FOX sports betting analyst
If you’re intrigued by the volatility in a sports betting market, then NFL Draft odds are at your service. Just a little bit of information or speculation, or even a relatively modest bet from a respected customer (read: sharp bettor) can lead to significant adjustments.
Case in point: Kentucky quarterback Will Levis, who is among a dozen or so players listed in the NFL Draft’s first overall selection odds.
In just one day, months before the draft, Levis’ odds saw a noticeable shortening in several sportsbooks. In a couple of instances from Jan. 12-13, his odds were cut in half or more, from +2200 to +900 on FanDuel and from +2000 to +1000 on DraftKings.
Caesars Sports almost cut Levis’ odds in half, from +1400 to +800. So what happened?
Let’s dive in.
What should the Bears do with the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft?
Colin Cowherd suggests what Chicago should do, including reducing the draft.
Why not both?
The odds can see movement based on the bets coming in, and also the numbers often change simply due to market adjustments based on new information.
“This was a little bit of a combination of both,” said Adam Pullen, assistant director of merchandising at Caesars Sports, noting that there was action and information about Levis. “It takes very little information to get people excited and you have to be aggressive with your moves.”
Especially with the NFL Draft odds.
“The NFL Draft is the hardest event to book. The fixtures of the draft are so volatile,” Pullen said before explaining the conundrum of the draft for oddsmakers. “It’s not whether you’ll win or lose, but how much you’ll lose.”
In fact, the NFL Draft is a loser for the books every year. Bettors, mainly heavy bettors because the NFL Draft is more of a sharp market, always beat the bookies on draft odds.
2023 NFL ODDS NO. 1 SELECTION ON FOX BET*
Bryce Young (Alabama): -125 (bet $10 to win $8 for a total payout of $18)
CJ Stroud (Ohio State): +205 (bet $10 to win $20.50 for a total payout of $30.50)
Will Anderson (Alabama): +600 (bet $10 to win $60 for a total payout of $70)
Jalen Carter (Georgia): +700 (bet $10 to win $70 for a total payout of $80)
Will Levis (Kentucky): +800 (bet $10 to win $80 for a total payout of $90)
*Odds from 01/18/2023
Will Levis be number 1?
The short answer: probably not. At +800, Levis still ranks fifth in Caesars Sports odds to be the first overall pick. Also, the top two spots on the odds board are occupied by quarterbacks: Alabama’s Bryce Young is the -125 favorite (bet $10 to win $8 for a total payout of $18) and Ohio State’s CJ Stroud is the second choice of +225.
Then there’s this:
“The big question is the Bears have the No. 1 pick, and it looks like they’re not going to take a quarterback,” Pullen said, noting that Chicago will almost certainly keep Justin Fields.
So why the action in Levis?
“I think people are maybe thinking a change is going to happen. It’s possible. You never know what some teams are thinking,” Pullen said. “If a team focuses on Levis and thinks they have to trade up to get him, they will.”
FOX Bet sports trader Matthew Griffe predicts Levis will be a popular name on draft day.
“Levis has entered the conversation and NFL evaluators are going to love the barrel he has in his right arm,” Griffe said. “I would expect a hit after his pro day, similar to what we saw with Zach Wilson a couple of years ago, sorry Jets fans.
“The upside is intriguing, but there are a lot of questions about Levis that are still unanswered at this point in the process.”
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However, it’s not just Young and Stroud that Levis would have to surpass to be the No. 1 pick. Alabama linebacker Will Anderson and Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter are the co-No. 3 Picks on the Caesars NFL Draft Odds Board at +600.
At FOX Bet, Anderson is the third favorite to be selected as the top pick, while Carter is fourth. Either way, those two defensive linemen have shorter odds than Levis, and understandably so, given Chicago’s shortcomings.
The Bears need help on defense, finishing 29th in the NFL in total yards allowed (375.9 per game), 31st in rushing yards allowed (157.3 per game) and dead last in points allowed per game (27.2) .
This doesn’t look like a team with Levis in their future, even less so with Fields in the equation.
But Levis going No. 1 overall isn’t entirely out of the question. Pullen noted that when Caesars first released NFL Draft odds on the first pick, Levis was +4000, and the Kentucky QB actually dropped to +500 before returning to +1400.
Levis has now moved to the aforementioned +800.
“We’ve seen a lot of drafts where teams trade up, especially for quarterbacks,” Pullen said. “All it takes is for one team to like him more than Young or Stroud.”
Patrick Everson is a sports betting analyst for FOX Sports and a senior reporter for VegasInsider.com. He is a distinguished journalist in the national sports betting space. He is based in Las Vegas, where he enjoys playing golf in 110-degree heat. Follow him on Twitter: @PatrickE_Vegas.
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