2024 NFL Draft Odds: How To Bet QB J.J. McCarthy

2024 NFL Draft Odds: How To Bet QB J.J. McCarthy article feature image

Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: J.J. McCarthy.

J.J. McCarthy is one of the most interesting NFL Draft prospects in recent memory.

By all accounts, a lot of teams are very high on him. Reports that are high on McCarthy's character aren't difficult to find, and his arm talent has been praised by many.

But McCarthy wasn't able to show much of that off at Michigan. The Wolverines won the national championship last year, but it was not on the back of McCarthy's arm. He led the offense, not a pass-first unit by any stretch, to an impressive unbeaten season.

So, what should we make of all of this? Well, two of our betting analysts broke down McCarthy and how they're looking to bet him on Thursday night.

J.J. McCarthy To Be Selected in the Top 5 (-150)

By: Mike Calabrese

On Feb. 15, the NFL Mock Draft Database — which aggregates over 1,100 mock drafts — slotted McCarthy 30th overall on average. The narrative at the time was that this was a three-quarterback class, and McCarthy’s limited collegiate production (just 22 attempts per game in ‘23) would ultimately leave him in a tier below Caleb Williams, Jayden Daniels and Drake Maye.

Even McCarthy-backers believed that his best-case scenario was to move into the middle of the first round if a quarterback-needy franchise took a liking to him.

But then McCarthy wowed scouts and executives at the combine, allegedly meeting with 11 separate teams. NFL.com's Tom Pelissero reported that an anonymous NFC assistant coach relayed the news that McCarthy had crushed the combine interviews, and there was mounting speculation that he “could be the third quarterback off the board.”

In the wake of Will Levis’ meteoric rise in the buildup to last year’s draft — and his draft-night slide — betting markets didn’t overreact to McCarthy’s draft stock improving.

That was until his Pro Day on March 23. Unlike the consensus top three passers in this class at the time, McCarthy had the opportunity to significantly up his draft stock with a stellar Pro Day.

NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah is well-connected in NFL circles and reported that “everybody that was at the Pro Day that I talked to said (McCarthy) threw it as well or better than any of the top quarterbacks."

The Pro Day buzz translated to him cracking the top 10 in mock drafts across the industry the following day, and since then, he’s moved his way into the top five.

In the past 36 hours, his odds of coming off the board before the sixth overall pick have settled into the -130 to -150 neighborhood.

A big reason for this is the worst-kept secret in the NFL. The Minnesota Vikings, according to NFL insiders like Adam Schefter, have already been testing the waters with both the Cardinals (fourth overall) and Chargers (fifth overall) in the hopes of moving up to draft McCarthy.

And the Vikings aren’t the only team that's kicking the tires on a possible top-five trade. The Denver Broncos, Las Vegas Raiders and New York Giants have all been linked to trade rumors in the past two weeks.

What this tells me is that both Arizona and L.A. have the chance to play teams against one another in the pursuit of a king’s ransom.

There’s also the possibility of McCarthy leapfrogging Daniels or Maye. While that remains unlikely, it does provide yet another way to cash this bet.

It’s unlikely we see a trade materialize until draft night, but I wouldn’t advocate waiting much longer than midday on Thursday to bet McCarthy will become a top-five pick (-150).

Once a team like Minnesota moves into the top five, it’s likely that books will pull that McCarthy market altogether.

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Exacta Market on McCarthy

By: Jacob Wayne

I fully agree with Calabrese’s analysis of McCarthy. The Vikings have somewhat of a framework in place for a trade-up that will likely occur on draft night. That trade-up will likely be with the Chargers at No. 5, which would make McCarthy a top-five pick.

Daniels is a heavy favorite to be the Commanders’ selection at No. 2, but you can find +380 odds on DraftKings on McCarthy to be selected by the Patriots. While Maye would be the presumptive favorite to be the third overall pick, it’s possible that New England’s front office prefers McCarthy.

However, I’m still not buying the smoke on Daniels. The Commanders have done an excellent job of keeping things close to the vest, and Maye is the second-ranked quarterback for industry experts, including Jeremiah and Dane Brugler.

I believe that creates some intriguing value in the exacta markets.

FanDuel is currently offering +1700 odds on the following draft order: 1. Williams, 2. Maye, 3. Daniels, 4. Marvin Harrison Jr., 5. McCarthy.

I’m also intrigued by the +2100 odds on the following: 1. Williams, 2. Daniels, 3. McCarthy, 4. Harrison, 5. Maye.

McCarthy finished his Michigan career with a 27-1 record as a starter, winning the Big Ten three times and leading the Wolverines to a national championship. He only turned 21 years old in January.

While he lacks the proven production of other top quarterbacks in this class, McCarthy displayed anticipation, arm strength, accuracy and poise under pressure, which are easy traits to buy into.

He’ll be off the board early on Thursday.

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