In mid-January, Kentucky quarterback Will Levis suddenly became the flavor of the month in odds to be the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft. With the Super Bowl now in the rearview mirror and NFL Draft odds becoming more prominent, a new flavor has emerged.
Florida’s Anthony Richardson has seen his draft odds significantly shorten at multiple sportsbooks, particularly over the past couple of days. Richardson even overtook Levis in some books, as the Gators quarterback soared toward the top of the board in the No. 1 pick betting market.
Sports traders Christian Cipollini of BetMGM and Matthew Griffe of FOX Bet chimed in on the latest big adjustment in NFL Draft betting.
Let’s jump in!
From Long Shot to In The Hunt
As the playoffs reached conference championship weekend in late January, BetMGM posted its NFL Draft odds. At that time, Richardson was a 100/1 long shot to be drafted No. 1 overall come April 27.
Atop the No. 1 draft pick odds market were Alabama QB Bryce Young at -120 and Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud at +200. Those two were followed by Georgia defensive lineman Jalen Carter and Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson Jr., both at +750. Then came Levis at +1000, followed by a substantial drop-off to Clemson defensive end Myles Murphy at +5000.
From there, the opening odds plunged to 80/1 for a few players, including Richardson.
“We opened the draft market much later than others,” Cipollini said, before addressing the action and movement on Richardson. “We took a couple small bets [at 100/1] and moved him into 80/1, and then noticed the market was trending toward 40/1, so he landed there just after the Super Bowl.
“Then Wednesday, he made the big jump into +600.”
By Thursday, Richardson slipped just a bit to +700 at BetMGM, putting him behind Young (-120), Stroud (+325) and Carter (+600).
Multiple books reported similar movement this week, based on Richardson tickets/money or keeping up with the rest of the market – or a combination of both factors. FOX Bet posted NFL Draft odds on Feb. 13, the day after the Super Bowl, and also initially had Richardson at 100/1.
That same day, FOX Bet cut Richardson’s odds in half to +5000. Then the floodgates opened this week.
“We quickly went to 20/1, 13/1, +750 and finally +600, where the price currently stands,” Griffe said. “We saw larger wagers initially, [then] an increase in volume Wednesday.”
Richardson is now the third choice at FOX Bet, behind only favored Young (-143) and second choice Stroud (+320).
Added BetMGM’s Cipollini: “I wouldn’t say we had a ton of action flooding in, but we had a sharp bettor come in at 40/1 and saw that the market had a steep move, and we reacted with it.”
It goes to show the volatility of NFL Draft odds, which are all about information and speculation.
“Our limits are very low on draft markets. In today’s landscape, the bettors get the same information from Adam Schefter – or whomever – as we do,” Cipollini said. “These markets aren’t what happens on the field. Rather, it’s a race to see who gets the information first. Someone who attends the combine could easily get information that we wouldn’t be privy to, thus why our limits will be low.”
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Even with low limits and quick adjustments to Richardson’s odds, both FOX Bet and BetMGM noted the Florida standout is a trouble spot should he actually be drafted No. 1 overall.
“The action at longer odds currently has Richardson as our No. 1 liability to this point,” Griffe said.
Cipollini echoed Griffe’s comment.
“Richardson is our biggest liability, due to where his price was,” Cipollini said. “But Bryce Young still has the most bets, followed by Will Levis. Anthony Richardson is now at No. 3.”
Perhaps more surprising to Cipollini in all of this – the love for Levis and now Richardson, along with all the bets on Young – is the one player who isn’t getting attention in odds to be the NFL’s No. 1 pick.
“I’m shocked by how little action we are taking on C.J. Stroud,” Cipollini said.
Patrick Everson is a sports betting analyst for FOX Sports and senior reporter for VegasInsider.com. He is a distinguished journalist in the national sports betting space. He’s based in Las Vegas, where he enjoys golfing in 110-degree heat. Follow him on Twitter: @PatrickE_Vegas.
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