We’re just hours away from the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft, and we know one thing for sure: Bryce Young will be the first pick.
At least, that’s the case according to odds-makers at FanDuel, where the Alabama quarterback is a huge favorite — 5,000 to hear his name called first Thursday night.
It comes after an extended two-week stint that saw Young prove his case as the clear favorite — even as initial rumors sent the market into turmoil in the days leading up to the draft.
Young preferred a No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft
Virtually every mock draft pick in America has Young marked as a top first-round pick on Thursday, especially after he closed out his draft picks two weeks ago — fueling speculation that the Panthers had informed him of their intentions at first place.
Since then, nearly every report from Carolina has reiterated the team’s interest in Young, whom most draft players consider the best quarterback in this year’s draft.
His size (5-10, 204 pounds) was the only obvious red flag in his pre-draft profile, though other top passers in the class faced harsher criticism for their outfield play or perceived professional preparation.
This has not slowed down the hysteria in the betting market, especially over the past few days.
On Tuesday, an anonymous post on Reddit claimed that Kentucky quarterback Will Levis was “telling friends and family” that he would be the first pick in Thursday’s draft.
That drove his odds in that market all the way from 1/40 to 1/4 in some stores, although he has since seen his price settle at 1/12 in the hours leading up to the draft.
Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud was the betting favorite to finish first overall after the Panthers traded for the pick in mid-March, but there are concerns during the draft process — including a low score on a cognitive test and less-than-stellar team interviews — That led to his draft stock dropping before Thursday.
He is 30/1 to be the first pick as of Thursday afternoon.
Betting on the NFL?
If you’re looking for a long shot in this market, there’s still a glimmer of hope with Florida’s Anthony Richardson (75/1), which most draft experts agree is the highest cap of any passer in this class.
Thursday, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported that the Panthers “were very infatuated” with Richardson during the evaluation process, even if the team was still expected to take Young with the top pick.
We’ve seen Richardson’s odds fluctuate wildly in this market, and it might be worth a late splash before what many expect to be an unexpected night.