Deadspin’s 2021 NFL Draft gambling guide

Deadspin’s 2021 NFL Draft gambling guide

The state is set. At least this year we have a stage.
The state is set. At least this year we have a stage.
Image: AP

Remember this time a year ago when all we had to wager on was the NFL Draft?

Oh sure, there were also some obscure soccer leagues (somehow) still running, emanating from the likes of Belarus and Nicaragua. Table tennis became big, too.

But none of that came close to touching the intrigue and theatrics of a virtual draft. With this unique format came an endless list of possible bets to make, from the over/under on how many cats and dogs would be present to the type of alcohol — if any — that’d be consumed.

This year will present a much closer return to the normal routine, one that at least has Roger Goodell back on a stage greeting a dozen or so of draftees that will be in attendance. It’s a far contrast from when The Commish was sunk deep into his comfy basement recliner, reading off the selections while clad in a Cris Collinsworth-style quarter-zip sweater.

Though a return to the more standard affair means there aren’t as many odd props to consider, we still have a plethora of bets to choose from. Let’s take a look.

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Who Will Be Drafted Third Overall?

Who Will Be Drafted Third Overall?

Illustration for article titled Deadspin’s 2021 NFL Draft gambling guide
Illustration: Getty Images

We know Trevor Lawrence is going No. 1 to the Jags after this being a talking point all of last season (Tank For Trevor). At No. 2, the Jets are most likely nabbing Zach Wilson to be their new QB. With Lawrence carrying gross -10000 odds for the Draft’s top honor and Wilson being -4000 to go second, there’s too much juice to make anything off these two calls.

That brings us to the No. 3 selection, held by the 49ers after they traded a whole lot of picks to Miami to move into this spot. Given the deep quarterback class involved — one of the deepest ever, perhaps — and the constant noise surrounding Jimmy Garoppolo, it’s a safe bet that San Francisco is getting its next franchise QB.

The question is, which signal-caller are they grabbing? Surprisingly, Mac Jones is the relatively large favorite here at -200, so I’m seeing this as an opportunity for a great value bet on someone else. That “someone else” is the guy with maybe the highest ceiling behind Lawrence in Justin Fields, who is a +375 underdog to be drafted third. I see the Ohio State product as the complete package who can do it all, and thus, I think this is a very wise bet.

Pick: Justin Fields +375

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Over/Under Penei Sewell Draft Position: 6.5

Over/Under Penei Sewell Draft Position: 6.5

Illustration for article titled Deadspin’s 2021 NFL Draft gambling guide
Image: AP

After those first three QBs fly off the board in succession to commence things, it will be the next three selections that determine this particular prop bet.

Atlanta and Miami are in that trifecta and will probably end up as the new homes for Florida TE Kyle Pitts and LSU receiver Ja’Marr Chase, respectively. That leaves only the inept Bengals to account for, which brings about a whole lot of possibilities for what they might do. Mike Brown is still the owner.

However, even Cincy can’t resist this mammoth 6-foot-6, 335-pound lineman. One, the Bengals’ long-standing elephant in the room — even before this past season — has been their woeful offensive line. That only escalated as last year’s No. 1 overall pick, Joe Burrow, was consistently being hounded by opposing defenses, ultimately resulting in a season-ending knee injury.

Obviously, protecting Burrow should be the top priority, especially as he’s easing back into the fold from a torn ACL and MCL. Well then, here’s a perfect elixir for that. Adding Sewell makes too much sense, but remember, this is the Bengals.

Pick: Under 6.5 (-120)

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Who Will Be The First Defensive Player Taken?

Who Will Be The First Defensive Player Taken?

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Image: AP

In this offense-loaded draft, we won’t see a defensive player’s name being called until close to the middle of the first round.

The consensus is that it’s going to be a cornerback, which would rule out standout linebacker Micah Parsons. That leaves us to decide between Patrick Surtain II and Jaycee Horn, both of whom are going to establish themselves as lockdown corners in the NFL. Still, I really like Surtain’s skillset — similar to his dad’s — and that’ll set him up for a nice career.

Pick: Patrick Surtain II (EV - Even Money)

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Will a Running Back Go in the First Round?

Will a Running Back Go in the First Round?

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Image: AP

There’s a common misconception these days that teams can wait on running backs in the draft. With two immensely-talented tailbacks like Najee Harris and Travis Etienne that look like legit prospects, though, why bother waiting?

I did an NFL Draft betting show with Warren Sapp and he’s very high on both these youngsters, even thinking both could potentially land in the first round. Being a Hall-of-Famer whose job it was to plug up running lanes for a long time, I’ll take him at his word. And we only need one to land within the top 32. Though the juice is unfriendly, I’m rolling with Sapp.

Pick: Yes (-450)

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What Will the Vikings Draft In The First Round: Offense or Defense?

What Will the Vikings Draft In The First Round: Offense or Defense?

Illustration for article titled Deadspin’s 2021 NFL Draft gambling guide
Image: Getty Images

One of the emerging popular prop bets in the NFL Draft is wagering on what a franchise will do with its first-round pick.

Of every team out there, my favorite has to be the Vikings. This has to be a no-brainer, right? They have their franchise QB locked up for years. The running-back situation is so stacked that their backup, Alexander Mattison, could be a formidable starter for several other clubs. And they’re clearly set at wide receiver for a while, too.

Compare that to a defense littered with holes and the answer seems academic. Minnesota gave up more points than all but three teams a year ago while ranking 27th in total yards allowed. I think they go with Surtain, Parsons or Horn here and best of all, the juice is even on both sides.

Pick: Defense (-120)

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