Jayden Daniels vs Drake Maye: Odds Fluctuating for NFL Draft No. 2 Pick

Jayden Daniels vs Drake Maye: Odds Fluctuating for NFL Draft No. 2 Pick article feature image

(Photos: Getty Images) Pictured: Jayden Daniels (left) and Drake Maye (right).

Jayden Daniels has been the overwhelming favorite to be the second overall pick in the upcoming 2024 NFL Draft for weeks. However, with less than a week to draft night, we’ve seen a significant shift in the betting markets. The Washington Commanders are clearly in the quarterback market, but could their choice be North Carolina’s Drake Maye over LSU’s Daniels?

Betting Markets Fluctuate

Daniels had climbed as high as -330 to be the No. 2 pick on Wednesday, but his odds dropped as low as -115 on Thursday. In turn, Maye has fallen from as high as +270 to be the No. 2 pick back to around even money.

There has been a slight move back towards Daniels in the market, with his odds currently priced at -135 on DraftKings for the No. 2 pick.

These markets will continue to fluctuate leading up to the NFL Draft, but following the breadcrumbs of recent reporting can help you understand why the odds have shifted so drastically.

I've been banging the table for Drake Maye to be the No. 2 pick at plus money for weeks. He climbed as high as +270 earlier today and is down to -105 on DraftKings now.

I have no inside sources, but the odds never made sense to me with Daniels as such a heavy favorite. pic.twitter.com/WlnW732nfc

— Jacob Wayne (@wayne_sports_) April 19, 2024

Adam Schefter’s Reporting

ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter has consistently reported that Daniels will likely be Washington’s pick at No. 2 overall. On April 12, Schefter appeared on the SB Nation Hogs Haven podcast, telling Commanders fans it’s safe to start ordering Jayden Daniels jerseys. In talking to different teams and personnel, Schefter also said, “the prevailing sentiment is that Jayden Daniels is the second-best quarterback in this draft.”

“I think you can go get those Jayden Daniels jerseys.” – Adam Schefter on the @TraporDive Commanders podcast

Daniels is -170 to be the No. 2 pick @FDSportsbook 👀 pic.twitter.com/gwUw5DgRDG

— Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) April 13, 2024

However, Schefter has continually made it clear that nobody from Washington has indicated to him that Daniels will be the selection. He has simply gathered that information from talking to other teams. On Friday, Schefter appeared on the Pat McAfee show, where he said that Daniels has “had an interest in being other places” since the outset of the draft process, further clouding the current market.

Washington’s Bizarre Joint Quarterback Visit

Earlier this week, Washington hosted all four of Daniels, Maye, J.J. McCarthy and Michael Penix Jr. for top-30 visits simultaneously, per Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer. The idea was reportedly to see how each player interacted with their peers and engaged in competition, but all involved parties didn’t receive it well.

Ron Butler of Agency 1 Sports quote tweeted a Pro Football Talk clip in which Mike Florio bashed the Commanders for bringing in all four quarterbacks, asking why the team would “dilute [its] ability to get the maximum time” by evaluating four players simultaneously.

Schefter reported that Daniels’ agent “didn’t seem particularly pleased with the process,” as he expected it to be a visit for just Daniels. Ira Turner, a fellow Agency 1 representative, later called Schefter’s report “fake news” on X.

What Does it All Mean?

Probably nothing. We’re in peak silly season of the pre-draft process, and every minor report from respected media members will affect the volatile NFL Draft betting markets. Around this time last year, Kentucky quarterback Will Levis was the favorite to be the No. 2 pick in the draft. He fell to the No. 33 pick in the second round.

Schefter can talk to hundreds of scouts and team personnel members, but the only opinion that truly matters is that of the Commanders’ general manager, Adam Peters. The media scrap between Schefter and Daniels’ agents will likely not affect his draft standing.

Analyzing the Prospects

For weeks, I’ve been pounding the table that Maye was worth a bet at 2-1 odds or better. That value is gone now with the recent odds movement. I have Maye ranked as my QB2 in this class, but I will admit he’s not a perfect prospect.

According to Sports Info Solutions, Maye ranked 101st out of 103 qualified quarterbacks in on-target throw rate on throws of 10-19 yards downfield. In other words, his accuracy needs much work on intermediate throws. The arm talent is evident on film, though, and he showcases tremendous velocity on downfield throws. As he continues to clean up his mechanics and decision-making, he has the upside to be a true franchise signal-caller.

Daniels is further along his developmental arc and will turn 24 during his rookie season. The LSU product is more polished than Maye and offers dynamic mobility. However, Daniels had just one season of high-level production with a late breakout, and his arm strength lags behind Maye. I also have concerns about Daniels’ poise under pressure and ability to make full-field reads with anticipation.

By all accounts, Washington’s new ownership structure will be patient. Maye will need more time to get up to speed than Daniels, but I’d argue the North Carolina product offers a superior upside.

Where Does the Betting Value Lie?

If you bet Maye at 2-1 odds or better, as I did, I’d recommend looking for opportunities to hedge your bet and hopefully corner the market. I’m looking for -100 odds or better on Daniels for a hedge opportunity; you can lock in 0.5 units of profit if you have 2-1 odds on Maye.

The best odds on Daniels now are -135 on DraftKings, and that’s not quite enough for me to hedge my Maye position. You can use the hedging calculator tool from Action to assess your positions.

If you aren’t currently invested in the market, I don’t see enough value in the current numbers to warrant a play. I’d wait to see if you can find Daniels closer to even money or Maye at +150 or better. These odds will continue to shift leading up to draft day, so don’t feel pressured to force a bet if you aren’t confident in a side.

I’d also recommend a flier on Daniels to be selected by the Raiders. If the Commanders go with Maye at No. 2, the Patriots could opt for McCarthy at No. 3 or trade down. Las Vegas has been repeatedly linked with Daniels, as head coach Antonio Pierce overlapped with Daniels at Arizona State. The Raiders are certainly in the quarterback market, with DraftKings offering +230 odds on their first position drafted to be a passer.

I locked in +1000 odds on Daniels to the Raiders a few weeks ago, but BetMGM currently offers +650, which is still playable for a small 0.25u bet.

Jayden Daniels said he'd be very excited if when his phone rings during the draft, if Antonio Pierce was on the other side of that. #Raiderspic.twitter.com/jJUgSayKGF

— Sanjit T. (@Sanjit__T) March 1, 2024

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