Over the course of my lifetime, the NFL Draft has transformed from that weird thing I woke up early for in middle school to a full-fledged three day spectacle in prime time that boosts the local GDP of its chosen host city.
The other big change from middle school? Me placing bets (as far as the authorities knew). I'm sure for years you could've found some offshore online books that would take your money on draft position; but it wasn't until last year, in response to the global pandemic, that most reputable Vegas stops got onboard. Suddenly, a whole new world of gambling possibilities were opened up to the widest audience ever.
With that in mind, let's break some of the best bets for the 2021 NFL Draft.
CORNERBACKS DRAFTED IN ROUND 1 (Over/Under 4.5)
UNDER 4.5 -105
This is the surest bet of the whole draft, easily. The over being positioned at -115, making it the favorite, seems absolutely preposterous. First things first, Caleb Farley, who was considered the consensus top cornerback on the board, has steadily fallen after medical reports came in that he underwent several back surgeries over the last year, specifically the scary sounding "microdiscectomy." Now there's a question if he'll drop out of the first round altogether, much like Myles Jack, after the announcement of a similar surgery on his knee that dropped him to the top of day two.
Outside of Farley, there appears to be only three other cornerbacks consistently graded at a first round level: Patrick Surtain II, Jaycee Horn, and Greg Newsome. The first two appear slated to go in the top half of the round, while Newsome will most likely go somewhere in the twenties, or right at twenty to the Bears, as Kyle Fuller's replacement. Even if some other team takes a flier on Farley, there still needs to be one more cornerback drafted to hit that over. The pair of Georgia CBs of Eric Stokes and Tyson Campbell are positioned to go next, and I could really only see one team (the Saints) who desperately needs the help.
The math on this one just makes too much sense.
Virginia Tech CB Caleb Farley, a projected first-round pick, will have a microdisectomy Tuesday with noted back-spe… https://t.co/RPaFVfQtav— Adam Schefter (@Adam Schefter)1616442226.0
PATRICK SURTAIN II (Over/Under 10.5)
Speaking of corners, they don't build them much better than this guy. Long, fast, and polished, Surtain was the crown jewel of the Crimson Tide's secondary. There are a couple places at the top that would make sense, but his absolute floor is pick ten. The Dallas Cowboys need a corner something fierce, and Surtain is an obvious fit in new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn's Cover 3 scheme. Write this down in pen.
JA'MARR CHASE (Over/Under 5.5)
While many would argue the smart move is protecting last year's number one overall pick Joe Burrow, who is on the road to recovery after tearing both his ACL and MCL, as well as, damaging his PCL and meniscus, the Bengals organization seems dead set on reuniting the LSU teammates. The hype on Chase is high, as reportedly, the Lions tried to jump Cincy by trading up to Atlanta's spot with their sights set on him. However, it never materialized, and it all comes down to the Bengals, given the first three picks are guaranteed to be QBs, and Kyle Pitts should look good in black. Zac Taylor has referenced and/or hinted at the importance of Chase's connection to Burrow, which I doubt is any kind of a smokescreen. They need to replace A.J. Green or vtick it to him, apparently.
For anyone skeptical about Ja'Marr Chase being the first receiver off the board, consider this: Justin Jefferson wa… https://t.co/ViSopZfODp— Albert Breer (@Albert Breer)1617201308.0
OFFENSIVE PLAYERS IN FIRST ROUND (Over/Under 18.5)
OVER 18.5 -110
This draft contains both a ton of top end talent at premier offensive positions and runs incredibly deep, especially at WR and OL. Add in, at least, the five QBs slated to go earlier, and that's a recipe for an overwhelming offensive-focused first round. If you're at mock drafts, the top ten contains two defensive players, at most, and I'd bet it's only one. You're nearly halfway home before the impending deluge of mid-to-late-round offensive linemen, like Alijah Vera-Tucker, Teven Jenkins, Christian Darrisaw, and Dillion Radunz. You better believe there's going to be a run on the next tier of WRs behind Chase, Smith, and Waddle. I think three of the four guys, like Rashod Bateman, Elijah Moore, Kadarious Toney, and Dynami Brown could all go in the twenties. Not to mention, a team will absolutely reach for Najee Harris. Add all that up and what do you have? A winner.
