Suddenly, the favorite to be the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft has switched again

Former Alabama football quarterback Bryce Young works in position drills at Alabama's NFL pro day, Thursday, March 23, 2023, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)

After the Carolina Panthers traded for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft from the Chicago Bears, the odds immediately reacted: Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud quickly became the new favorite to be the top pick, replacing Alabama quarterback Bryce Young.

New Panthers coach Frank Reich preferred Stroud, the thinking went, and mock drafts and bettors alike quickly bought into that theory. Stroud reached as low as -250 odds at some sportsbooks on the market.

But, with the draft just over two weeks away, the tides are changing, and Young is the favorite again.

Late last week, longtime ESPN draft analyst Chris Mortensen said on air he thought mock drafts were wrong and that Young should be the pick. The odds moved again, leaving Stroud as the favorite but moving both he and Young toward even money.

But Young crossed into being the favorite Monday, and by Tuesday he was trading at an even higher price than Stroud was, with FanDuel Sportsbook posting a -300 number.

Stroud is still the second choice at +220, with two other quarterbacks following at much longer odds: Florida’s Anthony Richardson at +2000 and Kentucky’s Will Levis at +6000.

Odds close to the draft often foretell who the top pick will be. That was the case last year, when Georgia EDGE rusher Travon Walker went from 10-to-1 shot to favorite in the days before the Jacksonville Jaguars indeed made him the top pick.

Of course, there are still more than two weeks to go, so the odds could shift again before the Panthers make their final decision on April 27 in Kansas City.


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