NFL Draft Betting Season Is On The Clock

Why wait to bet late on the 2021 NFL Draft taking place this week?

New Jersey online sports bettors may spread some bread earlier in the draft than where their favorite teams select players.

And the countdown to the April 29 event has now reached its final hours, and with the Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants, and New York Jets not relevant from an early betting standpoint, Garden State gamblers may gamble deep into the first round.

It makes sense.

How does one bet on the Eagles picking at No. 12, the Giants at No. 11, and the Jets not yielding a real first-round wager? Their selection of quarterback Zach Wilson as the second pick is a foregone conclusion at major sportsbooks.

You already know the late-round scenario: after quarterbacks vanish early, the Eagles, Giants, and Dallas Cowboys, who own the 10th pick, will jockey for people like Patrick Surtain II, Micah Parsons, Rashawn Slater, or Christian Darrisaw.

Maybe celebrated receivers DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle fall this far. Maybe they don’t.

That’s the general overview.

From an NJ sports betting perspective, an updated look at the shifting DraftKings betting board may reveal an early and late-rounds betting strategy. That approach keeps the whole round interesting, and NJ online sportsbooks like DraftKings are putting more plays into the betting “offense” every day.

So now that we are days away from when the first pick is announced, there is an important question to ponder:

How will you wager on $100 on the 2021 NFL Draft?

Betting on who Jets take No. 2 overall will equal pocket change

Facetious, but how would Jets backers like to make $2?

Pop the whole hundred on Wilson of BYU to become a Jet and that’s the amount you can make.

Wilson is -50000 or 500-1 to be the second player taken according to Draft Kings, the biggest no-brainer besides the Jacksonville Jaguars taking Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence (-10000) at No. 1.

Take Wilson and pocket an early edge, if that can be said with a straight face.

Will top-three NFL Draft picks all be QBs?

Picks three through five will be where the money swirls. This is where it becomes gambling.

The San Francisco 49ers traded up to No. 3 with the Miami Dolphins. Conventional wisdom suggests they will select a quarterback.

Just two years after Jimmy Garoppolo was their Super Bowl quarterback, the Niners may look to replace him.

Mac Jones from Alabama fits the drop-back style the Niners like. The team’s run-first style will take the pressure off a rookie QB.

Here are some of the Monday morning favorites on DraftKings board as to who the Niners will take at No. 3:

  • Jones -225
  • Trey Lance  +175
  • Justin Fields +550
  • Kyle Pitts +3300

So besides Jones, Lance (North Dakota State) and Fields (Ohio State) are both QBs. Pitts is the talented tight end out of Florida.

The board says quarterback, no doubt about it. But which one?

There is no money in Jones. However, other NFL Draft prognosticators see Lance going third overall. If you agree, that’s a worthwhile pop, and best made before public attention drives odds down.

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Atlanta Falcons are on the clock

The Atlanta Falcons own the fourth pick, and this is where the real NFL Draft betting debate begins. It will require serious handicapping for the bettors.

Will the Falcons take a young quarterback or stick with veteran Matt Ryan?

If they go quarterback, Fields or Lance could still be there. Neither is better than Ryan now. But are the Falcons rebuilding?

This brings the first non-quarterback bet into play.

DraftKings nation has Pitts at +125 and taking 63% of the handle. He’s shot up several places in recent pre-draft thinking.

Penei Sewell of Oregon is about where he’s always been.  He’s +250, taking 20% of the handle.

A cross-reference of the DraftKings board provides another clue.  Pitts is -150 to go in the Top 5. Others in this category are:

  • LSU WR Ja’Marr Chase, -125
  • Sewell, +110
  • Lance, -167

The board suggests Pitts could go fourth, especially if one believes that the Cincinnati Bengals, picking fifth, won’t take a tight end.  The best value for Pitts, then, would be in the first non-quarterback category.

Bengals mostly likely going offensive line

Jets’ bettors, are you parlaying that $2 from Wilson?

The Bengals’ choice reflects the draft’s pragmatic seduction of NFL executives.

Sewell, a highly-acclaimed offensive lineman from Oregon, logically fits the Bengals. Their failure to protect quarterback Joe Burrow with a good line led to him missing the last six games of 2020.

Take Sewell, right?

But what if an explosive wide receiver like Chase of LSU, +220 at DraftKings for the first non-quarterback, is available?

This decision resembles placing a state-of-the-art heater in your home or buying a shiny new luxury car for your driveway. Nobody raves about infrastructure.

Sewell makes sense for Cincy, but making sense won’t make headlines.

You’re spending the fifth pick on a lineman? Really?

The DraftKings board underscores this debate. It shows the Bengals would make a stark decision between what they need and what they may want.

Sewell, Pitts, and Chase, priced relatively in the same even-money neighborhood for Top 4, present an interesting decision.

Giants’ bettors remember this scene.

The G-Men picked offensive lineman Andrew Thomas as the fourth pick in 2020. His performance was decent, but not worthy of that billing.

Picks 4 and 5 are the fulcrum of this draft regarding late rounds. Any surprises up top will impact who falls to the Cowboys, Giants, and Eagles.

Pulling the NFL Draft wagering trigger

The Dolphins may want a receiver to complement quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Florida’s Pitts would be sensible, but the board suggests he won’t last until they pick.

The Detroit Lions, Carolina Panthers, and Denver Broncos follow. Hard to assess their needs.

And then comes the NFC East, boom, boom, boom with 10-12.

That is if the Cowboys, Giants, and Eagles bypass the trade scenario.

Save some for the end

Here’s one bet tailored toward the Giants and Eagles by DraftKings.

Who goes first, DeVonta Smith or Jaylen Waddle, both of Alabama?

Waddle is -137 and Smith +110, that’s an interesting twist. Smith is the Heisman Trophy winner. Isn’t he the goods? Maybe so, but right now he’s the underdog in this individual matchup.

Here’s another:

How many Alabama players will be taken in the first round? The over-under is 5.5 with the over at -200 and the under at +155 at DraftKings.

The board says that Jones, Waddle, Smith, and Surtain II are first-round locks. Najee Harris, who obtained significant 2021 media attention, is likely. That means center Landon Dickerson will likely decide the prop.

Some bets may not be visible at certain times as the book updates the lineup. Keep checking back.

AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King




About the Author

Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo, a multiple national award-winning boxing commentator and writer, authors NFL betting columns for the Press of Atlantic City and IGaming Player, among others.