2021 NFL Draft odds: Are Patriots front-runners for Justin Fields?

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Darren Hartwell
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NFL Draft odds: Are Patriots front-runners for Justin Fields? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

There's been plenty of chatter about the New England Patriots taking a quarterback in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, and one name in particular keeps popping up: Justin Fields.

The Ohio State quarterback is widely viewed as a top-five quarterback in this year's draft, and there's a good chance he doesn't last until the Patriots pick at No. 15. But reports suggest New England is considering trading up into the top 10 -- and that Fields may be the impetus for such a trade.

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Apparently sports bettors feel similarly about Fields and the Patriots. Check out the latest odds for which team will select Fields in Thursday's first round -- odds provided by our partner, PointsBet Sportsbook.

PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links.

Team

Odds

New England Patriots

+200

Carolina Panthers

+300

San Francisco 49ers

+500

Atlanta Falcons

+500

Denver Broncos

+600

Detroit Lions

+600

You'll notice the Patriots have stronger odds to land Fields than five teams with top-10 picks, including the 49ers (No. 3) and Falcons (No. 4).

Quarterbacks Trey Lance (-150) and Mac Jones (+125) are the favorites to go to San Francisco at No. 3, which means the odds favor Fields falling out of the top five. In fact, PointsBet's over/under on Fields' draft position is set at 7.5: right between the Lions at No. 7 and Panthers at No. 8.

Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer reported the Patriots have discussed the "groundwork" of a trade with Carolina to move up to No. 8, where they potentially could draft Fields. New England attended both of Fields' pro days at Ohio State, so the team clearly has some interest in the Buckeyes QB.

Next Pats Podcast: Former NFL QB says he’d consider drafting Justin Fields ahead of Trevor Lawrence | Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube

Trading up in the first round for a quarterback would be a major aberration for Bill Belichick, who typically favors trading down from the first round to maximize value later in the draft. But this is an offseason unlike any other for the Patriots, who need a QB of the future after going 7-9 with Cam Newton last season.

Is Fields the heir apparent in New England? At the very least, he's the front-runner at the sportsbooks.