Friday, December 1, 2023

2023 NFL Mock Draft: Betting Markets for C.J. Stroud, Bryce Young, and More

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Calling all bettors! Utilizing Pro Football Network’s Mock Draft Simulator, we’ve developed the following NFL mock draft for Round 1. The picks in this mock are decided based on the highest-percentage user-selected players for each franchise in the past seven days.

When analyzing these selections, we will examine the current betting odds available at DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook and see how MDS fans and users compare to the current odds.

1) Carolina Panthers (From CHI): C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State

C.J. Stroud has emerged as the presumed No. 1 overall draft pick since the Carolina Panthers traded for the first selection. We look on course for the 2023 NFL Draft to be the fifth time in six years — and the seventh time in nine years — that a quarterback comes off the board first. However, his odds of being No. 1 are only -185, and with all of the main contenders taking to the field for their pro days this week, the landscape could yet shift.

2) Houston Texans: Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

In betting circles, Bryce Young is the second-most favored QB to go No. 1 with +125 odds, followed only remotely closely by Anthony Richardson (+475). The next-best odds are Will Levis with +4000. So yeah, that’s a steep drop-off.

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As for the No. 2 pick, it’s a two-man race between Young (-165 odds) and Stroud (+150, in the event he doesn’t go No. 1). Richardson is sitting at +1200, suggesting that if Carolina doesn’t want him at No. 1, then Richardson is an even greater long shot to join the Texans at No. 2.

This positions Young comfortably as the clear front-runner for the No. 2 spot.

3) Arizona Cardinals: Will Anderson Jr., EDGE, Alabama

Will Anderson Jr. has -400 odds of being the first defensive player taken in the draft. The next best odds are +600. In other words, there’s no strong competition here. Anderson is the clear-cut favorite, and the defense-needy Cardinals (second-most points surrendered in 2022) are a logical destination.

4) Indianapolis Colts: Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida

As referenced above, Anthony Richardson is an intriguing wild card in this draft, with better odds of going No. 1 than No. 2, despite being the overall No. 3 QB in betting circles.

MORE: NFL Draft Odds To Be No. 1 Pick in 2023 — Anthony Richardson, Bryce Young, Will Anderson Jr., or Someone Else?

DraftKings has an interesting wager on which QB will be selected first: Richardson (-235) or Levis (+190). It’s a surprisingly narrow odds gap given their much wider chasm among the betting markets for who will be drafted No. 1 or No. 2 overall.

DraftKings also highlights the Colts as the most likely destination for Richardson, with +175 odds.

5) Seattle Seahawks (From DEN): Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia

While Anderson is the strong favorite to be the first defender drafted, Jalen Carter is tied for second with +600 odds. It’s an interesting situation for those wagering on Anderson vs. Carter. If the defensive line is the target for the Seahawks, it could put the likes of Tyree Wilson and Myles Murphy in the frame if they are unsure about Carter.

6) Detroit Lions (From LAR): Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon

The Lions have made several offseason moves so far to bolster a defense that showed dramatic improvements in the second half of last season. PFN’s MDS selections have them potentially taking Christian Gonzalez with their first Round 1 pick at No. 6 overall.

Gonalez is the odds-on front-runner (-190) to be the first cornerback taken. However, his +5000 odds of being the first defender taken are shockingly poor — unless we consider the more pressing defensive needs of some teams picking ahead of Detroit.

7) Las Vegas Raiders: Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State

One of the closest betting battles in this draft concerns the first offensive lineman selected. Paris Johnson Jr. (+150) is narrowly behind Peter Skoronski (+120). PFN’s MDS users apparently like what Johnson can bring to the Raiders, and his longer odds make him an intriguing option for bettors.

8) Atlanta Falcons: Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson

Beyond the biggest defensive names, no one else has good odds of being the first defender taken in this year’s draft. Myles Murphy is in the next best tier, but with +10000 odds, “next best” is relative.

9) Chicago Bears (From CAR): Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech

One of the most fascinating MDS decisions is the selection of Murphy ahead of Tyree Wilson. Wilson is tied with Carter for the second-best odds (+600) of being the first defender drafted (after Anderson).

