NFL draft betting: Ja'Marr Chase should be first WR taken, but can he get into top 6 overall?

Frank Schwab
·3 min read

There's not much debate over who will be the first wide receiver selected in the NFL draft. 

DeVonta Smith had a great season, Jaylen Waddle is talented, but Ja'Marr Chase will be the first receiver to hear his name called unless something crazy happens. Chase is an overwhelming -800 favorite at BetMGM to be the first receiver off the board. 

The real question becomes, how high can Chase go? 

BetMGM set an interesting line in its draft props in regards to Chase's draft position. Will the former LSU standout go in the top six? 

Who will pick Ja'Marr Chase? 

BetMGM has over/unders on many top prospects' draft position, and for Chase it's 6.5. And the odds of Chase going in the top six are favored at -200, meaning a bettor would have to wager $200 to win $100 on Chase being a top-six pick. If Chase goes No. 7 or later, the over will cash at +155 odds. 

The outcome of this prop has a little to do with Chase's ability, which is immense, but probably more to do with how many quarterbacks get in the top six. 

We know quarterbacks are going with the top three picks. Then what? If a team like the Denver Broncos trades up to No. 4 to pick a quarterback, it could create a land rush for the No. 5 or No. 6 pick. There are five elite quarterback prospects in this draft and it's at least possible that, through trades, they all go in the top six. That could push Chase down, through no fault of his own. 

Other decisions will impact where Chase goes. If the Atlanta Falcons don't trade their fourth overall pick and don't pick a QB, tight end Kyle Pitts could be their pick. If the Cincinnati Bengals stay put at No. 5, offensive tackle Penei Sewell would be a strong candidate for the offensive line-needy Bengals. The Miami Dolphins at No. 6 could use a receiver, but a trade down is always on the table with the Dolphins. 

Chase is a great prospect, but no sure thing to be in the top six depending on what other teams do. 

LSU wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase (7) is favored to be the top receiver in the 2021 NFL draft. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
LSU wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase (7) is favored to be the top receiver in the 2021 NFL draft. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Chase's talent is elite

Yahoo Sports NFL draft expert Eric Edholm will share his thoughts on some of our highlighted BetMGM draft props: 

Edholm: "This number is interesting to me. The first place he realistically could go off the board would be at No. 5 to the Bengals. The connection is obvious: pairing. Chase and Joe Burrow back together after their prolific 2019 together at LSU. The Bengals let AJ Green go and can use the firepower. But they also have OL needs and could decide Kyle Pitts is better. Miami at No. 6 feels like a very real possibility. They, too, need the receiving help. Shouldn't one of those clubs snag him? You'd think so, but it could go Sewell-Pitts and wouldn't surprise me. I think I'd stay away from this bet but if forced to choose, I'd be tempted to take the under with two realistic possibilities at 5 and 6."

There's little question about Chase as a player. In 2019, he had 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns. He won the Biletnikoff Award given to the nation's top receiver. Chase opted out of the 2020 season, but his draft stock didn't suffer. His unofficial 4.38-second 40-yard dash at LSU's pro day solidified his status as the best receiver in this draft. 

Whoever does land Chase will be getting a player who should make an immediate impact. Perhaps even a team outside of the top six picks will have Chase land in their laps. 

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