When the betting markets opened for the 2023 NFL Draft, five players — including three quarterbacks — had reasonable odds to be the first player selected.
Anthony Richardson was not among those players. In fact, at BetMGM, the Florida quarterback’s odds to be drafted first overall (+10000) were greater than the current Super Bowl odds for the Tom Brady-less Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+8000).
Today? Five players still have reasonable odds to go No. 1 when the NFL Draft kicks off on April 27 in Kansas City. The big change: Richardson suddenly is one of the five favorites.
Not only that, but he’s climbed up to the No. 3 spot at multiple sportsbooks — and reached No. 2 at another.
How did Richardson quickly go from flawed project to hot prospect? Let’s just say if the meat market that is the NFL Scouting Combine gave out an MVP award, Richardson would’ve been this year’s unanimous winner.
Here’s a look at the latest NFL Draft odds, as well as an update on the wagering action at BetMGM.
Odds updated as of 5 p.m. ET on March 8.
NFL Draft: No. 1 pick odds
Even before Richardson touched down in Indianapolis for last week’s combine, there was a buzz developing around the dual-threat quarterback.
As of Feb. 22 — six days before the combine began — Richardson’s first-overall pick odds had plummeted from a peak of 100-to-1 to +750 at BetMGM.
This despite that fact that Richardson played in just 22 games in parts of three seasons at Florida. And completed just 53.8% of his passes in his lone season as a starter (2022). And completed just 9 of 27 passes for 198 yards in his final collegiate game (a 45-38 loss at Florida State).
Yet in recent weeks, those less-than-stellar statistics became less concerning to NFL scouts and the NFL Draft betting market. Instead, everyone zeroed in on two other factors: Richardson’s cannon for an arm and his raw athleticism.
Then Richardson took the field at the combine, put that athleticism on display, and countless NFL scouts and executives began drooling.
The key numbers: Richardson checked in at 6-foot-4, 244 pounds. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.43 seconds, the fourth-fastest time for a quarterback in combine history. And he hit 40.5 inches in the vertical jump and 10 feet, 9 inches in the broad jump — both NFL records for a QB.
Those jaw-dropping measurables didn’t quell concerns about Richardson’s questionable passing accuracy. But they confirmed he’s a generational athlete and explain why in high school Richardson gave himself the nickname “Cam Jackson” — as in a combination of Cam Newton and Lamar Jackson.
Time will tell if Richardson can live up to that moniker. But a whole lot of folks are betting that one person believes he can. That person: Whatever general manager ends up with the No. 1 pick on April 27.
NFL Draft odds: Tracking the No. 1 pick action
After the combine wrapped Monday, BetMGM dropped Richardson to +500 to be the No. 1 overall pick.
FanDuel has a slightly better price on Richardson (+600), and both sportsbooks have him trailing only two quarterbacks — Bryce Young of Alabama (-190 at BetMGM, -170 at FanDuel) and C.J. Stroud of Ohio State (+400 at BetMGM, +300 at FanDuel).
However, Caesars Sportsbook has Richardson and Stroud dead even as the +350 second choice behind odds-on favorite Young (-170).
As of Monday afternoon, BetMGM had taken more bets on Richardson to be the first player off the board (23.2%) than anyone else. Kentucky quarterback Will Levis, who is the co-fourth choice at BetMGM at +1200, was second in ticket count (19.5%).
Young (13.2%) was next, followed by a pair of pass rushers — Alabama’s Will Anderson (12.0%) and Georgia’s Jalen Carter (11.7%) — with Stroud sitting fifth (10.9%).
When it comes to the amount of money bet into BetMGM’s No. 1 overall pick market, Young leads the way at 28.8%. Levis is second in handle (24.0%), followed by Richardson (22.7%). From there, it’s a big drop to Stroud (8.1%).
Make no mistake, though: BetMGM oddsmakers are praying that when NFL commissioner Roger Goodell steps to the podium in Kansas City and reveals the first pick, he doesn’t utter the name “Anthony Richardson”.
If he does, it’ll be an extremely costly announcement — and not just for BetMGM, as Richardson opened as an extreme long shot at every sportsbook that posted NFL Draft odds.
The Inquirer is not an online gambling operator, or a gambling site. We provide this information about sports betting for entertainment purposes only.