A way-too-early look at betting odds for the first pick in the 2023 NFL Draft

With the impending NBA Draft, it got us thinking, is it ever too early to prepare for the next NFL Draft? While the answer is probably yes, we’re going to go ahead and do it anyway, because we’ve got draft fever.

Training camps are beginning in just a few weeks, and the college football season is months away. Plenty of things can and will change prior to the 2023 NFL Draft, but it’s a worthwhile endeavor to study where the market is at now. We will periodically be tracking these odds on our quest for predicting who goes first overall in next April’s draft.

The Betting Favorites

There are seven prospects with +1500 odds or better, headlined by what is expected to be a promising class of quarterbacks.

Odds are courtesy of DraftKings.

  1. CJ Stroud, QB, Ohio State (+200)
  2. Bryce Young, QB, Alabama (+225)
  3. Will Anderson, EDGE, Alabama (+330)
  4. Paris Johnson, OT, Ohio State (+1000)
  5. Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State (+1500)
  6. Phil Jurkovec, QB, Boston College (+1500)
  7. Will Levis, QB, Kentucky (+1500)

The teams in play

When considering who may be drafting first in next year’s draft, a good barometer is projected win totals on sportsbooks. Now, these lines aren’t the end-all, but it’s a good way to gauge how the market feels about certain teams. Teams like Jacksonville, Detroit and Houston certainly had the lowest projected win totals last year, and they did indeed end up near the top of the 2022 draft.

Below are the teams with the lowest projected totals for this upcoming season, lines courtesy of DK.

  1. Houston Texans (4.5 wins)
  2. Atlanta Falcons (5 wins)
  3. New York Jets (5.5 wins)
  4. Seattle Seahawks (5.5 wins)
  5. Carolina Panthers (6 wins)
  6. Jacksonville Jaguars (6 wins)

If Houston is indeed the owner of next year’s top pick, it will very likely be because second-year quarterback Davis Mills did not show enough as a passer. They would be in the market for a QB in this scenario.

Atlanta, Seattle and Carolina are all in desperate need of a quarterback, so should they be in this position, you can bet that a quarterback is the likely selection.

For the purpose of this study, let us stay away from the Jets and Jaguars. For one thing, they both just drafted quarterbacks at the top of the 2021 NFL Draft, and I for one am optimistic that they won’t have the worst record in the NFL this coming season

The betting prediction

It’s best to project a quarterback to go first here. With four strong passers in this group and more potentially emerging as the season goes on, it’s a solid prediction to say a QB will be going No. 1 next April.

Bryce Young won the Heisman last season and is surrounded by talent at Alabama for another big season. CJ Stroud is the betting favorite, given his prototypical size and skills. Both are solid bets here, but with a future like this, I prefer finding some value.

That’s why my highlight in our first article here is Will Levis at +1500. Levis came out of nowhere last season to emerge as one of the premier prospects at the quarterback position. He was one of the top passers in a loaded SEC, and has the size and mobility NFL teams covet.

Keep an eye on how Levis’ season with Kentucky goes when college football begins, he could continue to rise in this betting market.

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