2024 NFL Draft: JJ McCarthy a top-five pick, Falcons trade down and more reading of betting market tea leaves


The 2024 NFL Draft is only 10 days away, and over the next week or so, we could start to see a hint of what’s going to happen from the betting odds market. Last year, Bryce Young was -310 to go No. 1 overall two weeks out and -400 at this point of the news cycle, but within two days he jumped to -1200 and wound up at -2400 by Monday of draft week. Travon Walker was only +300 to go No. 1 overall 10 days away from the 2022 NFL Draft, but those odds saw a big shift the weekend before the draft as the betting market deduced from reporting how the Jaguars would land.

But the betting market isn’t infallible, as bettors sometimes have trouble correctly parsing between fact and fiction when gathering information. Last year, internet rumors caused chaos with expectations for Will Levis, who became the favorite to go No. 4 overall 10 days out and stayed there into draft week, which he also started as the odds-on favorite to go No. 2 overall at -120. Levis instead ended up being selected with the first pick of the second round when all was said and done. C.J. Stroud, who was -105 to be taken No. 2 two weeks away from the draft, ended up at +550 the Monday of draft week and cashed big for those who had faith the Levis rumors were all smoke.

This year there’s absolutely no mystery with the No. 1 overall pick, where Caleb Williams is -10000 to be selected. That means that bettors have to risk $100 to win $1 if they want to back Williams as the first pick of the 2024 draft. The intrigue starts at No. 2, where Jayden Daniels, Drake Maye and even J.J. McCarthy have had speculation they could be the pick for the Washington Commanders. But what does the betting market expect? We’ll get into that and more below as we attempt to read the tea leaves and let you know what the people paying the closest attention to draft buzz think could happen in just 10 days.

Jayden Daniels goes No. 2 overall … right?

At the beginning of April, we did a draft props episode on the Pick Six Podcast that happened to capture something curious: Odds for Drake Maye to go No. 2 overall dropped in the few hours between my pod preparations and when we recorded the episode, and we wondered if it was a sign Washington could be leaning toward the North Carolina QB. But that random movement seems to have turned out to be a mirage, as Daniels solidified himself as the top option over the following two weeks.

With 10 days out from Draft Day, Daniels has moved from the -150 range to go No. 2 overall to around -250 to be the pick as momentum builds toward the Commanders selecting the LSU signal-caller. That somewhat follows the pattern (though not as strongly) with Bryce Young going No. 1 last year, and he saw a threefold increase in his odds from Monday to Wednesday the week before the draft.

Also note the Commanders’ schedule of prospect visits and consider what that could do to the market. Daniels is scheduled to visit the Commanders today, and any positive buzz from the meeting could cause his stock to rise. But a meeting with Maye is on the books for Tuesday, and if he blows the Commanders away, it’s possible we see a shift in the odds within the next 48 hours and Maye overtakes Daniels. Keep a close eye on what the odds market is saying about this pick over the next few days, and bettors who believe in Maye are likely looking for the best value to jump on him going second overall prior to his meeting. I slotted Maye in at No. 2 in my first 2024 NFL Mock Draft last week at SportsLine, and what happens in the betting market over the course of this week will likely determine if I stick with it.

Vikings trade with Chargers to select J.J. McCarthy

McCarthy isn’t favored to go in any specific draft slot, but he’s the second favorite to be taken third, fourth and (tied) fifth behind Drake Maye, Marvin Harrison Jr. and Malik Nabers, respectively, over at DraftKings. What that amounts to is that McCarthy is a moderate favorite to be a top-five pick at both DraftKings (-175) and FanDuel (-210), with Nabers as an underdog to land in the top five despite his status as the favorite to go fifth.

It’s possible McCarthy is the preferred option for the Patriots, though he’s not shorter than +200 to be drafted third at either site. So there’s a lot of built-in expectation that some team will trade into the top five with either the Cardinals or Chargers, with the latter more likely considering how big a favorite Harrison is (-175 to -200) to go fourth. The two books also offer odds on which team will draft McCarthy, with the Vikings the +125 favorite after acquiring a second pick in Round 1 this year in a previous trade.

My 2024 NFL Draft Pick Value Chart, which is based around the pick trades teams have done every year since 2016, considers the Vikings and Chargers pretty perfect trade partners, with the value of the 11th and 23rd picks exceeding the value of the fifth pick by a margin similar to what teams tend to pay in QB trade-ups, while the value of those two Vikings picks combined doesn’t quite reach the value of the fourth pick. That’s not to say the Cardinals couldn’t figure something out if they’re motivated to trade down, just that a Vikings-Chargers trade makes the most sense, both with my pick value chart and with the direction the odds market is pointing.

Falcons eye Laiatu Latu after trade down

Alabama edge rusher Dallas Turner once felt pretty certain to be the Falcons’ pick at No. 8, but a recent shift in the odds now puts that into question. Turner is still the favorite for No. 8, but much closer to the pack than he was previously, as he’s just +210 to go eighth at DraftKings and +300 to go eighth at FanDuel. The odds market did a good job of predicting the Falcons’ pick at this same spot last year, with Bijan Robinson the favorite two weeks out before wrestling for favorite status with Nolan Smith for a bit then reestablishing as the clear favorite by draft week.