49ERS SELECT TREY LANCE +300
Depending on where you look this bet can pay from +250 to +400. The reports out of San Francisco paint this as a two horse race between Mac Jones and the North Dakota State Bison product. This is a value play, and, frankly, one for my own sanity, as a Niner fan. I refuse to believe that Jones will actually end up the final pick, and this is part of my positive visualization tactics to will my desired outcome into existence. Amen.
From @NFLTotalAccess Draft Preview: The #49ers are in a good place at No. 3. They will keep everyone guessing until… https://t.co/zKmtUaKI6z— Ian Rapoport (@Ian Rapoport)1619646790.0
From @NFLTotalAccess Draft Preview: The #49ers are in a good place at No. 3. They will keep everyone guessing until… https://t.co/zKmtUaKI6z— Ian Rapoport (@Ian Rapoport)1619646790.0
It was announced this week that Governor Andrew Cuomo approved legislation that will allow for online sports betting in the State of New York — starting just in time for the Super Bowl in 2022.
Cuomo signed the bill as part of the 2022 New York State fiscal plan, and New York State Senator Joseph Abbaddo Jr. believes that the first online bets to be placed will be on February 13, 2022, which is the same day as the Super Bowl. New York will become the fifteenth state to allow for some form of online gambling to take place.
Following the 2018 decision made by the Supreme Court to repeal the nationwide ban on sports betting, New York quickly saw casinos pop up across the state throughout 2019. These casinos were safe havens for sports bettors that had been forced to place bets illegally.
With this new legislation, all New York residents will have the ability to place legitimate bets through whichever platform providers win bids with New York State.
Gov. Cuomo ends briefing by predicting "Bills win, bet on it." The governor proposed legislation to legalize online… https://t.co/0ysl67un7A— News 8 WROC (@News 8 WROC)1610139272.0
New York officials will begin accepting bids from platform providers such as FanDuel by no later than July 1 of this year. New York will be allowed to accept bids from two platform providers to operate in the state. Providers that win bids will pay a one-time fee of $25 million for the right to facilitate sports betting in the state and must also be physically housed in a New York casino.
There will be a recurring $5 million fee associated with operating their mobile betting servers at each casino. A maximum tax rate of 13% has been set for the providers, which would yield a massive boost to the state's tax revenue.
In 2020, online sports betting generated over $200 million in tax revenue for states that allow it. It's estimated that over $20 billion was spent on betting in the U.S. last year, and that's just accounting for legal bets placed.
Governor Cuomo leans toward the New York State Lottery running the online sports betting operation, as it's done in many other states where online gambling is legal; however, many lawmakers opposed this structure and favor allowing private entities to be making bids. Opponents to the state running the online sportsbook argue that it would allow for the state to essentially have a monopoly over the industry and discourage open competition from entering the arena.
Not everyone is pleased with this news, however, as New Jersey is set to take a big hit once online gambling is legal in New York. Currently, many New Yorkers place bets in their neighboring state, as it's been a legal activity there since 2012. Since that time, New Jersey has grown to become the largest sports betting market in America, due in part to the overflow of New Yorkers placing bets just by crossing the Hudson River.
Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to establish sports gambling so he can tax it to reduce the huge budget deficit. Projec… https://t.co/mJAqcXoauG— Ralph Nader (@Ralph Nader)1610388318.0
As more professional sports embrace gambling and betting, it's to be expected that more states will join New York by legalizing online sports books. As states are finalizing budgets for 2022, many will be faced with how to make up for unexpected losses as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Legalization of cannabis and sports betting have long been controversial topics of debate, but as unemployment and social services have drained a lot of states' resources over the past 15 month they both may be states' saving graces.
Even though it feels like the football season just ended, the NFL Draft is next month, and if you're like me you're looking for a chance at redemption in your fantasy football league in 2021.
