensive lineman in the nation was being hyped after not allowing a sack all season which landed him the Outland Trophy. After witnessing the season-ending knee injury to star signal-caller Joe Burrow, I find it hard to believe that Cincinnati is not strongly considering adding protection for the face of the Bengals franchise. However, if we dive into Sewell's over/under betting draft position market, we currently find the over of 5.5 being heavily juiced at odds of -190. As we know, the Bengals have the No. 5 pick, so the odds are indicating that Sewell will not be among the first five selections.
Ja'Marr Chase, WR, LSU [+225]
Over the weekend, sharp money attacked Chase’s over/under draft position market of 6.5 following rampant rumors that Cincinnati is strongly considering reuniting Joe Burrow with his former LSU teammate. Sportsbooks received so much action to the under that some are now offering an adjusted market listing at 5.5 with -115 juice on both sides.
Odds courtesy of William Hill Sportsbook
Chase was one of the best receivers in college football 2019, but we did not see him in between the white lines in 2020 after deciding to opt out of the season due to concerns over COVID-19. The last time we saw Chase on the field, he set SEC records with 1,780 receiving yards and 20 touchdowns. If Chase gets drafted by Miami, Atlanta, or Cincinnati, you can be sure he will be among the top rookie wideouts targeted by fantasy owners in this summer’s upcoming Fantasy Football World Championship (FFWC) drafts.
Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama [+2000]
Patrick Surtain II was one of the best cornerbacks in college football. We all know he has pedigree on his side - as he is following in the footsteps of his father. The latter played 11 seasons with the Miami Dolphins at the position. The 2020 SEC Defensive Player of the Year currently has a draft betting projection of 10.5, currently juiced to the under at odds of -135. Surtain II - a big, physical corner who thrived playing for Nick Saban - has many scouts projecting will start immediately as a rookie for any team that chooses to make the first-round investment.
Vegas Whispers Betting Outlook
Wagering on this market comes down to whether you believe Atlanta will stay at No. 4 or trade back. When you see how the measurables match up to former NFL great Calvin Johnson, I am convinced he is too much of a special talent that non-quarterback needy teams can pass up. At other respected sportsbooks, the odds on Pitts are already as low as +105, with the best value currently being found at William Hill at odds of +130.
SI PRO Recommendation: Kyle Pitts- First Non-Quarterback Drafted (+130)
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