10) Philadelphia Eagles (From NO): Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois

Devon Witherspoon is part of the “next best” group of first defenders drafted, with +10000 odds of going before Anderson, Carter, Wilson, etc. More pointedly, he’s narrowly behind Gonzalez for the first cornerback selected, owning bullish +165 odds. However, if you believe Witherspoon could be the first corner taken, his odds of +180 to be selected ahead of Gonzalez offer the better value.

11) Tennessee Titans: Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern

While Peter Skoronski (+120 odds) is just a bit in front of Paris Johnson (+150) in betting markets, he seems to be noticeably behind in the user-generated Mock Draft Simulator data.

12) Houston Texans (From CLE): Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU

The rebuilding Texans have two of the first 12 draft picks, giving them the luxury of pairing a promising QB with a promising WR to help jumpstart its anemic passing attack.

MORE: 2023 NFL Draft Big Board

In this scenario, the big question is whether Houston would take Quentin Johnston (+275 odds of being the first WR drafted) or Jaxon Smith-Njigba (-130) odds. The market suggests Smith-Njigba has a meaningful edge, but the MDS data suggests differently.

DraftKings also highlights the Texans as the most likely destination for Johnston, with +600 odds. The Patriots are No. 2 with +650 odds, and not surprisingly, New England is scheduled to pick two spots later.

13) New York Jets: Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia

Broderick Jones is projected by betting markets as the third-most likely offensive lineman to be taken first, with +450 odds. The Jets are prime candidates to beef up their line. A key question might be who’s available when the 13th pick arrives.

14) New England Patriots: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State

As referenced above, Jaxon Smith-Njigba is the front-runner to be the first WR taken. After Johnston, the next most-favored WR is Jordan Addison (+550 odds).

It’s fascinating that the Texans are favorites to draft not only Johnston but also Smith-Njigba (+500 odds). What’s happening here? Well, it’s a solid hedge to bet on both, as the Texans desperately need an instant-impact wideout.

That said, the Patriots are also a great hedge, with +650 odds to land Johnston and +600 odds to snag Smith-Njigba.

15) Green Bay Packers: Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame

There’s a tight four-man race to see who will be the first tight end drafted. Betting markets give Michael Mayer the second-best odds (+160), with Dalton Kincaid slightly ahead at +110. Statistically, the Packers have had a top-10 tight end only once in the last 11 seasons. They’re good bets to select their TE of the future — the question is, who?

16) Washington Commanders: Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State

The son of the famed four-time Pro Bowl linebacker by the same name, Joey Porter Jr. should have a bright NFL future. His +900 odds of being the first cornerback drafted place him well behind Gonzalez and Witherspoon.

17) Pittsburgh Steelers: Trenton Simpson, LB, Clemson

The Steelers middling defense still needs some work after a mixed free agency. Trenton Simpson is a deep long shot to be the first defender taken (+20000 odds), but a middle-of-the-first-round selection seems the most likely right now.

18) Detroit Lions: Brian Branch, S, Alabama

As referenced above, Detroit has shown a commitment this month to beef up its secondary. Brian Branch could be another key piece in a Super Bowl run (yes, I’m serious).

MORE: Detroit Lions Super Bowl Odds

Branch has +10000 odds of being the first defender drafted, as well as +2500 odds of being the first cornerback (where he qualifies in DraftKings Sportsbook). His odds probably should be even higher, given the unlikelihood of Detroit significantly trading up to get him.

19) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Will Levis, QB, Kentucky

The post-Tom Brady era begins in earnest for a Buccaneers team that can still make noise in the relatively weak NFC South. But with the Falcons and Panthers rapidly rebuilding (and the Saints trying to make another big push), time is running out for a franchise that has a core of aging, exceptional talent.

Will Levis possesses +4000 odds of being the first QB taken. If he does go first, it would be an even greater shock than those odds suggest.

FanDuel also highlights the Bucs as the No. 3 most-favored team to land Levis (+600 odds), trailing the Colts and Raiders.

20) Seattle Seahawks: Bryan Bresee, DT, Clemson

Bryan Bresee is part of a laundry list of players with +10000 odds of being the first defender drafted. Even if the Seahawks trade up, it’ll more likely be because another defensive lineman falls.

