Hope springs eternal as a fresh sports season begins. The birds are chirping, sun is shining, temperatures rising and scent of a freshly mowed lawn all point to America’s pastime’s opening act. That’s right, the 2021 NFL Draft kicks off April 29th and runs through May 1st as Cleveland, Ohio, on the shores of Lake Erie, host this year’s festivities.
While Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence is the overwhelming favorite to be selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars with the No. 1 pick, the best online sportsbooks offer Draft odds for those eager to get their NFL betting campaign cooking.
Gamble Online’s Brad Vanderhide and Ryan Fowler chopped up some of their favorite NFL Draft prop bet odds ahead of the annual opening act that is less than two weeks away.
Brad Vanderhide: Due to my team (or my bankroll) tanking all my props last year, I’ve got the first pick. The VanderBets select Penei Sewell First Non Quarterback Drafted +200. I see four QBs coming off the board at the first four spots, whether the Falcons take one or trade out. That leaves the Bengals at #5 as a logical landing spot for the all-world blocker from Oregon.
Joe Burrow was constantly under attack from opposing d-lines. And now already has one significant knee injury. The Bengals entire future rides on keeping Burrow upright and letting him develop into a top-tier passer.
The only other option for Cincinnati is Ja’Marr Chase (+250). But, I’ll let this brilliant tweet sum up the decision for Cincy:
Over to you, Señor Fowler.
Ryan Fowler: Logic and Cincinnati don’t have the best track record, but I agree with the Sewell selection. Just ask Russell Wilson how physically/mentally draining it can be running for your life every other play season after the season.
Burrow was sacked 32 times in just 10 games. It was only a matter of time before the injury bug bit. Sewell is a 6-foot-6-inch, 325-pound insurance policy.
While it’s a nice change of pace for this tortured Browns fan to ignore all the quarterback chatter heading into a draft for once, boy Cleveland could have feasted on this class for the better part of the past two decades. I digress. Baker Mayfield helped lead the Browns to the divisional playoff round thanks, in part, to the two-headed monster in the backfield of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt.
Speaking of running backs, Alabama’s Najee Harris and Clemson’s Travis Etienne are the two heavy favorites at the position to come off the board first, but I’ll drop some digits on Harris -160 to Be The First Running Back Drafted.
While I’m not thrilled with his four-year workload in the Tide’s backfield, his larger frame and pass-catching ability makes him a 3-down back, which provides extra value for those willing to burn a first rounder on the running back.
Vanderhide: A first-round running back? The analytics crowd will be coming for you. But I agree, and Harris does not even have to go in the first for you to get paid.
Though I can see the Steelers going Harris at pick 24. He combines the talents of their last two stud-RBs: Jerome Bettis and Le’Veon Bell. Harris may not be a home-run hitter, but no one ever accused The Bus of being an Express, either. Meanwhile, I am not even convinced Etienne is the second back selected.
While I think it’s clear Sewell and Harris will the first players drafted at their position, I like longer odds on who will be the first WR off of the board. I’m putting some shekels down on Jaylen Waddle +600 First WR Drafted. I’ve already gone over why I think the Bengals go Sewell and not Chase with the fifth pick. I think the Dolphins at 6 pass on the LSU-stud as well.
After starting this draft process with the third pick, the Fins fell back to 12 before moving back up to 6. Miami is telegraphing two things: first, they are not going QB. Second, they have identified a weapon to give Tua Tagovailoa.
I think it’ll be his former Crimson Tide teammate. Coach Brian Flores likely values Waddle fighting to come back from an injury in time to play for a National Championship. Compared to Chase, who sat out the 2020 campaign, I like the plus value on Waddle.
Fowler: The rust versus rest debate rages on once more. Online sportsbook BetOnline has Waddle’s draft position Over/Under 11.5 with both sides minus-money, which is code for, they have no idea and are protecting themselves.
