American Team defensive back Joshuah Bledsoe (1), of Missouri, and defensive back Richie Grant (27), of Central Florida, celebrate after an interception during the American team practice for the NCAA college football Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021. (AP Photo/Rusty Costanza)
- Odds have been released for the 2021 Reese’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, AL (Saturday, 2:30 p.m. EST)
- Alabama QB Mac Jones may be the biggest name playing in the game, but hurt his ankle this week in practice
- Read below for analysis on both teams’ rosters, odds and a pick on the game
The first rule when betting on all-star or exhibition games is to treat the wager as seriously as the players take the game. That is to say, have fun with it.
When it comes to getting action on the Reese’s Senior Bowl, the next rule is to consider the quality of quarterbacks on either side, and overall depth at key positions. The rules are adjusted to protect players and they prohibit elements like blitzing, spread formations or pre-snap motion. Choosing the right side generally boils down to which team has the most players capable of winning one-on-one battles.
The game still gives college football fans one last look at some of their favorites and NFL fans a glimpse into the future. The biggest name on either team is Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith, who is also the highest projected draft pick.
2021 Reese’s Senior Bowl Odds
|American||PK (-110)||O 41 (-110)|
|National||PK (-110)||U 41 (-110)|
Odds as of Jan. 29th
Everything Starts With the QB
Alabama quarterback Mac Jones had been slotted as the starter for the American Team, but reports came yesterday that he had sprained his ankle. That would leave Texas A&M’s Kellen Mond and Jamie Newman, who last played in 2019 for Wake Forest, as the remaining options.
Alabama QB Mac Jones to Florida WR Trevon Grimes vs NC Central CB Bryan Mills.#SeniorBowl pic.twitter.com/4x0vZ5SlW0
— Chase Goodbread (@ChaseGoodbread) January 28, 2021
The National Team has a more seasoned group at the position, headed up by Texas’ Sam Ehlinger and Notre Dame’s Ian Book. Feleipe Franks salvaged an otherwise underwhelming college career this season with Arkansas, and rounds out the group. The three National QB’s have played in 33 more games combined than their American counterparts, but that number would have been much higher had Mond not been brought in to replace Florida’s Kyle Trask, who opted out of the game.
Super Bowl 55 Odds Tracker
Gauging First Round Talent
Earlier this week, ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. released his first mock draft for 2021, and between both teams, he predicted that five players will be selected in the first round.
That list is topped by Smith, who finished his final season with 117 receptions for 1,856 yards and 23 touchdowns. Kiper currently has Smith going second overall to the New York Jets, and he is joined on the National Team by Alabama teammate Najee Harris, who Kiper has pegged to go to the Buffalo Bills 30th overall. Unfortunately for the National Team, neither is expected to play on Saturday.
The American Team has three projected first-round prospects, headed up by Jones, who Kiper thinks will go to the New England Patriots with the 15th pick. Should Jones play, he’ll be on the lookout for Florida wide receiver Kadarius Toney, who broke out this year with 70 receptions for 984 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Toney is pegged as the 19th overall selection to the Washington Football Team. UCF defensive back Aaron Robinson also makes Kiper’s mock draft as the 26th pick by Cleveland.
The Best of the Rest
The American Team roster is loaded with talent at wide receiver. Besides Toney, the Clemson duo of Amari Rodgers and Cornell Powell join South Carolina’s Shi Smith as prospects that all graded out in the top 65 wide receivers in the nation, per Pro Football Focus. The National Team will counter with five cornerbacks that all grade out within PFF’s top 125 at the position.
Defensively, the American Team isn’t as deep at defensive back as its opponent, but in addition to Robinson, Syracuse’s Ifeatu Melifonwu could be a name to keep in mind. He graded out as the 24th best corner in the country despite playing on an Orange defense that was easy to overlook.
Which Side to Take
A case could have been made for the National Team because of their top-end talent, but without Smith or Harris on the field, things don’t look good. Reports this week suggested that the National QB’s have struggled, and if Jones is able to tough things out and play on Saturday, it should be a breezy win for the American Team.
The Pick: American Team (-110)
Nick Krueger has over a decade of experience in sports media, covering a wide range of events including two Olympic Games for Yahoo Sports. Other areas of focus for Nick throughout his career have included college football recruiting, NCAA athletics and Major League Baseball Spring Training.