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Top 10 bets for the 2021 NFL Draft

12 Apr 2021

By Dan Ippolito
We are just over two weeks away from when dreams will become reality for many young football athletes on 29 April, the first day of the NFL Draft held in Cleveland, Ohio this year. It will be different than the virtual experience we had to witness last year. It feels more authentic when Commissioner Roger Goodell receives his boos in person as he takes the stage. That being said, hopefully we can make you some money like we did last year with our 10 bets to look at when placing your wagers for this year’s draft.

10. The No. 1 overall pick
This top pick is similar to last year in that it is pretty clear who is going to be playing for the Jacksonville Jaguars under first-year head coach Urban Meyer next season. But since it is the No. 1 pick, it would be ignorant of us not to talk about it.

Trevor Lawrence of Clemson University has been talked about being a top pick since he was a freshman. Lawrence tossed 90 touchdowns over his three-year career at the ACC school. He won the national title his first season, lost in the title game his second season and was bumped out in the first round of the playoff this past year.

Typically I wouldn’t personally go after a bet with such low value but it is pretty close to a sure thing as possible. I know I know, there is no such thing as a sure thing in betting, so I’ll bite my tongue for saying that.

Bet $10,000 on Betfred Sportsbook for Trevor Lawrence being picked first to win $100

9. The No. 2 overall pick
Luckily this isn’t as obvious as the No. 1 pick but still has started becoming more and more predictable on who will be chosen after Lawrence. After the New York Jets traded QB Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers last week, it is without a doubt that they will be picking up a QB with the second pick. As of now, it seems that it is likely to be Zach Wilson out of BYU.

After the college season ended, it was much more of a toss-up between Wilson and Ohio State QB Justin Fields for who would be chosen in this spot. However, as time went on, Wilson’s value seemed to grow especially since his pro day at BYU where he impressed big time.

If he is chosen with the second pick, which I expect Wilson to be, there will be a lot of pressure on him, not only playing for a big market in New York, but since the Jets’ last top QB pick in the draft didn’t really pan out for them.

Bet $1,000 on Mansion Bet UK for Wilson being picked No. 2 to win $100

8. The No. 3 overall pick
Finally we can start getting into some picks that have more value and options to them.

Originally it seemed that Fields would be a lock to be picked in the top 3 picks, however that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. He isn’t the favorite for No. 2 as Wilson has run away with that and now Alabama QB Mac Jones is a healthy favorite to be chosen with the third by the San Francisco 49ers, who pulled off a trade with the Miami Dolphins two weeks ago and moved up.

With question marks surrounding incumbent QB Jimmy Garoppolo and whether or not he will be under center for the 49ers next year, it emphasizes the team’s need to pick up a quarterback with the No. 3 pick.

Jones is coming off a National Championship victory in which he defeated Fields. Yes, you could argue with the weapons Alabama had on offense it would be tough for any team to have beaten the Tide, but don’t take credit away from Jones and how he played all season and throughout his career.

The keys to Jones’ success is his consistency and his intelligence. He demonstrated his ability to be smart on the field by throwing just four interceptions and 41 touchdowns while completing over 77% of his passes.

I don’t care who you are, it is tough to stop an offense that completes passes three out of every four times Mac Jones drops back.

He may not be as mobile as Fields, but he seems to be the better passer and pocket presence that the 49ers could really use.

Bet $200 on Betfred Sportsbook for Jones to be taken at No. 2 to win $100

7. First wide receiver to be drafted
Ja’Marr Chase is a special talent and going to make an immediate difference for whichever team picks him in this draft.

Despite not playing in 2020 because he opted out to prepare for the draft, Chase is still the favorite to be the first WR picked up. In 2019, when his LSU Tigers won the National Title, Chase led the nation with 1,780 yards receiving. That was just over 200 more yards than his teammate Justin Jefferson.

Jefferson had 1,400 receiving yards in his first NFL season for the Minnesota Vikings and was arguably snubbed when he didn’t win Offensive Rookie of the Year. That just gives you an idea what Chase can do if he outperformed Jefferson slightly in college.

At 6-feet tall, he may not be the largest WR, but Chase did post a 4.38 40-yard dash time at LSU’s pro day, which raised some eyebrows across the league. I have Chase besting the two Alabama wideouts DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle to become the first WR off the board.

Bet $400 on bet365 Sportsbook & Racebook for Chase to be first WR drafted to win $100

6. First non-QB to be drafted
This is the first pick so far where I am not going with the favorite.

This bet most likely will be sitting on the shoulders of the Atlanta Falcons and Cincinnati Bengals, but you could also see a trade for the No. 4 spot as well. If Fields is still on the board, I could see the Falcons taking some calls from teams who need a QB since the Falcons already have Matt Ryan, unless they were willing to draft Fields.

