What a difference a few weeks can make.
It wasn’t that long ago that Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud was the significant betting favorite to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL draft. Since then, things have changed dramatically — particularly in the last week.
Another quarterback, Alabama product Bryce Young, started to close the gap on the odds board. Last Monday, Stroud had -130 odds to go No. 1 at BetMGM with Young listed at -105. By midweek, Young had usurped Stroud as the favorite.
Now, Young has rocketed past Stroud and has -1000 odds to be chosen first. Stroud, who at one point was -275 to go No. 1, is now listed at +600. The only two other prospects on the board are also quarterbacks — Florida’s Anthony Richardson (+2000) and Kentucky’s Will Levis (+4000).
Young’s odds actually ballooned to -2000 at BetMGM earlier Monday afternoon before settling in at -1000.
So what caused such drastic odds movement? The betting market had already been steadily moving in Young’s favor with multiple reputable journalists reporting that the Carolina Panthers’ brass favored Young as the top quarterback in the draft. The Panthers, of course, moved up to No. 1 after making a trade with the Chicago Bears.
The bigger shift in the market came Monday after NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero reported that Young had canceled the rest of his pre-draft visits with teams. Young has visited with three teams with top 10 picks — the Panthers (No. 1), Houston Texans (No. 2) and Las Vegas Raiders (No. 7).
Young measured in at just 5-foot-10 at the NFL combine, but his on-field production at Alabama quickly vaulted him into surefire first-round pick territory. In 2021, Young threw for 4,872 yards and 47 touchdowns while completing 66.9% of his attempts. For those efforts, he won the Heisman Trophy. In 2022, Young threw for 3,328 yards and 32 touchdowns with a completion percentage of 64.5.
Stroud, meanwhile, threw for 4,435 yards and 44 touchdowns in 2021, finishing fourth in the Heisman voting. Stroud finished third in the Heisman last year as he threw for 3,688 yards and 41 touchdowns for the Buckeyes. Perhaps his best college performance came in his final college game — a College Football Playoff semifinal loss to Georgia. Stroud threw for 348 yards and four touchdowns.
While he has fallen far behind Young in the odds to go No. 1, Stroud is the favorite to be chosen second overall by the Texans. Stroud is listed at +140, just ahead of Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson (+150).