Oddsmakers seem to think it is quarterback or bust for the New England Patriots ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft.
And while three of the four quarterbacks — Mac Jones, Justin Fields and Trey Lance — almost certainly would have to be the Patriots’ first-round pick, the other member of the quartet — Kyle Trask — may not come off the board Thursday night.
The betting odds say New England’s most likely pick is Jones, the Alabama quarterback, at +225. Jones, for what it’s worth, was +350 to land in New England just two weeks ago. So, if he falls past the San Francisco 49ers at No. 3 overall and if Bill Belichick opts to trade up or select Jones, a $100 bet would win $225 and pay out $325.
The 49ers, though, reportedly are deciding between Jones and Lance to be the third player (and quarterback) off the board.
Anyway, here are the odds to be drafted by the Patriots, per FOX Bet. Of note, there isn’t anything that says it needs to be a first-round pick, although eight of the nine players listed almost certainly will be gone by Day Two. Odds in parenthesis are from Apr. 13, noting a change in some individual markets.
Mac Jones +225 (+350)
Justin Fields +400 (+900)
Kyle Trask +450 (+450)
Trey Lance +500 (+550)
DeVonta Smith +550 (+650)
Micah Parsons +800 (+800)
Jaylen Waddle +1000 (+1000)
Rashawn Slater +1300 (+1300)
Kyle Pitts +1600 (+1600)
Ja?Marr Chase +1700 (+1800)
And with that, here are two best bets:
Micah Parsons +800
Parsons, the Penn State linebacker, has been mock drafted to the Patriots on a few occasions. He’s a versatile freak athlete and while there have been some character concerns floated, he does possess the raw athletic ability that Belichick would covet on his defense. He also seems to be someone who very well could be on the board at No. 15 overall, when the Patriots are slated to pick. The fact New England may not have to trade up to get him, all while oddsmakers have him at 8-1, makes it a bit more enticing than others listed who the Patriots likely would have to trade up for.
DeVonta Smith +550
Another non-quarterback, but the reality is there is no certainty the Patriots go signal-caller in the first round. And, obviously, non-quarterback odds offer more bang for your buck — if you’re right. Smith, the undersized but electric receiver from Alabama, is another example of a player the Patriots don’t necessarily have to trade up for. Would it take some luck with Smith falling past the receiver-needy Lions, Giants, Eagles, etc.? Sure. But it’s possible. Belichick could very well select Smith as a way of doubling down on his thought of Cam Newton, proving the veteran with another game-changing weapon. And Smith at +550 offers enough to entice those making a wager, too.
Disclaimer: Could we see the Patriots trading up to select Jones if he falls past No. 3? Yes. But that feels like a long shot based on the reported feelings coming out of San Francisco. And with Fields, the Ohio State quarterback who is another possible trade-up candidate, he was listed at 9-to-1 two weeks ago. So, while it may hurt to pass on him now at 4-to-1, as our expert Sam Panayotovich says, the smart betting window for him has closed.