However, it is intriguing to see that the most-selected players for the Seahawks are defensive tackles. It seems unlikely that Seattle spends two first-round picks on the same position, but MDS users believe they will target at least one in this round. Whether that’s targeting the likes of Wilson or Murphy at 6 and then Bresee at 20, or Carter at 6 and someone else at 20 is yet to be seen.

21) Los Angeles Chargers: Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas

Well, this is a loaded pick. With Austin Ekeler teetering on leaving the Chargers, and with no running back currently available to step in and fill such a gaping hole, L.A. becomes an intriguing destination for the presumed No. 1 incoming rookie RB. Interestingly, Bijan Robinson has +20000 odds of being the first overall pick.

DraftKings also highlights the Commanders as the most likely destination for Robinson, with +400 odds. But the Chargers are close behind at No. 2 with +500 odds. As L.A. assesses whether to try moving up in the draft (e.g. ahead of Washington), we should keep these close odds in mind.

22) Baltimore Ravens: Jalin Hyatt, WR, Tennessee

Jalin Hyatt possesses +650 odds of being the first WR drafted, placing him in the back of a crowded group of five front-runners. Zay Flowers is narrowly ahead at +600, while Smith-Njigba remains the clear top choice with -130 odds.

23) Minnesota Vikings: Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia

Kelee Ringo‘s odds of being the first cornerback drafted are +5000. In other words, he makes sense at this current spot that MDS users have him in.

24) Jacksonville Jaguars: O’Cyrus Torrence, G, Florida

A pretty interesting spot for O’Cyrus Torrence, at least from a betting perspective. Torrence’s odds of being the first OL drafted are +6000, which stand well behind Skoronski and Johnson, as well as Jones. But more than that, he’s also far behind Darnell Wright and Anton Harrison in betting markets — and we haven’t seen Wright or Harrison come up yet.

25) New York Giants: Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College

Zay Flowers (+600 odds) is packed tightly between Addison (+550) and Hyatt (+650) as relative long shots to be the first WR taken, comfortably behind front-runners Smith-Njigba and Johnston.

26) Dallas Cowboys: Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama

The odds of Jahmyr Gibbs going No. 1 overall are +25000, only slightly bit behind Robinson. Of course, we’re not focused so much on first overall with these guys. We’re focused more on which teams will lunge for a high-upside RB.

I actually think Dallas is more likely to trade up to snag Robinson. But regardless, they’re in a prime position to find their running back of the future. As great as Tony Pollard has been, he doesn’t profile as a bell cow.

FanDuel also highlights the Cowboys as one of four front-runners to draft Gibbs, with all four teams netting +700 odds. If Dallas plans to take him here, then one of the other three squads (Bengals, Bills, and Chiefs) clearly would need to trade up.

27) Buffalo Bills: Darnell Washington, TE, Georgia

There’s still no Dalton Kincaid sighting, despite his status as the betting markets’ most likely No. 1 TE drafted with +110 odds. Darnell Washington has the third-best odds (+350), suggesting that Kincaid’s absence might be surprising but not entirely shocking. The betting markets definitely seem to be more bullish on Kincaid than our MDS users are.

28) Cincinnati Bengals: Anton Harrison, OT, Oklahoma

Anton Harrison possesses +1800 odds of being the first offensive lineman taken. While the betting markets view this mostly as a two-man battle between Skoronski and Johnson, Harrison’s odds suggest he cannot be completely ignored.

29) New Orleans Saints (From SF via MIA via DEN): Lukas Van Ness, EDGE, Iowa

Another member of the +10000 crew — guys with +10000 odds of being the first defender drafted. Lukas Van Ness joins seven other guys at this spot, which is far behind Will Anderson.

30) Philadelphia Eagles: Nolan Smith, EDGE, Georgia

See directly above. Nolan Smith has the same +10000 odds. The Eagles are a logical landing spot as they seek to maintain an elite defense for another Super Bowl push.

31) Kansas City Chiefs: Dawand Jones, OT, Ohio State

The final pick of the first round. Dawand Jones carries +7500 odds of being the first offensive lineman drafted.

It’s important to note that Darnell Wright (+600 odds of being the first offensive lineman drafted) hasn’t made an appearance in the current MDS data. With respect to betting markets, his absence is arguably tied with that of Kincaid as the most surprising.

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