Flipping to the defensive side of the ball, I’m going to double dip on Alabama’s Patrick Surtain to be the First Defensive Player Draft +120 and Draft In Top 10 at -115. Note: you can’t parlay these on Bovada. The defensive back is projected to go to the Panthers at No. 8 and Cowboys at No. 10 in several mock drafts. What would make MORE sense is for Surtain to find a home in Detroit after the Lions finished the 2020 season ranked 31st against the pass.
However, Detroit’s front office just let Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay walk out the door and Jared Goff’s top target at the moment is *checks notes* tight end T.J, Hockenson. This is sub-optimal and why they’ll likely lean receiver.
Vanderhide: If there were a prop for the Lions to be picking first in the 2022 Draft, I’d be all over it. Plus, a Surtain pick would be admitting that choosing Jeff Okudah third last year was a mistake. Even an entire new front office wants to avoid hanging the bust label around the neck of last year’s top selection.
I also was unaware we were stacking picks, but I like the CalvinBall creativity. I would be stunned if Surtain falls past Dallas at 10, so I think you’re safe. For my next selection, I’m going OVER 4.5 Total Linebackers Draft In Round 1 +150. This bet is simplified by Bovada having Azeez Ojulari listed as an LB.
I feel confident in stating Micah Parsons, Ojulari, and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah are first rounders. Tulsa’s Zaven Collins is a do-everything freak that should be a top pick. Dane Brugler of The Athletic even has him as the first LB off of the board (+1800 on Bovada), going 15th to the Patriots in his most recent mock.
That leaves fast-rising Jamin Davis as the pivot man. The Kentucky linebacker likely solidified his status with an outstanding Pro Day. He ran a sub 4.5 40 yard dash, had a 42 inch vertical leap, and broad jumped 11 feet. At nearly 6 foot 4 and 235 lbs!
Fowler: Is it just me or have NFL pundits and Draft experts sounded like they were toasting Bill Brasky when waxing poetic about Kyle Pitts? My Twitter feed became a little grotesque with the love affair the past two, three weeks.
However, when the tight end’s head likely became too large to fit through a doorway, we get Pitts’ cold shower pre-draft report to extinguish the hot takes. It’s all about balance, the Goldilocks’ principled approach to NFL scouting. With all that said, online sportsbook BetOnline’s bookmaker have Pitts’ draft slot Over / Under 5.5.
I’m willing to pay the vig on the -145 on the OVER, meaning he’ll be drafted 6th overall or later. With the Jags, Jets and Niners all focused on their next trigger and Bengals really needing to upgrade their o-line, the wild card becomes the Falcons at No. 4 and/or if another team trades up into the top five to take Pitts.
While he’s been compared to everybody from Kellen Winslow Sr. to Plaxico Burress to Calvin Johnson, Pitts is on the outside looking in on the top five later this month.
To Kyle Pitts!
Vanderhide: You’re right. Everyone seems to be in love with Kyle Pitts, but is any TE worth a top 5 pick? Or actually trading up to land?
I think our NFL Draft Prop Bet squads are pretty solid. But we cannot close out an NFL Draft discussion without touching on our playoff game-winning Cleveland Browns. As a fan, it seems so odd to see them drafting outside the top 10, all the way down at 26.
What do you see GM Andrew Berry and company doing? I still feel they snag a talented but developmental edge rusher. Even after signing Jadeveon Clowney, I believe the Browns will try and add a long-term complement to Myles Garrett.
Fowler: Ah yes, the Cleveland Browns, far from lovable when they are losing, this franchise continues to find unique ways to toy with fans’ emotions. However, you have to hand it to Berry n’ Co.’s free agent focus in acquiring some veteran secondary help to mentor Greedy, Delpit and Ward.
I agree with you on the need to find a d-line bookend opposite Garrett. Clowney’s, and for that matter Takk McKinley’s, ability to survive an expanded 17-game regular season is suspect. While the Browns 2021’s first-round pick won’t grease the wheels to Super Bowl Sunday, Cleveland’s roster construction as it stands now is remarkable considering 0-16 was just four seasons ago. And who knows, perhaps they dig into their bag of tricks at 26 and *swoon* trade down like the good ol’ days.