The trend in the NFL for more teams to lean on a pass heavy offensive attack has allowed for many fantasy managers to view top tier receivers as equally valuable assets as the top running backs available. This is good for opening up options in the first few rounds of drafts; but it places an increased importance on either hitting on your first RB taken, or finding some value later in drafts if you decide to go against the traditional strategy of coming out of the first four rounds with two starting running backs.
If you're someone looking to have a bounce back year in your fantasy league or just feel like being a maverick and switching up strategies, it's never too early to start your fantasy football league research. Let's take a look at a few backs that are trending up for 2021.
J.K. Dobbins Baltimore Ravens
This shouldn't be a surprise, and I must admit this is an obvious one. But it would be remiss of me to not lead off with Dobbins on this list. Unless the Ravens bring in competition either through the draft or free agency, Dobbins looks to have a clear path to being the lead back for the team in 2021.
Mark Ingram was released by Baltimore in January following a disappointing 2020 campaign which really served as a roadblock for Dobbins for the first half of his rookie season. Still with the team is Gus Edwards, who has been a solid backup in his three years with the team, and it's been rumored that he may be a target for an extension at some point before his contract expires at the end of the 2021 season.
We shouldn't expect to see the Ravens add any significant talent at that position, as we saw Dobbins excel down the stretch once given the opportunity to start. The biggest obstacle for Dobbins from a fantasy perspective moving forward will be consistency. In an offense that has Lamar Jackson at the helm, you never know when Lamar will take control of the rushing attack himself leaving scraps for his running backs.
As of right now JK Dobbins is the RB19 off the board in early redraft data He was an RB2 this year with just over… https://t.co/IKytZtOLLP— Justin Wright (@Justin Wright)1614831736.0
Either way, you shouldn't be letting Dobbins slip past the second round in drafts this year. Baltimore should be adding some help at wide receiver this year in an effort to try to keep him in the pocket more. This should also translate to a more traditional rushing attack which will help the bottom line for J.K. Dobbins.
Ezekiel Elliott Dallas Cowboys
Doesn't it seem like Zeke has been around for a decade and it's right about that time for a bell cow running back's body to be breaking down? That must explain his down 2020 season, right?
Elliott did post a career-low 979 rushing yards last year, but the injury to Dak Prescott effectively disabled the entire Dallas offense. Also Zeke is only 25 years old; that's right: 25. Obviously running backs, especially ones that take on a workload like Elliott, have a shorter shelf life than most other position players based on the hits they're taking. But if other managers in your league want to let Zeke slip into the second, or even THIRD, round of drafts this summer please be the one to take advantage of that.
Believe me, it will happen.
It is important that either Dak Prescott returns next season or the team is able to bring in a viable replacement at QB. But Zeke just needs a little bit better play than what he got from Andy Dalton and Ben DiNucci last season to be better. Sure, we have seen guys take big dips in the prime of their careers in the past, but Elliott doesn't seem like a candidate to be one of those guys.
He comes with pedigree, a track record, and the Cowboys' offense is very good with Dak Prescott at QB. I would feel pretty comfortable with Elliott at the back end of the first round, but don't be surprised if you can target him into the early third round of drafts for 2021.
Chase Edmonds Arizona Cardinals
Remember all the hype surrounding Kenyan Drake before fantasy drafts last year? A do-it-all back in Kliff Kingsbury's high flying system with Kyler Murray under center to draw defenses attention to defending the pass. It worked out pretty well. Drake finished the 2020 season with 1,092 yards from scrimmage and 10 touchdowns. But Drake is a free agent, and up to this point hasn't worked out a new deal to return to the desert in 2021.
That would leave Chase Edmonds as the next man up for the Cards. In 2019 he broke out for a huge game against the Giants, rushing for 126 yards and three touchdowns. Last year Edmonds continued to serve as a solid backup and five double digit fantasy point games in a reserve role.
