Which Saints QB Will Start Week 1? Odds For Jameis Winston vs. Taysom Hill

Which Saints QB Will Start Week 1? Odds For Jameis Winston vs. Taysom Hill article feature image

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images. Pictured: Taysom Hill, Jameis Winston

Saints Week 1 Starting QB Odds

Jameis Winston-200
Taysom Hill+145
Ian Book+3300
Odds as of May 25 and via DraftKings.

The contest to fill Drew Brees' big shoes in the Big Easy is underway.

The Saints knew replacing Brees, who announced his retirement in March, would be no easy task — the 42-year-old earned Super Bowl MVP honors, one Super Bowl ring, one first-team All-Pro nomination and 13 Pro Bowl nominations over the course of a 20-year NFL career. He made 12 starts in 2020 and completed 70.5% of his passes for 2,942 yards, 24 touchdowns and six interceptions. 

The current favorite to take the Saints' first snap under center in Week 1 is former Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston at -200 odds (66.7% implied probability). The 27-year-old is a former Heisman Trophy winner, BCS national champion and 2015 No. 1 overall pick. He earned Pro Bowl honors in 2015 and led the NFL in passing yards in 2019.

Winston joined the Saints to back up Brees in 2020 via a one-year deal worth $1.1 million, then re-signed in March on another one-year deal worth $12 million. He attempted just 11 passes last season and made six completions for 75 yards, zero touchdowns and zero interceptions. The Florida State product completed 60.6% of his passes for 5,109 yards, 33 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in his final season as a starter for the Buccaneers in 2019.

Winston will compete for the starting role against offensive gadget player Taysom Hill, who has the second-shortest odds at +145 (40.82%). Hill, 30, is a former undrafted free agent from Brigham Young University who is known for taking snaps at quarterback, tight end, receiver and running back. He was briefly a member of the Packers' practice squad in 2017 and has been with the Saints ever since.

Chris Graythen/Getty Images. Pictured: Taysom Hill.

“I definitely view myself as a franchise quarterback,” Hill told the Associated Press’ Rob Maaddi ahead of the Super Bowl at the end of the 2019 season.

Prior to this past season, Hill had attempted just 13 passes over two years in the NFL for 119 yards, zero touchdowns and one interception. He appeared in all 16 games in 2020 lining up in a variety of positions and completing 72.7% of his passes for 928 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions.

Hill signed a four-year, $140 million deal (three years of which are voidable) in March moments after Brees' retirement announcement, which would seem to indicate the team's continued commitment to their Swiss Army Knife player.

Last on the list is Ian Book with the shortest odds at +3300 (2.94%). Book, 23, was selected in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft from Notre Dame. He posted a 63.8% completion rate for 8,948 yards, 72 touchdowns and 20 interceptions over four seasons for the Fighting Irish.

Head coach Sean Payton clearly likes Hill, but whether Hill can develop into a true pocket passer at nearly 31 years old remains to be seen. Winston, on the other hand, is a natural (albeit flawed) passer who has demonstrated some success as a starter in the NFL.

"I went from being the No. 1 draft pick to everybody laughing at me. But guess what? I'm about that business," Winston said in April via Logan B. Robinson of TheNoleGameDay.com. "I'm outworking everyone at my position."

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