I am anticipating Fields being taken at No. 4 in some way, whether it is the Falcons or through a trade. That brings us to the fifth pick, where I believe the Bengals will choose the first non-QB.

Oregon’s Penei Sewell is my pick here. Despite some mock draft’s have him falling out of the top 10 in some cases, Sewell seems like the good fit. The Bengals have the QB they want to build around in last year’s No. 1 pick Joe Burrow. However, after suffering a season-ending injury in his rookie year, it seems that the priority should now become protecting Burrow.

That doesn’t mean you can’t add weapons for Burrow in later rounds, but with a talent like Sewell available for the Bengals, I think it would be a smart and safer choice to pick him in the #5 slot.

Bet $100 on Betfred for Sewell to be first non-QB to win $180

5. DeVonta Smith draft position
Yes, I think Ja’Marr Chase will be the first WR to go, but Smith won’t be too far behind.
Smith led the country in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. In fact, the next closest receiver to him was 700 yards behind Smith’s mark.

There are several teams that are in need of offensive weapons and wide receivers who can make plays after they catch the ball. Smith is just that. Not only can he break down a defensive back at the line of scrimmage to create separation but once he is in the open field, good luck finding away to catch him and tackle him.

I could see the Dolphins, Lions and Giants as all possible landing spots for Smith in this month’s draft.

Bet $130 on MansionBet for DeVonta Smith to be picked in the top 11 picks to win $100

4. Kyle Pitts draft position
Some may see this pick as riskier than others since Kyle Pitts has done nothing but stand out at the tight end position throughout college at the University of Florida.

If it were any other draft I probably would’ve said he would be a top 5 pick, but because this draft is so quarterback heavy at the top it is tough to do so.

So far my prediction has been the top four picks being quarterbacks most likely, followed by Sewell at No. 5, which means Pitts would have to fall past fifth. That’s in a perfect world, which as any bettor knows, doesn’t exist too often.

With that said, I still believe Pitts falls out of the top five, not because of his skill level, but because of teams’ needs. There is also the possibility of Chase being picked before Pitts as well if a team is looking for a weapon which would drop Pitts even further.

Bet $100 on MansionBet for Pitts to be picked sixth or later to win $110

3. Mr. Irrelevant
Now the name may sound harsh but it is all in good fun. Mr. Irrelevant is known as the guy who is taken with the very last pick in the draft.

This is more of a coin flip bet since it is incredibly difficult to know who will be chosen with the final pick, which ended up being the 255th pick by the New York Giants last year.

In the last 10 NFL drafts, an offensive player has been chosen six times and a defensive player four times. Since 1993, a kicker has only been taken twice with the last pick.

As more of a fun bet to look at, take a risk on what position will go down in history as this year’s Mr. Irrelevant. The two options are offensive player or kicker chosen last for -120 against defensive player or punter picked last also at -120.

Bet $120 on MansionBet for Mr. Irrelevant being an offensive player or kicker to win $100

2. First defensive lineman to be drafted
This is another difficult category to pick as there are two suitable candidates.

Jaelen Phillips from the Miami Hurricanes and Kwity Paye from the Michigan Wolverines are both at the top of the list for defensive lineman. Both play defensive end and both ran a sub-4.6 40 yard dash in their pro days, which is impressive for 260 pounders.

Despite Paye being an absolute machine, he didn’t put up a bunch of sacks since he had to miss most of the season after ankle surgery. That kind of severe injury could cause enough concern for a team to take Phillips over Paye.

Phillips is no slouch either, racking up eight sacks on the season, including 2.5 sacks in back-to-back games.

Bet $100 on Betfred for Phillips to be first defensive lineman chosen to win $150

1. First running back picked
We have spent a lot of time talking about quarterbacks and wide receivers, but don’t worry I am not going to leave out the running backs that put on a show last season in college.

This is also a two-horse race, it seems. Alabama’s Najee Harris led the nation in rushing touchdowns with 26 last year while putting up 1,466 yards.

Clemson’s Travis Etienne came in at 914 rushing yards leading to 14 rushing touchdowns. Since Etienne had fever attempts than Harris, their rushing yards per attempt were much closer than the total yardage. Harris put up 5.8 yards per carry with Etienne close behind at 5.4.

The crazy stat that stood out to me was that Harris only fumbled the ball twice in his career at Alabama. It is key to not lose the turnover battle in the NFL and Harris really knows how to protect the ball.

Harris seems to be just slightly a better option at running back, especially after his three-touchdown performance in the National Championship game.

Bet $125 on bet365 for Najee Harris to be first running back picked to win $100
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