NFL Draft 2021: Best Bets for the First Round

There might be no more confounding draft prospect than Trey Lance. Does the small school player actually have the biggest upside?

Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images

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.


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.

PATRICK SURTAIN II (Over/Under 10.5)

UNDER -160

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)

UNDER -145

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.


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.


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.

Terms & Conditions: 21+ and present in CO, IA, IL, IN, MI, NJ, PA, TN, VA or WV. New users only. Must wager in designated offer market. $10 first deposit required. $150 max bonus. See full terms at Gambling Problem? Call: 1-800-522-4700 (CO), 1-800-BETS-OFF (IA), 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN), 1-800-270-7117 for confidential help (MI), 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ, PA, IL, VA), TN REDLINE 1-800-889-9789 (TN), or visit (WV).