So what to make of this odds shift? I think it’s tied to another big presence in the odds market over the last week, and that’s Laiatu Latu. Despite persistent concerns about his medicals, Latu has jumped up to the second favorite to be selected eighth overall and the second favorite to be the first defensive player off the board. Latu likely has a higher upside as a pass rusher than Turner, so if Atlanta is comfortable with his medicals, he would seemingly be the perfect fit for Atlanta.

But would they draft him all the way up at No. 8? Latu is still a heavy underdog to be a top-10 pick (around +270), and what I think is going on here is that the same channels that identified Robinson as the Falcons’ pick are doing so with Latu, but that the Falcons are looking at taking him after a trade down. Markets are now starting to emerge on over/under draft position for some players, and Latu is -180 to go in the first 18 picks at FanDuel. That gives the Falcons a blueprint on how far down it makes sense to trade.

Expect a trade up for Rome Odunze in the top 10

Who is going to trade up with the Falcons? To answer that, I first want to discuss Odunze’s draft stock in terms of the betting market. Odunze is a shoo-in to be a top-10 pick at this point, with shorter odds than even Joe Alt (-900) or J.J. McCarthy to go top 10 at both FanDuel and DraftKings. He’s +250 to go No. 6, where the Giants sit, although a trade-up for McCarthy into the top five would leave Malik Nabers for New York. He’s +150 to go No. 9 with the Bears‘ second top-10 pick as well, though new markets on draft position at DraftKings now have Odunze as -130 to go in the top eight picks, so the Bears may not even get the chance to select him.

While this class seems deep at receiver, there are three clear difference-makers in Marvin Harrison Jr., Nabers and Odunze, and I think it’s likely someone makes a move to land the third option, with the Falcons making the most sense as a trade partner. If Atlanta wants to gamble on a slide for Latu or is more interested in amassing premium picks, they could look to the Bills, a contender who just traded away its No. 1 receiver. My pick chart suggests it would take No. 28, a 2025 first and a 2025 second (Buffalo has two after the Stefon Diggs trade) to get to No. 8, with a 2025 fourth also coming back Buffalo’s way.

If the Falcons don’t want to move that far down the board, the Colts could make sense as an Odunze landing spot. It would take the No. 46 pick and a 2025 fourth to get from No. 15 to No. 8 in this trade scenario. I also wonder if the Broncos could make something work involving the No. 12 pick and their 2025 first to get No. 8 for Odunze and the Falcons’ second-round pick in order to target Bo Nix, as they are the clear favored landing spot for the Oregon quarterback despite not having a second-round pick of their own.

Another potential scenario would have the team that trades down with the Vikings in a McCarthy deal (Cardinals, Chargers, Giants) trades back up with Atlanta for Odunze, similar to what the Cardinals did with Paris Johnson last year and the Dolphins did with Jaylen Waddle in 2021, both going from No. 3 to No. 12 to No. 6 to land their targets. The Cardinals’ No. 66 pick has enough value to be worth a trade down from No. 8 to No. 11 if they move down with the Vikings and want to get back up for Odunze. The Chargers and Giants’ early third-round picks aren’t quite enough to get it done, but that just means figuring out a small pick swap or a late-round pick to finish the job (the Chargers could move down four spots from No. 105 as part of the deal to Atlanta’s No. 109, for example).

Michael Penix Jr., Bo Nix shut out of Round 1

As speculation builds that a team could select one of these second-tier quarterbacks much earlier than expected, the odds market has trended the other way over the last two weeks. The total quarterbacks in Round 1 prop was heavily juiced to Over 4.5 at the beginning of April at around -280, but that’s dropped precipitously with just 10 days until the draft, as the Over now checks in at -160 at DraftKings.

That number still suggests one of Bo Nix or Michael Penix Jr. will land in Round 1, but even though both are close to even odds to be a Round 1 pick on that established market, new opening markets point to it not happening for either. Draft position over/unders have started to be released over the last few days, and both Penix (-160) and Nix (-185) are heavily juiced on Over 32.5 to be their final draft position at DraftKings.

Nix in particular is an interesting case, with the Broncos being a -175 favorite to select the Oregon quarterback at DraftKings even though they don’t have a second-round pick. In order to square the circle, they’d either have to trade their 2025 first to get a 2024 second-round pick for Nix, or trade down far enough from No. 12 to either take Nix at a spot that makes more sense in Round 1, or pick up a second-round pick in a deal with the intent on using that on Nix. For example, the value of No. 25 and No. 41, both owned by the Packers, slightly exceeds the value of No. 12, and that could make Green Bay a great trade partner if they want to target a top corner or tackle who will be long gone by No. 25.

The 2024 NFL Draft will take place from April 25-27 in Detroit. More draft coverage can be found at CBSSports.com, including the weekly updated draft ordermock drafts and a regularly available look at the eligible prospects



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