The No. 1 pick for the 2023 NFL Draft was all but decided. The Carolina Panthers, who traded up for the right to pick first, are all set to take Bryce Young with the selection, choosing the Alabama quarterback over other QB choices like C.J. Stroud and Will Levis.
Tuesday morning brought a big shift in the odds for another quarterback, Kentucky’s Levis, to be taken No. 1, with Levis going from the 40-to-1 range all the way down to +800 at FanDuel Sportsbook.
The seismic change apparently after an anonymous user on the sports betting board at the social media site Reddit wrote a post explaining that he was a friend of Levis’ and that the QB was telling friends at home in California that the Panthers were set to take him No. 1.
There’s no way to verify that information, and it could be completely fabricated. But it doesn’t take much money to move a market at 40-to-1 odds — even small bets add up quickly — and suddenly Levis was no longer a long shot. Other sportsbooks in the market have his price as low as +400 as of late Tuesday morning.
Levis, who recently became the favorite to go No. 2 in the draft, has the size at 6-foot-4, 229 pounds, that NFL executives like in quarterbacks, while Young is only 5-10. But Young far out-paced Levis in collegiate production and has been an expected top-three pick for more than a year.
Stroud, meanwhile, was the favorite to go No. 1 in the aftermath of the Panthers’ trade with the Chicago Bears, but he has fallen down the board on both mock drafts and odds for the top two picks after news came out that he fared poorly on the S2 Cognition test that NFL teams use as a tool to rate prospects’ decision-making and cognitive ability.
It should be noted that Young is still -1000 to be the top pick at FanDuel, extremely short odds that are unchanged from Monday. But Levis is climbing, thanks to an anonymous post, and suddenly there’s more intrigue at the top of the draft — and not just about who will be the No. 2 pick.