The drama and intrigue surrounding the third pick in the 2021 NFL draft continues.
On Thursday afternoon, mere hours before the draft is slated to begin, there was another significant shift in betting odds for that pick, which belongs to the San Francisco 49ers following a March 26 trade with the Miami Dolphins.
As soon as that trade was made, reports swirled that the 49ers had their eye on Alabama quarterback Mac Jones. Jones has been the betting favorite for weeks. Late Thursday morning, Jones was -200 at BetMGM to be selected third.
But now it’s North Dakota State QB Trey Lance that is favored to be the pick at No. 3.
As of 2:15 p.m. ET, Lance was listed at -130 while Jones had dropped down to +105. Justin Fields, meanwhile, had plummeted to +1000 from +275 earlier in the day.
Once the 49ers traded up, it was clear the organization had its sights set on a quarterback. Which quarterback, however, has been the mystery for weeks.
Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson are considered locks to go with the first two picks to the Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Jets, respectively. That left Lance, Jones and Fields as the next quarterbacks in the pecking order.
Jones was a backup at Alabama for three seasons before stepping into the starting role in 2020. He made the most of it by throwing for 4,500 yards and 41 TDs and leading the Crimson Tide to a national title. Jones is considered a very accurate passer who can really read a defense, but he lacks top tier arm talent and mobility.
Lance, a product of North Dakota State, also had just one season as a full-time starting quarterback. During that season, he accumulated 2,786 passing yards, 1,100 rushing yards and 42 total touchdowns without throwing an interception.
Lance is considered a high-upside prospect, but is he more of a risk after making only 17 starts at the FCS level? If he indeed is the pick at No. 3, it’s apparently a risk the 49ers brass is willing to take.
Most-bet prop for 2021 NFL draft
According to BetMGM, the third overall pick has received the most action of any prop bets it is offering for the 2021 NFL draft.
As of Thursday morning, the most money — 41% — was on Jones, though he had attracted only 15.8% of the bets. Fields had received the most bets at 34.9% along with 29.6% of the money.
Lance had received 30.6% of the bets and 24.4% of the money.
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