The odds of the Bengals selecting Joe Burrow with the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft will probably only increase from now until April. The runaway Heisman trophy winner led LSU to a 42-25 route over Clemson in the College Football National Championship Game Monday, throwing for 463 yards and five touchdowns. For good measure, the Ohio native also rushed for 58 yards and scored a sixth touchdown on the ground.
In other words, it was a downright dominant performance, and cemented Burrow’s status as the top prospect in the upcoming draft. Last month, Oddsshark put Burrow’s odds as the No. 1 pick at -225, and he only helped his cause Monday. With the QB-needy Bengals set to pick at the top of the draft, Burrow seems to be the most predictable No. 1 selection since the Colts took Andrew Luck No. 1 overall in 2012. (For what it’s worth, one sports betting website, The Lines, currently places the odds of Burrow getting selected as the top pick at -1150.)
Conventional wisdom says it’s not wise to bet the money line on such a heavy favorite. The risk is far greater than the reward. In most cases — like an actual game — that’s true. The variables that come into play during sporting events are too great to ignore.
But the NFL Draft is not an actual game. Unless Burrow suffers a catastrophic injury between now and April 23, wagering on him is an easy way to cash in at least $100 — if not more. Sure, you will probably be ridden with anxiety from the time Roger Goodell announces the Bengals are on the clock and until their pick is announced, but it’s a small price to pay for (basically) guaranteed cash.
Betting on the heavy favorites will not make you rich, of course, but there’s nothing wrong with winning when you can— provided you have enough money in your bank account to wager the line.
The 2-14 Bengals desperately need a quarterback. Andy Dalton is a free agent and Ryan Finley was abysmal in his three starts last season. With ex-quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor in charge, it is a certainty the Bengals will select a pass-thrower, and not go off the board for either defensive end Chase Young or offensive tackle Andrew Thomas.
While Cincinnati will work with Oregon QB Justin Herbert at the Senior Bowl, Burrow is undoubtedly the best QB in the class. He threw 60 touchdowns this season and completed 76.3 percent of his passes. The ex-Ohio State property was peppering his pass-catchers with perfect throws all night Monday, with Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson combining for 327 receiving yards. Tight end Thaddeus Moss caught two touchdowns as well, making his Hall of Fame daddy proud.
If Tua Tagovailoa had not suffered a devastating hip injury in November, perhaps the draft conversation around Burrow, who transferred to LSU from Ohio State just two years ago, would be different. But the uncertainty surrounding Tagovailoa’s health means he’s projecting to fall.
It is impossible to enter the NFL Draft on a bigger upswing than Burrows, and the odds will reflect that. Even though it may feel crazy to wager more than $1,000 for the reward of winning $100, view the bet as monopoly money. Burrow is going No. 1 overall. It is one of the few assurances left in the world.