2021 NFL Draft Odds & Prop Picks: 4 Positional Plays to Add
Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images. Pictured: Ja’Marr Chase
A couple sportsbooks have recently released more NFL draft props, so it’s time to place more bets.
Last year, I was 124-88-1 (+26.2 units) betting the NFL draft and the No. 6 mocker in the FantasyPros accuracy contest.
In 2019, I was 54-29 (+17.7 units) on the draft and was also a top-20 mocker in the FantasyPros accuracy contest and Mock Draft Database contest.
While I rely on my own research, I also take a “wisdom of the crowds” approach by surveying an index of mock drafts.
I find that these drafts, created by experts with established records of success, collectively give me a good sense of the realistic range of outcomes for what we might see with any given player or pick.
Here are the 2021 NFL Draft props I’m betting right now.
Trevor Lawrence No. 1 Pick (DraftKings)
I already bet on Lawrence to be the No. 1 pick at -1200, but I’m adding to the position now.
Lawrence was reportedly fantastic at his pro day, and DraftKings is hanging a generous line in comparison to other sportsbooks.
At -2000, Lawrence has 95.2% implied odds to go No. 1, but I think his true odds are closer to 99%.
In all 16 of my indexed mocks, Lawrence goes No. 1 overall to the Jaguars.
I’m not putting a big position on this, and if you bet it you must be fine with a sportsbook holding your money for a couple of months, but I’ll take value where I can get it.
PICK: Lawrence No. 1 Pick (-2000). 1.0 units. Limit: -3500
Ja’Marr Chase No. 1 WR (PointsBet)
I’ve already bet on Chase to be the No. 3 overall pick, so I’m very bullish on him to be the first receiver selected in the draft.
In my post-Super Bowl mock draft, I have Chase going No. 6 to the Eagles and Devonta Smith No. 7 to the Lions, so it might seem as if they are in a tight race to be the top receiver in the class, but I don’t think this is close at all.
Entering college, Chase was the superior recruit.
- Ja’Marr Chase: 4 stars
- DeVonta Smith: 3-4 stars
Chase broke out as a 19-year-old sophomore; Smith, 21-year-old junior.
Chase is bigger and younger.
Simply put, he’s better.
And other experts agree. Chase is selected ahead of Smith in 13-of-16 surveyed mocks.
Unless something changes over the next two months, I think it would be a significant upset for Smith or any other receiver to be selected ahead of Chase.
PICK: Chase No. 1 WR Taken (-140). 1.4 units. Limit: -250
Najee Harris No. 1 RB (DraftKings)
I don’t think a running back should go in Round 1, but if one does I don’t see why that guy should be Travis Etienne instead of Najee Harris.
Etienne was the clear lead back for Clemson for three seasons, he’s younger and he’s the superior receiver, but this past year Harris was arguably the better overall back.
- Najee Harris (13 games): 251-1,466-26 rushing | 43-425-4 receiving
- Travis Etienne (12 games): 168-914-14 rushing | 48-588-2 receiving
Harris is significantly bigger, and he entered college as the superior recruit.
- Najee Harris: 230 pounds | 5 stars
- Travis Etienne: 205 pounds | 4 stars
With -200 odds at DraftKings and -182 odds at PointsBet, Etienne is priced as if he’s the clear frontrunner to be the top back in the class, but that is simply not the case.
That’s not the case based on the production and profile data I typically look at to project draft position, and that’s definitely not the case based on the indexed mocks.
Although Etienne has the slightly edge in median draft position (23 vs. 23.5), he has the superior mode and range and appears in double the number of Round 1 mocks.
- Mode: Harris – 18 | Etienne – 23
- Range: Harris – 18 to 32 | Etienne – 23 to 32
- Drafts: Harris – 10 | Etienne – 5
I like Etienne. I have him as the No. 1 back in my rookie dynasty fantasy rankings. But that doesn’t mean I think he will be the first back selected.
It looks like the books are favoring the wrong back.
PICK: Harris No. 1 RB Taken (+125). 1.0 units. Limit: -125
Penei Sewell No. 1 OL (DraftKings)
If you could bet on Lawrence to be the No. 1 pick or No. 1 quarterback at anything under -1000, you’d automatically do that, right?
That’s how I feel about Sewell as the No. 1 offensive lineman in the class.
Sewell opted out of the 2020 season, but in 2019 he was a unanimous All-American and the winner of the Outland Trophy for his outstanding line play.
I really don’t think it’s up for debate: He’s clearly the best offensive lineman in the draft. He might even be the best overall player in the class.
There’s a legit non-zero chance that the Jets stick with quarterback Sam Darnold and take Sewell at No. 2 instead of selecting a passer.
Rashawn Slater is the only offensive lineman with a chance of challenging Sewell, but even he looks thin next to Sewell — literally but also figuratively.
In the indexed mocks, Sewell has the clear edge.
- Median: Sewell – 5 | Slater – 11
- Mode: Sewell – 5 | Slater – 13
In my post-Super Bowl mock, I have Sewell going No. 3 to the Dolphins and Slater No. 5 to the Bengals, but don’t let those relatively close draft positions fool you: It would be a massive upset for anyone other than Sewell to be the first offensive lineman taken.
Because he’s heavily favored, I won’t have a huge position on him, but I will go overweight as much as I think is reasonable.
PICK: Sewell No. 1 OL Taken (-715). 2.0 units. Limit: -1000
Matthew Freedman is 1,018-828-37 (55.1%) overall betting on the NFL. You can follow him in our free app.