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Betting NFL Mock Draft 2021 Draft Day predictions: Best bets and projected picks for entire first round

With the 2021 NFL Draft tonight, here's what you need to know before placing your bets.
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The 2021 NFL Draft has finally arrived, as teams prepare to add the top talent coming from the college ranks tonight in the first of three days full of draft picks. But it's also a huge week for bettors, as the first round of the NFL Draft marks one of the best wagering opportunities on the sports calendar between the Super Bowl and the start of the NFL season. So we're going to try to predict what goes down on Thursday in this betting mock draft, with all odds provided by William Hill Sportsbook.

What is a betting mock draft, you say? We're going to take the elements of a regular mock draft, where I give you my thoughts on who will be selected at each spot in the first round, but also integrate relevant odds from William Hill as well as data from NFL Mock Draft Database's consensus mock draft to get a sense of what the betting market and draft analysts are saying about each pick.

An important note: Not all mock draft picks and best bets will align with each other. The goal is not to go 32 for 32, but to turn a profit first and foremost while trying as much as possible to predict the draft. For example, imagine the No. 1 pick was in doubt this year, with Trevor Lawrence listed at -250 and Zach Wilson at +200. If I have Lawrence as a 60% chance of being the pick and Wilson at 40%, I'm going to say bet Wilson at +200 because we're going to come out ahead more often than not if we've calibrated the market correctly.

We're going to give out a lot of plays in this betting mock draft, but if you'd prefer to distill it down to my favorite selections, check out my 10 best bets for the 2021 NFL Draft, which also includes one bonus longshot selection (you can see a few more longshots here). Also be sure to check out Vegas insider Todd Fuhrman's top NFL Draft prop picks, as seen on CBS Sports HQ. Let's get to the mock draft.

1. Jacksonville Jaguars

What the market says

  • First overall pick: Trevor Lawrence -20000, Zach Wilson +2000, all others +3000 or longer

What mock drafters say

Trevor Lawrence is essentially a unanimous selection amongst mock drafters.

My take

There's zero intrigue with this one -- Lawrence has been the selection ever since Jacksonville locked up the No. 1 pick late in the 2020 season. With the odds shifting from -10000 to -20000, there's no reason to make a play here.

  • Best bets: None
  • The pick: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

2. New York Jets

What the market says

  • Second overall pick: Zach Wilson -5000, Justin Fields +1800, all others +4000 or longer

What mock drafters say

Zach Wilson has been taken in 98% of mock drafts compiled by NFL Mock Draft Database over the last week. However, the outliers listed are "what they should do" mock drafts rather than a projection of what the Jets will do.

My take

I don't think Wilson is a no-brainer selection for the Jets and may not even be the quarterback I'd take at No. 2 overall. But there's no indication New York will do anything but select Wilson once they go on the clock, though again, -5000 is not a price many people will be looking to play.

  • Best bets: None
  • Mock draft pick: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU

What are the best NFL Draft prop bets you can make at each pick? And which players are most likely to be selected throughout Round 1? ... Join SportsLine right now to see the entire Betting NFL Mock Draft, all from the premier NFL Draft expert who has hit 70 percent of his best bets over the last two drafts as well as Baker Mayfield going No. 1 at +2500!

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R.J. White
R.J. WhiteSuper Stat Geek