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NFL Draft betting: Is Caleb Williams too good for bettors to pass up?

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The more things change, the more they stay the same.

A year after we were tasked with deciphering what the Bears would do with the first overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, we're back to figuring out what they'll do with the first overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. But will that matter?

The reason for this deja vu is that Chicago traded the pick last year - a genius move at the time that only got better when the recipient Panthers finished dead last this past season.

Draft Order

1 Chicago Bears
2 Washington Commanders 
3 New England Patriots
4 Arizona Cardinals
5 Los Angeles Chargers
6 New York Giants
7 Tennessee Titans
8 Atlanta Falcons
9 Chicago Bears
10 New York Jets 
11 Minnesota Vikings
12 Denver Broncos
13 Las Vegas Raiders

Trading the pick is an option again for Chicago, depending on how the team's management feels about Justin Fields a year later. But the smart money seems like it's on the Bears dealing him and picking a new franchise quarterback, restarting the clock on a rookie contract at the position.

There's even the provocative option of doing both - dealing Fields for assets while trading out of the first slot for another haul and taking one of the many other quarterback prospects in the top 10.

One prop available in the market prices the Bears at -500 to make the first selection (the field is +350). Unlike this time last year, when Bryce Young was just -130, it seems there's more certainty about whose name will be called first, no matter how it shakes out.

No. 1 overall pick odds

Caleb Williams -900
Drake Maye +500
Marvin Harrison Jr. +1300
Jayden Daniels +1800
J.J. McCarthy +2500
Michael Penix +4000

Others available at theScore Bet at 90-1 or longer

Caleb Williams' odds imply a 90% chance he goes first overall. But at this stage in the handicapping process, we should start by figuring out how talent evaluators feel about the favorite and whether he's a "sure thing," like recent heavy favorites Trevor Lawrence and Joe Burrow.

Some have their questions.

Others don't.

And others leave open the possibility that someone else might be more enticing.

Or that someone might be safer.

This early in the process, with rumors the Commanders (who recently hired former USC offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury) are interested in Williams, the Bears might not have to look far for a team willing to deal. A 90% likelihood that he goes first seems right, even if we're not looking to risk $9 to win $1.

If anyone can match the flash of Williams, enticing Chicago to hold the pick through the evaluation process and take a different quarterback, it's Heisman Trophy winner Jayden Daniels (+1800). However, we'll need more of a signal from the Bears before we make even a small-risk, high-reward bet.

Matt Russell is the lead betting analyst for theScore. If there's a bad beat to be had, Matt will find it. Find him on social media @mrussauthentic.

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