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2021 NFL Draft Best Bets: Football Picks, Predictions, Odds to Consider on DraftKings Sportsbook

Julian Edlow gives his best bets on DraftKings Sportsbook for the 2021 NFL Draft, which begins on Thursday, April 29.

I love betting on NFL and NBA drafts, but I’ll admit, this one snuck up on me. Last year, the NFL Draft landed in the height of the pandemic, with no live sports going on. It gave us tons of time to research, following a completely normal college football season. I wound up with something in the neighborhood of 30 bets on that draft. For comparison, I had four bets on the 2019 draft.

This year’s draft strikes me as more difficult to bet on — partially because of the weird college football season and the entire draft process all happening during the pandemic, and partially because we’ve had NBA and MLB to focus on. That said, I’ve had some time to dig in, and there are some plays on the board I feel comfortable investing in. Here’s what jumps out to me on DraftKings Sportsbook.




First Non-QB to be Drafted: Kyle Pitts (-150)

*Bet written up on April 29

This is the biggest play I’ve placed on the draft. My opinion is that Pitts is a legitimate generational talent, and these NFL teams recognize that. He’s going to go very high in the draft, as his draft position is now juiced to -225 to be a top-five pick. I think we get much better value on the Florida TE to be the first non-QB selected. Let’s go through the potential outcomes.


First Non-QB to be Drafted: Kyle Pitts (-150)

*Bet written up on April 27

This is the biggest play I’ve placed on the draft. My opinion is that Pitts is a legitimate generational talent, and these NFL teams recognize that. He’s going to go very high in the draft, as his draft position is now juiced to -225 to be a top-five pick. I think we get much better value on the Florida TE to be the first non-QB selected. Let’s go through the potential outcomes.

We know Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson are the first two picks, and we know the third pick is between Mac Jones and Trey Lance. I would expect we see Pitts go with the No. 4 pick to the Falcons, or even a team trading up to get him. If for some reason another team traded up for a QB at No. 4, the Bengals would have a huge decision to make. Cincy is likely prepared to select between Penei Sewell and Ja’Marr Chase, but if Pitts were there, he’d be tough to pass on, and some teams would probably be on the phone looking to move up.

The way this bet misses is by Atlanta trading out of No. 4 for a team that wants a QB and Cincy being set on going OL or WR, even if Pitts falls. I’d say it’s very likely that Pitts is the No. 4 pick, but I do think it’s worth laying the -150 juice just to protect ourselves in case a scenario occurs where he goes No. 5 after another QB. Pitts is the best player in this draft, and I’ll bank on the decision-makers realizing that.


Draft Position: Patrick Surtain II U10.5 (-159)

*Bet written up on April 27

Surtain ranks as the top CB prospect in the draft and is also the odds-on favorite to be the first defensive player selected. He’s also -200 when it comes to being selected in the top 10, so we’re seeing a discrepancy in price here in our favor.

I like to trust when things that make sense are also what we’re hearing from notable reporters. The Cowboys, who hold the No. 10 overall pick, were supposed to address their secondary in last year’s draft, but Jerry Jones couldn’t resist when CeeDee Lamb slid into his lap. I don’t see that being the case this year.

Surtain is a stud corner and has the potential to go somewhere in the last few picks of the top 10. Carolina desperately needs a replacement for James Bradberry, and Denver is also potentially looking to address its defense. But the No. 10 spot to Dallas is starting to sound like the floor in this draft for the Alabama product. I mentioned reporting, and ESPN’s Todd McShay had this to say in his article on Monday: “The strongest information that I’ve heard is that Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain II will be the pick at No. 10.”

That’s enough conviction for me to lay the juice, which I expect to rise, unless Dallas makes an insane move into the top five for Pitts.


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Top-32 Pick: Kadarius Toney (-121)

*Bet written up on April 27

The over on WR selected in the first round is getting juiced up and becoming unplayable. Chase, DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle should all go off the board early, and Rondale Moore, Rashod Bateman and Toney are the other names that could go later in the first round.

Toney may even be the last of the group to be selected, but I still think there’s a better chance we see him go in the first round than slide to Day 2. He played in Pitts’ shadow at Florida but grades out as a very good NFL WR. What I like most is how many teams late in the first round may be targeting a WR, which just helps make this bet sensible. Jacksonville at No. 25, Green Bay at No. 29 and Baltimore with Nos. 27 and 31 should be places we see some pass-catchers come off the board.


Total RB Drafted in the First-Round: OVER 1.5 (+150)

*Bet written up on April 27

Last year I took under 0.5 RB to be selected in the first round for the same +150 price and got my heart broken when Clyde Edwards-Helaire was selected with the final pick in the first round. While I don’t love the strategy of taking RBs this early in the draft, teams will do it, and it sounds like this year has a decent chance to see the top-two selected on Thursday night.

Najee Harris was a beast at Alabama and is a much better pass-catcher than he gets credit for — which should be helpful toward his draft stock. His draft position is set at 25.5, and he’s listed at -305 to be selected in the top 32. When you go through mock drafts, the under 25.5 also seems like a potential play, as No. 24 to the Steelers sounds more and more realistic. I’ve seen Harris mocked as high at No. 18 to the Dolphins.

That leaves Travis Etienne, who’s arguably just a good an NFL prospect. He was an elite pass-catcher at Clemson and showed insane burst. While he’s on the edge here, Etienne’s draft position is set at 30.5, and he’s -125 to be a first-rounder. So if Harris is a shoo-in at -305, getting +150 on both being selected on Thursday seems like a much better price than just betting Etienne to go in the first round for -125, just based on a pure value standpoint.

So where does Etienne actually fit? Maybe the Steelers miss out on Harris and land on Etienne. Maybe Pittsburgh even prefers Etienne. But teams like Miami or Washington could wind up moving back in the first round to land him as well.

Then there’s the Clemson connection to Trevor Lawrence. All indications are that the Jags are going to have a very offense-heavy draft, and RB is a position of need. No. 25 to Jacksonville could be a destination. Then the most smoke is coming from Buffalo, which selects at No. 30 overall — which is probably why the prop is set at 30.5. Buffalo feels like a good fit and even could consider moving up for Etienne, per McShay.

The prop is plus-money for a reason, but I think this one should be closer to even money.



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All views expressed are my own. I am an employee of DraftKings and am ineligible to play in public DFS or DKSB contests.


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