NFL draft: Nearly 100 percent of betting money is on Trevor Lawrence being first overall pick

Eric Edholm
·3-min read

From the “Stop the presses” files, we bring you some truly shocking NFL draft/handicapping news.

Are you sitting down for this?

Trevor Lawrence is the overwhelming betting favorite to be the first overall selection in the 2021 NFL draft.

Yes, we know this information — brought to you by the good folks over at BetMGM — likely has knocked you on the floor after reading it.

The Clemson quarterback currently sits at -3,000 (bet $3,000 to win $100) to be the first pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars. That’s quite a leap from the -250 it opened at, but Lawrence was the big favorite even then.

Not much has changed in the eyes of the handicappers, nor elsewhere for that matter.

“Congratulations to all bettors holding a Lawrence ticket, as it looks like he's likely a lock for the Jaguars.” said Darren Darby, a sports trader with BetMGM.

One bettor jumped in when Lawrence was merely a -1,250 favorite, placing a $50,000 wager on him going first. But that still only wins $4,000 if it happens, as likely as that appears to be — a safe bet, but one they’ll be sweating just a bit for the next 80-plus days.

Where else betting money is going on No. 1 overall pick

Right now, 99.5 percent of the money for this bet is on Lawrence. Ohio State QB Justin Fields is next with a mere 0.3 percent of the total dollars wagered on the first pick, followed by Oregon OT Penei Sewell at 0.1 percent.

Fields opened at +350, but he currently sits at +800. There are some conspiracy theorists out there who might be willing to entertain the idea of new Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer tapping into his Buckeyes roots to nab Fields (even though Meyer never coached Fields) at No. 1 over Lawrence.

But clearly, the betting public feels that long-shot bet just isn’t worth the juice.

It would be stunning if Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence wasn't the first pick in the 2021 NFL draft. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
It would be stunning if Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence wasn't the first pick in the 2021 NFL draft. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Interestingly, Lawrence bettors make up only 32.1 percent of the total wagers, even if the vast majority of the money is on him.

Other popular bets — clearly at smaller wager levels on the whole — include Fields (23.8 percent of total tickets), Alabama WR DeVonta Smith (7.1 percent), Sewell (6.0 percent), Jamie Newman (4.8 percent) and Micah Parsons (3.6 percent).

We’re willing to guess that a lot of these tickets were placed very early on, as, say, someone like Newman has almost no shot of being picked first. He might not go in the first two rounds, for that matter.

And take BYU QB Zach Wilson — he’s listed on a mere 1.2 percent of all tickets bet (and less than 0.1 percent of the total money bet), alongside such luminaries as Ohio State CB Shaun Wade and Oklahoma State RB Chuba Hubbard.

But unlike either of them, Wilson has a decent chance of being the second quarterback drafted and the No. 2 overall pick.

Still, it would be a major stunner if any name other than Lawrence’s is called first on April 29. And the current odds most certainly reflect that.

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