Is Justin Fields A Better Bet to Go First Overall in the 2021 NFL draft?

Justin Fields #1 of the Ohio State Buckeyes warms up. Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images/AFP
Justin Fields #1 of the Ohio State Buckeyes warms up. Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images/AFP


Trevor Lawrence is the heavy favorite to go first in the upcoming NFL Draft, but is he a lock bet? Could there be cause for another player to be selected No.1? We weigh in on the odds and serve up some thoughts to consider.

As it currently stands in the betting, Clemson quarterback, Trevor Lawrence, is a runaway favourite across multiple betting sites to go first in the 2021 NFL draft. Although the price tag varies from book to book, the Clemson product nevertheless is unanimously tipped as the top bet in the market. No sportsbook offers up an alternative top pick, nor do most mock 2021 NFL drafts entertain the possibility of another player going No.1 either.

It’s not often the case in the draft process that there is such clarity, but it’s the way it happens to set up this year. How it’s been carefully and consciously set up over the last year with Lawrence being talked up by football analysts, scouts and media experts as a “generational talent.” The best thing since sliced bread….

2021 NFL Draft Odds

The 2021 NFL draft odds leave no doubt about this important fact: that is, that as far as the punditocracy is concerned, the Clemson star quarterback is the presumptive No.1 pick overall. A selection that is known to be the principality of the Jacksonville Jaguars, after they secured the coveted top spot behind 1-15-0 SU record in 2020. Also known is the fact that the Jaguars are in the market for a capable signal caller, and that widely established fact only further underscores Lawrence’s heavily favored future odds in the 2021 NFL draft market.

The problem with that from a betting perspective is that Lawrence’s odds, which range anywhere upwards of -5000, depending on the choice bookmaker, are so steep that any gainful betting value is totally and utterly lost. Bettors would need to risk $5000 to win $100, which represents a paltry rate of return on investment. Never mind not many can afford to risk that much to begin with.

Sports bettors can accept this widely-established consensus opinion and look no further in the betting. Or they might entertain the possibility that Lawrence will not go first after all; that is, if the search for better value NFL picks in this market is of any interest. It may surprise some to learn that there are reasons, if ever so slim, why the Jaguars could actually select another quarterback instead, such as Justin Fields, who is on offers at +1400 with various top-rated sportsbooks.

The Chicago Bears had a chance to pick Patrick Mahomes or, even, Deshaun Watson in the 2017 NFL draft, but instead they chose to settle on Mitch Trubisky. A decision they based on the various reports at the time that ranked Trubisky higher than the aforementioned two, and the odds and mock drafts at the time that broadly leaned towards Trubisky as the best and likely first quarterback to come off the board.

It goes without saying, everyone got that one spectacularly wrong, and not just the Chicago Bears. Scouting, ranking and mocking up players isn’t an exact science. It’s not uncommon to see NFL draft picks go on to become a bust in the NFL. On the flipside, there have been those that barely registered on anyone’s radar only to become some of the league’s elite players and Hall of Fame inductees. The most notable case is seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady, who barely snuck into the draft 20 years ago, selected in round 6 at No.199 in the 2000 NFL draft.

So, the Jacksonville Jaguars can conform to the status quo, buy what everyone seems to be selling: Trevor Lawrence as the top NFL pick. Or they might choose to be bold, go their own way, take a different direction that few are expecting. After all, fortune favours the brave, so they say.

Top Three Quarterbacks

Trevor Lawrence (Clemson), Justin Fields (Ohio State) and Zach Wilson (BYU) are the top three quarterbacks that are set to parade their wares next month. New Jaguars’ head coach, Urban Meyer, working as a media analyst covering NCAAF games over the last two years, had a lot of great things to say about Lawrence. Even dubbing him as the top college football prospect in the field. However, he also rated Justin Fields highly too. In fact, the pair were close in Meyer’s estimation, the greater experience of Lawrence in the end tipping the balance in the Clemson quarterback’s favour of over Fields.

That said, it’s worth pointing out that Justin Fields is an Ohio State Buckeyes product, a program Urban Meyer nurtured for seven years until his retirement a couple of years ago. While Meyer personally wasn’t involved in the development of Fields, his head coaching replacement and the program he helped build have played a significant role in the young signal caller’s rise to prominence. Ohio State did beat Clemson to advance into the National Championship game this season, a game that saw Fields outduel and outmuscle Lawrence in impressive fashion.

Thus, from a betting perspective, shading Justin Fields as a potential upset pick in the 2021 NFL draft to go first overall is tempting. There’s clearly a connection with Fields and Meyer, slight though it might be, that makes the possibility a reasonable one to consider. Then there’s also the attractive odds to consider, which go up to +1400 or thereabouts and offer much better bang for your buck. Betting $100 on Fields at +1400 will yield $1400 plus the stake if the bet wins.

Make no mistake, betting on Fields at the expense of the presumptive fave, Lawrence, is a longshot punt. So, don’t go betting the farm on it. But it’s something to think about carefully when betting the 2021 NFL draft and perhaps putting a small flutter on.

Leave a reply:

Your email address will not be published.