Chase Edmonds bell cow? 🤔 https://t.co/UPn8dFV1TR— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF Fantasy Football)1614985322.0
The prophecy of Arizona being a fantasy promised land for running backs appears to be true, and if that continues to be the case into 2021, then Edmonds could be THE steal of fantasy drafts this summer. This is also a contract year for Edmonds, so if he's given the opportunity to perform in a starting role this year, you're going to get the most out of him if he's on your squad.
While the Tampa Bay Buccaneers may have come away with the Lombardi, there was so much greatness displayed in 2020, we believe the players with the flyest kicks, the smoothest flow and the craftiest Twitter fingers deserve shout-outs as well.
So to honor the 2020 NFL season, the FindBet staff came together to develop, nominate and elect the biggest winners from the NFL season in twelve distinct categories.
People's Champion: Deshaun Watson, Larry Fitzgerald, Ryan Fitzpatrick
There are some men who transcend fanning the flames of rivalry, enjoying an elite status known to few athletes: a player who is beloved by every fan. We believe that Larry Fitzgerald, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Deshaun Watson are fan faves not just in their cities, but in all the NFL kingdom, which is what makes them champions of the people.
Winner: Deshaun Watson
Despite covering the Seahawks and Raiders respectively, Aryanna and Ashmere have professed their admiration for Watson's talent and tenacity time and time again on Findbet broadcasts.
The rest of the staff agrees: for a historic campaign as the best losing quarterback we've ever seen, Deshaun Watson is a fantastic guy with a can-do attitude that brought this team to the playoffs before and is sure to do it again, no matter who it's with.
Best Kick Game: Jarvis Landry "Black Panther", Adam Thielen "Alex Trebek", Alvin Kamara Christmas, Cam Jordan "Merry New Year"
Whether it's a charitable #MyCauseMyCleats design, a festive yuletide treat, or a tribute to a fallen hero, NFL players love lacing up fancy cleats to the beat of their own drum. The kick game offers a place for player creativity to shine on-field, making this category rather competitive amongst meticulous, fashionable athletes.
Winner: Jarvis Landry "Black Panther"
The swift, relentless losses felt in 2020 echoed throughout the NFL all season.
While Kobe & Gianna's' deaths shocked and shook us to our cores, there was another cultural icon lost last year: Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman.
That's why this year's winner of Best Cleats goes to Jarvis Landry's touching tribute to Boseman. The high-quality artwork captured the real-life Black superhero who inspired a generation.
Best Flow: Cam Newton, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jamie Gillan
Aura, swag, flow—whatever you call it, some players possess a certain je ne sais quoi that amplifies their confidence. Whether it's Cam's riveting red carpet look or that iconic outfit that defined an era of Fitzmagic, here are three guys who've got a flow that swept up the league this year.
Winner: Jamie Gillan
While Fitz and Cam are well-known for their off-field flow, Browns punter Jamie Gillan was our dark horse because he deserves to be known for those luscious locks.
What adds to Gillan's coolness is the fact that the native Scotsman and former rugby player is known as "The Scottish Hammer," reinvigorating the allure of athlete nicknames.
While punters often remain unknown, Gillan's Braveheart vibes didn't go unnoticed.
The Golden Thumbs: Quandre Diggs, Stefon Diggs, Tom Brady
Everyone's got a Twitter these days, but some do it better than others. From Seahawks safety Quandre Diggs speaking his truth or Tom Brady making self-deprecating memes, the Twittersphere had a lot of gold to work with in this category, allowing us to forge a crown worthy of any Twitter king.
Winner: Tom Brady
TB12 is the GOAT squared: the Greatest Of All Time is also The Greatest Of All Twitter.
To be fair, Tom doesn't exactly run his own Twitter: the branding king has an entire creative team develop content for him.
It's actually pretty cool: Shadow Lion was founded in 2017 to support Tom Brady's off-field media efforts. Since then, they've built an impressive NFL clientele, including Patrick Mahomes, Jalen Ramsey and others.
So if you see Tom's perfectly-manicured content, now you know who's behind it, and why everyone is jumping on the Brady social bandwagon.
