Pro football is the public’s favorite sport to watch and wager on in the United States, so it should come as no surprise that the NFL Draft is a spectacle in its own right.
There’s always plenty of fanfare surrounding the 2021 NFL Draft, which begins on Thursday, April 29th and concludes on Saturday, May 2nd in Cleveland. But in the three years since the repeal of the federal ban on sports wagering, the gambling options related to the event have made it even more popular and NFL draft betting is common in many states.
How to bet on the 2021 NFL Draft
Online sportsbooks respond to the massive public interest in the draft by offering a wide range of betting options for the biggest night of the NFL offseason. The amount of offerings continues to swell with each passing year and where we currently stand, bettors have the chance to wager on seemingly every aspect of the draft. The list of options includes but is not limited to:
- Player Draft Position
- Top 5, 10, 32 Pick (Player)
- First Player Drafted From Each Position (RB, WR, OL, DL, S, CB)
- First Round Totals By Position
- Draft Matchups (Player vs. Player)
- First Pick By Team
- Position Of Team’s First Pick (QB, WR, CB, etc.)
- Playing Position Of Team’s First Pick (Offense/Defense)
- Player Draft Round
- First Round Picks By NCAA Conference
Whether you’re looking to focus your wager on a team or on individual players (or both), there’s a betting market for everyone. It should be noted that while many sites will have the same options, there are some markets that are exclusive to each site.
To successfully shop for the best line while opening the door to as many betting markets possible, bettors would be wise to consider creating multiple online sportsbook accounts.
2021 NFL Draft Betting Odds & Predictions
Each sportsbook with NFL draft lines has dozens of markets to choose from and hundreds of individual betting options. In states with more than one option for where to bet, it can be a time-consuming process to look at each betting site and every category it offers.
If you’re one of many people who aren’t able to comb through each application and all of its markets, we’ve got you covered. Using odds from DraftKings, FanDuel and BetMGM, below are six 2021 NFL Draft betting predictions to keep in mind if laying money down before the first round starts on Thursday.
NFL Draft best bets
Odds subject to change after this article is published.
It looks like there are going to be three quarterbacks off the board in a row to begin the draft. If Lance isn’t one of those three, it’s likely that Atlanta, Cincinnati, and Miami all go in different directions. That means only another team trading up into the top six could keep this from being a winning bet. At +184, the payout is pretty decent.
If the most recent rumors and the shift in betting odds are to be trusted, Mac Jones is the likeliest candidate to be picked by San Francisco and join Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson in the top three following San Francisco’s pick. If he isn’t let’s hope that Justin Fields is the pick and Lance remains on the board.
Some people enjoy betting markets that can keep them interested into day two of the draft, and one way to do that is by looking down the board for players that you know aren’t going in the first round. Mond is one of those players, and we’re willing to bet he lasts until the 76th pick or later for standard -110 odds.
Once you get past the quarterbacks at the very top of the list, it’s hard to put the rest of them in order. But with the likes of Davis Mills, Kyle Trask and even Jamie Newman all getting more attention as the draft nears, it’s entirely possible that the former Texas A&M quarterback slips quite a bit. Over at DraftKings, his draft position total is 86.5 (-112), so you can actually gain 11 extra picks by placing this bet at FanDuel Sportsbook.
This market is coming down to former Alabama product Najee Harris and Clemson’s Travis Etienne, the former of which may be an attractive option due to the odds. But despite the juice, there’s reason to be confident that Harris will be the first running back off the board.
Harris led the country in rushing TDs and was third in yards, but it’s the development of other parts of his game that will really have NFL teams salivating. After catching 37 passes in three seasons, Harris caught 43 last year as he turned himself into a major factor out of the backfield.
Both players are versatile in their ability to both run and catch the ball, but Harris took a huge leap in 2020 while Etienne arguably took a step back. Recency bias may not always be fair but in this case, it’s likely to result in Harris being the top running back taken.
One of the most difficult NFL draft markets is matching a team to a specific player without knowing how the draft board will shake out. But that’s exactly why these bets also come with some of the best payouts. If Fields is indeed passed over by the 49ers at No. 3, it’s entirely possible for Denver to wind up with the Ohio State signal caller at No. 9.
There is always the chance of another team trading into the top 10 and Denver never getting the chance to take Fields, but that is part of the gamble with these types of bets. The Broncos can go in a few directions but we know they want a quarterback competition and Fields being on the board here could cause quite a decision.
The Broncos can actually go in several directions here in terms of position, but quarterback is the likeliest scenario that oddsmakers see as of now.
It may not be as tough as picking specific players, but it’s always a bit of a risk to match teams to position groups. Especially when they are picking in the middle of a round and so many things can change leading up to that pick. That said, it isn’t too much of a stretch to bet that a team will fill their biggest positional need.
The Cardinals pick 16th and after the flurry of offensive players going in the top 10, this is the portion of the first round when we’ll start seeing some defensive guys fly off the board. Patrick Peterson is gone and Arizona desperately needs help at this position, so they’d be wise to fill that gap with this pick. It could come down to Jaycee Horn, Caleb Farley, and Greg Newsome II if the Cards indeed go cornerback.
For those of you willing to pay the price for our Najee Harris wager above, perhaps this is a suitable alternative. Sportsbooks aren’t going to let you combine multiple draft markets into the same bet, but this example is sort of like a pseudo-parlay created by the sportsbook.
Each of these players is the odds-on favorite to go off the board first at their respective positions. Chase and Sewell are being talked about as options for the Bengals at No. 5 and whichever one isn’t taken is likely to come off the board soon after. From there, it’s just about Harris being selected over Etienne. At plus-money on FanDuel, this is an interesting option.