Quarterbacks are expected to dominate when the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft gets underway Thursday, led by USC Trojans pivot Sam Darnold, who has emerged as a -240 favorite to be selected first overall on the 2018 NFL Draft props at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Winner of the 2016 Archie Griffin Award as college football’s most valuable player throughout the season, Darnold threw for 4,143 yards and 26 scores while leading the Trojans to both their first-ever Pac-12 conference title and their first Cotton Bowl appearance since 1994.
However, the 20-year-old faces stiff competition from a trio of rival passers vying to be selected first when the 2018 NFL Draft begins, while Oklahoma passer Baker Mayfield sits at +1000, and UCLA’s Josh Rosen is set at +1800.
Penn State running back Saquon Barkley has emerged as a dark horse bet to go No. 1 with +550 odds, while NC State defensive end Bradley Chubb is the lone defensive player receiving consideration as a top pick, but trails as a distant +4500 longshot on the prop bet.
The presence of four passers among the favorites to be this year’s top pick has fueled a strong line of +100 on the NFL Draft betting odds that each of this year’s top three selections will come from under center. However, Barkley’s representatives reportedly have stated that his preferred destination is New York, boosting the two-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year to a +190 favorite to be taken by the Giants, who currently own the No. 2 pick.
Louisville’s Lamar Jackson also is expected to join the mix of four elite quarterbacks pursued during the first round. The 2016 Heisman Trophy winner is listed as a +125 bet to be among the first 17 players selected at the 2018 NFL Draft. The total number of quarterbacks selected in the first round is set at 5.5 with -220 odds favoring the UNDER.
NFL observers continue to make draft projections based on the current NFL draft order. However, trades have shaken up the top of this year’s draft order, with the New York Jets swapping picks with Indianapolis to move up to No. 3 while the Colts drop to No. 6. As well, the Cleveland Browns added to their top pick by acquiring the No. 4 selection from the Houston Texans.
Those offseason deals have fueled +225 odds of a top-five pick getting dealt on Draft Day.