Baby Yoda Award: Justin Herbert, Justin Jefferson, Chase Young
The Yoda/Baby Yoda Super Bowl meme created a perfect analogy to the rookie stunners in the league: learning how to wield "The Force", these young twentysomethings broke league records and changed their franchises for the better. For that, we honor them with the Baby Yoda moniker.
Winner: Justin Jefferson
While Chase Young and Justin Herbert were visibly recognized for their spectacular rookie campaigns, we believed that record-holder Justin Jefferson deserved our Baby Yoda award for becoming the closest thing the Vikings have had to Randy Moss since… Randy Moss.
His inaugural 1,400-yard season set the record for most yards in a rookie season, meaning Jefferson has made history months after setting foot in US Bank Stadium.
As OG Yoda might say, "From this one, great things we expect."
Best TD Celly: Aaron Rodgers "Key & Peele", Colts "Soul Train", Melvin Gordon "Drumline", Kirk Cousins "Griddy"
You don't have to be a football fan to appreciate the beauty of the touchdown dance. While choreographed team-centric celebrations have taken the league by storm, so have dance trends like The Griddy. Whatever the celebration, it's clear that these nominees could easily grace Dancing With The Stars like Von and Antonio did.
Still proud that The Griddy originated in @aryannaprasad’s home state of Louisiana, and still laughing at Kirk Cous… https://t.co/2wA1LmYFc3— FindBet.com (@FindBet.com)1615071760.0
Winner: Kirk Cousins "Griddy"
This was our most disputed category this year—it's hard to pick a favorite amongst the hand sanitizing, the Soul Trains, and the Key & Peele double-pump. Here's a hint as to who won: our Baby Yoda was a part of it!This year's Best TD Celly had to go to the biggest trend sweeping NFL locker rooms, all the way from a New Orleans high school: this year was the year of the Gritty. The Gritty traveled from New Orleans to LSU all the way up to Minnesota, where Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen and Kirk Cousins had their own iterations. While Southerners did it best, Cousins had the most memorable when he tried—and failed—to get off his Gritty.
Butt Fumble Lifetime Achievement Award: Daniel Jones, Todd Gurley
Getting posterized isn't just in basketball—there are plenty of embarrassing moments that live in infamy amongst NFL fans (just as Mark "Butt Fumble" Sanchez). A few images that stuck with us this season include Todd Gurley's accidental roll into the endzone, eventually resulting in another Falcons loss, and Daniel Jones' self-induced trip that reminds us he is truly Eli's successor.
Winner: Todd Gurley
It's hard to follow up Mark Sanchez' iconic blunder, but the Falcons have had their fair share of Butt Fumble moments since, ironically, the best offensive season we've ever seen.
In their Week 7 matchup against the Detroit Lions, the Falcons were in the red zone with 1:04 minutes to spare. All they had to do was run down the clock, kick a field goal, and the game was over.
But then Todd Gurley accidentally scored a touchdown. Oops.
With one minute left, a criminally underrated Matt Stafford answered with a touchdown of their own, giving this win to the Lions and another shameful moment in Falcons history.
Best Beef: Vrabel vs. Harbaugh, Tate vs. Ramsey
A gritty battle of brawn, sometimes the heat between NFL enemies escalates from chippy shoulder shoves to a full-out brawl. Whether it's coaches screaming about logos or players fighting over family honor, the contenders for Best Beef was the stuff of reality tv legend.
Winner: Golden Tate & Jalen Ramsey, Week 4
Beef is when helmets clash in the streets
Beef is when flying fists start to meet
Beef is when I see you
Guaranteed to be in I-C-U
The lyrics may be modified, but Biggie's classic "Life After Death" diss track explains it perfectly: beef is when the feud follows you wherever you go.
That's exactly what happened to the winners of this year's Best Beef, Golden Tate and Jalen Ramsey. Their fisticuffs dust-up during—and after—a Week 4 matchup between the Rams and the Giants was a family affair, but not in the way you might expect.
You see, Ramsey used to date Tate's younger sister, Breanna. But when Breanna became pregnant with Ramsey's child, he left her high and dry... right in the middle of her pregnancy.
