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Is It Worth Betting On Anyone but Caleb Williams to Be the First QB Selected?
Photo: Nov 25, 2022; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Drake Maye (10) scores a touchdown as North Carolina State Wolfpack safety Tanner Ingle (10) and defensive tackle Davin Vann (45) and linebacker Payton Wilson (11) defend in the fourth quarter at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Is It Worth Betting On Anyone but Caleb Williams to Be the First QB Selected?

We’ve reached the part of the college football season where some teams start to gear up for conference championships and New Year's Six Bowls while others prepare for smaller bowl games or the offseason, knowing they need to find a new quarterback. It’s also the part of the season when big-name players start to opt out of bowl games and declare for the draft.

That is a possible scenario for the two quarterbacks at the top of the odds list for the first quarterback selected in the 2024 draft. While a lot can happen between now and the NFL draft, today we will look at whether it’s worth taking a plus-money flyer on any quarterback not named Caleb Williams to be the first signal-caller off the board.

Is There Value In the Top 5?

Even before the college football season started, the two most popular quarterbacks to be selected number one overall were Caleb Williams and Drake Maye. Now entering the postseason, they still sit atop most mock drafts and odds boards. Currently on DraftKings Sportsbook, Caleb Williams is (-450) to be the first quarterback selected, while Drake Maye is (+300).

After Maye, the player with the third-best odds is Michael Penix Jr. at (+2500), so it’s pretty clear oddsmakers and bettors see a clear drop off in the market. Penix Jr. is one of two players in the top five in terms of odds who has a shot at the College Football Playoff, with JJ McCarthy coming in with the 5th best odds at (+3500). Sandwiched between them is LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels at (+3000).

The question becomes, can the quarterbacks in the 3-5 range do anything from now until the end of the season to put them in the same conversation as Caleb Williams? On paper, they probably could, I mean, winning a National Championship if you’re Penix Jr. or McCarthy would help their draft stock, but in reality, that still likely doesn’t put them in the same conversation as Williams.

Williams has already been deemed by most as a can’t-miss prospect, and this market is a good indicator of that since three of the quarterbacks behind him on the odds boards threw for more yards and touchdowns while winning more games.

A lot of movement will happen in this market, but unlike last season, when Bryce Young and CJ Stroud were very close in odds, this quarterback class is different. This year, there seems to be such a gap between Williams and Maye that it is probably worth waiting till the second quarterback-selected markets are released to find value on a guy at the top of the first QB market.

Not Even Worth a Look

While some guys on the odds list have the chance to create buzz during the draft season and at least end up as trendy top picks in mock drafts, there are other guys on the top ten list for this market that bettors should avoid. Even if, after reading the last section, bettors still want to place a longshot wager at this point, I’ll break down which players to not waste a dollar on.

Frankly, I don’t believe the quarterbacks that have the next best odds after Jayden Daniels on Ohio sports betting apps will even declare for the draft. As it stands, Sheduer Sanders, Quinn Ewers, and K.J Jefferson all have (+4000) odds of being the first QB selected, and based on reports, it seems as if they will be staying in school for another year.

K.J. Jefferson is already rumored to be entering the transfer portal for next season, so that takes him out of the question. As for Quinn Ewers, a recent report from Geoff Ketchum of made it seem like he is leaning towards another year at Texas. Finally, as for Sheduer Sanders, there was a video of his father telling him he’s staying another year, and with Williams already deemed the guy in this class, I wouldn’t be shocked to see Sanders suit up for the Buffs again next season.

The Verdict

Futures bets are great for bettors to have in their betting portfolio, but at this point in time, this is not one I would make. Based on prices and the current market, putting even a small wager down doesn’t seem worth it.

However, I will say this is a market to keep an eye on moving forward. While we don’t have a ton of information right now, the reports that Caleb Williams could be trying to force his way onto certain teams are interesting. There is not much validity to these reports as of right now, but as we grow closer to draft season, I recommend keeping your eyes and ears peeled because if drafting him becomes complicated for teams, the other QBs in this market will instantly have value.