NFL betting: Bryce Young opens as betting favorite to be first pick of 2023 draft

There are just four NFL teams remaining in the quest for the Vince Lombardi Trophy, which means fan bases of 28 other teams have turned their attention to the offseason. The crown jewel of the offseason is the NFL Draft, which infuses the league with young talent and the fan bases of downtrodden teams with hope.

With the draft declaration deadline in the rearview mirror, we know which players are eligible to be drafted. As a result, BetMGM has released betting odds on the first overall pick. Let's take a look at how oddsmakers expect the top of the draft to unfold.

Bryce Young favored to go No. 1

Mac Jones left Alabama for the NFL after the 2020 season and was selected by the New England Patriots in the first round in 2021. The Alabama quarterback room was just fine, however, as Bryce Young took the reins from Jones.

In his first season as a starter in 2021, Young completed 67% of his passes while throwing for 4,872 yards. He had an impressive 47-7 touchdown to interception ratio, leading Alabama to an SEC championship and playoff berth. He was recognized for his incredible season with the Heisman Trophy.

Young followed his Heisman season with another solid season in 2022. He completed more than 64% of his passes for 3,328 yards. He threw 32 touchdowns and just five interceptions and finished sixth in Heisman voting.

In early January, Young announced he will be foregoing his senior season at Alabama and instead declared for the NFL Draft. He is the current betting favorite to be the first player drafted, at -120 odds.

Alabama quarterback Bryce Young opens as the betting favorite to go first overall in the 2023 NFL Draft. (Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Alabama quarterback Bryce Young opens as the betting favorite to go first overall in the 2023 NFL Draft. (Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

C.J. Stroud has second-best odds

While Young is the odds-on favorite to be the first player drafted, there's no certainty that things will unfold that way. The draft prospects still need to go through the combine and pre-draft process. At this time last year, Aidan Hutchinson was a clear favorite to go No. 1, but he ended up being taken behind Travon Walker.

If you think the draft process might dock Young due to his size (a questionable 6-foot, 194 pounds) or any other factors, it would be smart to look further down the odds board.

C.J. Stroud has the second-best odds to be the first player drafted. Much like Young, Stroud was a starter for two seasons in college after taking over for a current NFL quarterback (Justin Fields) at Ohio State. In two seasons at Ohio State, Stroud completed over 69% of his passes and threw for more than 8,000 yards, with 85 touchdowns and just 12 interceptions.

His most impressive performance came in a losing effort, as he hung 41 points on the vaunted Georgia defense in the College Football Playoff semifinal this past season. He's bigger than Young, listed at 6-foot-3 and 218 pounds. Stroud is +250 to be the first player taken in late April.

Behind the two quarterbacks are a pair of defensive players from the SEC. Georgia's Jalen Carter and Alabama's Will Anderson are both +500 to be the first player taken. Carter is a defensive lineman who has 15.5 tackles for loss and six sacks the past two seasons while serving as a disruptive interior force on what has been college football's best defense. Anderson is a talented edge rusher who saw his production dip slightly this past season. He had 17.5 sacks in 2021 but just 10 in 2022.

Behind those two, Kentucky quarterback Will Levis has 10-to-1 odds to be the first player drafted. Levis is a polarizing prospect who has all of the physical traits but doesn't exactly have the production expected of a top prospect. He also eats his bananas with the peel on them and drinks his coffee with mayonnaise, which certainly raises some red flags.

Clemson edge rusher Myles Murphy is 50-to-1 to be the first player drafted. Every other player has odds of 100-to-1 or higher.

Will a quarterback go at 1?

The top two favorites and three of the five favorites to be drafted first overall are quarterbacks, which would lead you to believe there's a good chance a QB goes at the top of the draft. However, that's no sure thing.

The Chicago Bears currently own the first overall pick, and they already have a young quarterback who has shown flashes and seems to be developing well in Justin Fields. There's no reason to believe they would draft a quarterback unless they make the surprising move of trading Fields. This is a team with holes all over the roster, and the Bears would likely be best served addressing some of those in the draft.

Will the Bears trade down and therefore allow another team to draft a quarterback with the first overall pick? That seems like the consensus opinion, but it's also far from a guarantee. That would require another team to be desperate enough to move significant future assets to try to move up. While this is a decent class of quarterbacks, it isn't considered an elite class like 2021 or 2018. Will another team view these quarterbacks as worth moving up for?

If the Bears keep the pick, they'll likely go with one of the two defensive players currently at +500 odds. However, that would go against recent history. Since 2015, only twice has a non-quarterback gone first overall. Myles Garrett in 2017 and Travon Walker in 2021 are the only two non-quarterbacks to go No. 1. In that time, we've seen Jameis Winston, Jared Goff, Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray, Joe Burrow and Trevor Lawrence all go at the top of the draft.

There are still four months until the NFL Draft, and a lot will likely change in that time. However, if you want to take a stand early and perhaps get a good price on a player, draft betting is now open at BetMGM.