Is the sports betting market tipping us off about another shocker at the top of the NFL Draft?
For most of the offseason, Alabama quarterback Bryce Young has been expected to go No. 1 overall in Kansas City for the 2023 NFL Draft. But some speculative wagers are now coming in on Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson.
Last Thursday, the Florida product was 80/1 to go No. 1 overall in the NFL Draft on Caesars Sportsbook. Later that day, his odds dropped down to 50/1. Four days after that, his odds came down again to 25/1.
Wednesday was the big day that really turned some heads across the league. On Caesars, Richardson swung from 20/1 to 15/1 in just an hour. Then at 6:38 p.m. ET, he reached 10/1 and then 8/1 not long after. He has held steady there, with +800 his consensus odds across most sportsbooks.
Richardson is a raw talent, but few can deny his arm strength, size, and mobility. Still, many mock drafts by top NFL Draft insiders do not project Richardson inside their top 10 picks. Richardson is No. 21 on Mel Kiper Jr’s Big Board and 11th on Pro Football Focus’ board.
The sports betting markets are always interesting to watch unfold with the draft, or other events where information leads to wagers. There are plenty of situations where insider trading fuels these markets. However, that is a slippery slope, and bettors should always proceed cautiously when following steam in these markets.
Just because Richardson is getting some juice to go at the top of drafts does not mean insiders are flooding this market with whale-sized bets.
Caesars Sportsbook’s Max Meyer told The Post: “Looking over the past week (since Feb. 16), Richardson is tops in tickets at 38.4% but comes in second in handle at 29.0%.”
Meanwhile, Bryce Young is still far and above the most bet on player to go No. 1.
“Young still has a commanding lead in handle over that stretch at 58.7%, and has also racked up 23.3% of the tickets. The Alabama quarterback got two separate $1,250 bets at -125 last Thursday night, one from an Indiana bettor and the other from a New Jersey bettor.”
Betting on the NFL?
He continued, “When you account for every single bet that has come in so far for the first pick market, Young has drawn 16 different bets of at least $1,000. Interestingly, Levis is second with eight of them, whereas Richardson hasn’t received any yet.”
No big money coming in on Richardson undoubtedly points to speculative recreational bettors rather than any insiders dropping considerable sums of money on the former Florida quarterback.
For now, this is just one sportsbook. No other books have announced any significant bets on Richardson as of yet.
Perhaps the odds movement and flood of bets had something to do with CBS Sports’ latest mock draft that pinned Richardson at the top slot. But even the top draft prognosticators – Mel Kiper Jr., Peter Schrager – can be fooled by sources as team executives pledge secrecy.
Last year, Paolo Banchero was +900 to go No. 1 overall on the day of the NBA Draft before plummeting to -600. Even ESPN Insider Adrian Wojnarowski was shocked to see Banchero get drafted at the top slot.
When the stakes are highest, sometimes you can only trust the money.