NFL draft betting: Bryce Young's odds for No. 1 pick dip, CJ Stroud still big favorite
After the Carolina Panthers traded up to the No. 1 overall NFL draft slot, CJ Stroud's odds dropped as if the Panthers announced their pick.
Stroud was +400 at BetMGM in the first week of March to be the first pick of the NFL draft. As of Friday, he was -275. That's not lock territory, but Stroud is a heavy favorite. In terms of the betting market, it would be a huge upset if anyone else is the first pick.
Bryce Young, or perhaps someone else, might have something to say about that.
CJ Stroud favored to be picked first
On Thursday, Young was +350 at BetMGM to be the first pick. By Friday, after Young's pro day workout at Alabama on Thursday, the odds ticked down to +250.
Anthony Richardson is +700 to be the first pick, Will Levis is way back at +5000 and all others are at least 150-to-1.
There might be a lesson to be learned from last year about trusting the draft odds. For most of the lead-up to the draft, Aidan Hutchinson was the clear favorite to go first overall to the Jacksonville Jaguars. In the final days before the draft, Travon Walker shot past him. Walker went No. 1 overall.
A similar story played out in the NBA and NHL drafts. In the NBA, Paolo Banchero wasn't favored to go first overall but a flurry of bets on draft day drove the odds down. Banchero went first overall. In the NHL, late bets on Juraj Slafkovsky to go first overall moved him from plus odds to minus odds, and the Montreal Canadiens took him with the top pick.
Is a similar story playing out this year, with Stroud as the big favorite as the betting value is on someone else?
Is Bryce Young still in play for No. 1?
If Young was 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds, the odds of him going first overall would probably be in the Trevor Lawrence range. But he's a touch over 5-10 and weighs 204 pounds. That's why there's a debate.
Other than Young's size, there's not much question about him as a prospect. He's an elite player. That's why he can't be ruled out at No. 1 overall, and perhaps he's the best bet on the board.
Carolina has not said who it likes at No. 1, and coach Frank Reich and GM Scott Fitterer have said that all four top quarterbacks are in play. If the team is truly still evaluating all the quarterbacks and hasn't made a decision — it seems a little odd they'd make a huge move up to No. 1 on a trade with the Chicago Bears and not have their hearts set on someone — that means Stroud shouldn't be such a big favorite. Maybe that even means a flier on Levis isn't too bad.
"When you have the No. 1 pick you don't have to play games, right?" Reich said, via ESPN. "It's not like we're trying to fool anybody. What we're trying to do is take all the time we can on the evaluation."
There's still a month left before the Panthers have to play their hand. Before then, there's sure to be movement in the betting market.