Golden didn't take kindly to that, so when he had the chance to pummel Ramsey, he did.
The two might win Best Beef, but Aryanna thinks Golden deserves a Brother Of The Year award as well. And while we're at it, maybe we'll give Ramsey Worst Boyfriend Of The Century.
Big Man On Campus (BMOC) Award: Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen
In the Merriam Webster dictionary, a "big man on campus" is defined as an old-fashioned way of describing "an important and well-known person, especially at a school." The example sentence illustrates why our three BMOC, or MVP, nominees are QBs: "The quarterback of the football team is a real big man on campus." Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen all stunned the league in different ways this year, illustrating that they were truly Big MOCs in the NFL game.
Winner: Aaron Rodgers
Another MVP season, a whirlwind romance with Shailene Woodley: it seems like Aaron Rodgers definitely had a better 2020 than the rest of us.
But strictly speaking football, the esteemed Packers QB had the most consistently great quarterback season in the league. Building a rapport with Adams and bringing his team to a dominant 13-3, Rodgers stunned us once more with deep aerial shots launched from a cannon of an arm. Sorry Mahomes and Allen—this pasture of GOATs isn't quite finished grazing the field yet.
Excellence In Breakdowns: Falcons/Cowboys game, Raiders loss to Dolphins, Chargers for 4 straight losses
If there's anything you don't want to excel in as a professional athlete, it's losing. And while everyone eventually loses (we still haven't seen an undefeated SuperBowl team!), some teams are better at blowing a lead than others. From the notorious Falcons franchise to four straight losses for the still-cursed Chargers, here are a few teams that are frustratingly excellent at letting go in crunch time.
Winner: Atlanta Falcons vs. Dallas Cowboys, Week 2
Ever since that blown 28-3 Super Bowl, the Falcons have perfected the art of blowing the lead.
While there were some excellent contenders this year, the Falcons' 39-40 loss to the Cowboys in Week 2 won out as most dysfunctional.
To put it in perspective, the Falcons ended the first quarter with a 20-point lead. Yeah, it was that bad of a breakdown.
Fantasy MVP Award: Dalvin Cook, Derrick Henry, Davante Adams
While football is a team sport, it's important to acknowledge the individual successes of remarkable players who had record numbers—especially when they played for your fantasy football team. From Derrick Henry's 2,000-yard season to a Davante Adams/Aaron Rodgers rapport that Rodgers believes merits a HOF nod, here are the MVP candidates of your fantasy football league.
Winner: Davante Adams
Alongside the BMOC is a guy you either hate because you didn't have him or love because you did: it's fantasy football destroyer Davante Adams.
If fantasy was a game of Battleship, Adams would find all of your opponents and blow up their spot with his unrivaled receiving stats. With 115 catches for over 1,300 yards and 18 touchdowns, Adams either saved or sank your season, and he certainly helped Rodgers reach the NFC Championship.
Mr. Miagi Award: Kevin Stefanski, Sean McDermott, Brian Flores
A ubiquitous pop culture reference, any "Mr. Miagi" is a wise teacher that guides an underdog to powerful victory. For the Browns, Bills and Dolphins, they have recent head coaches to thank for markedly increased success in recent years, making Stefanski, McDermott and Flores all likely candidates as the NFL's latest Mr. Miagi.
Winner: Sean McDermott
Sean McDermott brought one of the NFL's biggest underdogs all the way to the AFC Championship in just 3 years. That alone deserves a trophy, but it's been a steady ascent for the Bills since McDermott joined them in 2017.
The way that McDermott has been able to build a threatening pass attack with Josh Allen, Stephon Diggs and an underrated Cole Beasley is difficult to put into words, but the cheers from Bill's Mafia this offseason captured it perfectly: finally, a 25-year drought has been put to rest.
That's all we have for this year's awards, but we'd like to thank you for sharing your NFL season with us at Findbet—it's truly been an honor.
Be sure to tune into our awards broadcast as well as our Awards Show Afterparty live on Saturday, March 6th at 7pm EST on Findbet and Popdust channels.