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NFL draft odds: Analyzing the uncertainty after No. 1

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This time last year, we didn't know who was going No. 1. The signs started to point toward Bryce Young, but there was enough reason to believe C.J. Stroud might be in the mix that it wasn't worth betting until the price became too prohibitive.

The lead-up to the 2024 NFL Draft is more like when Joe Burrow and Trevor Lawrence went first overall, as Caleb Williams (no better than -400 throughout the 2023 season) is now -5000 to go No. 1 to the Bears. Therefore, the second pick, held by the Commanders, gets the spotlight for bettors.

No two drafts are the same, but it's worth remembering that after Young went No. 1 last year, there were plenty of juicy payouts for the subsequent picks in the 2023 draft (odds as of nine days before).

Player to be drafted 2nd overall

Jayden Daniels -135
Drake Maye -110
J.J. McCarthy +400
Caleb Williams +4000
Marvin Harrison Jr. +5000

(Odds source: theScore Bet)

Last year: C.J. Stroud (+350)

The debate between quarterbacks for the second overall pick is similar to the debate between Young and Stroud for No. 1 last year. Jayden Daniels recently nudged ahead of Drake Maye as the favorite.

The Heisman Trophy winner is probably still a good bet at -135 (57.4% implied probability) or better. But with weeks of subterfuge still to come, a better payout may become available (like Stroud last year), or Washington could admit that Daniels is its choice, and his odds become prohibitive.

Player to be drafted 3rd overall

Drake Maye -115
Jayden Daniels +130
J.J. McCarthy +350
Marvin Harrison Jr. +1200

*Players with odds 60-1 or longer not listed

Last year: Will Anderson Jr. (+275)

It's easy to remember the top of the 2023 NFL Draft as Young versus Stroud, but just three days before, Stroud was available for as long as +400. With Williams a lock to go first overall, that scenario might manifest itself with the second and third picks. Daniels could go No. 2, but the Patriots are a team with new decision-makers who look ready for anything. That could mean taking the third-best QB available (Maye at -115), trading the pick, or taking the shiniest bauble outside of the quarterbacks.

Player to be drafted 4th overall

Marvin Harrison Jr. -190
J.J. McCarthy +200
Drake Maye +550
Jayden Daniels +1200
Malik Nabers +1400
Rome Odunze +3500
Dallas Turner +4500

*Players with odds 60-1 or longer not listed

Last year: Anthony Richardson (+1200)

Sure-fire superstar Marvin Harrison Jr. is the favorite to go No. 4, but New England could do something it never did under Bill Belichick - draft a stud wide receiver - and worry about the quarterback of the future later when they can inject one on a rookie deal into a more talented roster. Between that and some chance that the Cardinals could trade down (as they did last year) with a team interested in J.J. McCarthy, laying -190 on Harrison to be picked fourth seems like an unnecessary risk.

Player to be drafted 5th overall

Malik Nabers +200
Marvin Harrison Jr. +225
J.J. McCarthy +375
Joe Alt +450
Rome Odunze +1000
Drake Maye +1400
J.C. Latham +2000
Taliese Fuaga +2000
Jayden Daniels +2400
Brock Bowers +3500
Dallas Turner +3500

*Players with odds 50-1 or longer not listed

Last year: Devon Witherspoon (+3300)

This brings us to McCarthy, whom former head coach Jim Harbaugh called the "best quarterback in the draft." That praise doubles as a supportive nod from their time together at Michigan while sounding like he's hoping to entice another franchise to trade up into the fifth slot. That seems like the ideal scenario for the Chargers, who suddenly have multiple holes to fill.

McCarthy's stock has gone up since the end of the season, and his draft odds in every market have shortened with it. With his shortest odds of +200 (to go fourth overall), where he goes is the key to where other players fall into place. Given last year's mountain of lies and misdirection in the days leading up to the draft, that might result in some significant long shots landing in the various slots after Williams goes No. 1.

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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