NFL draft betting: Quarterback total in 1st round?

FILE - Liberty quarterback Malik Willis runs a drill during the NFL football scouting combine, ...

Quarterbacks have dominated the NFL draft, going No. 1 overall in 18 of the last 24 years, including the last four.

Four or more QBs have been selected in the first round in four of the last five drafts. But oddsmakers expect that trend to end this week.

The over-under at Boyd Gaming for QBs drafted in the first round is 3½ and the under is a heavy -300 favorite after sitting at -175 last week.

The total is three at Station Casinos, where the over is -140 and the under is +110.

“I still think it’s going to be three,” Red Rock Resort sportsbook director Chuck Esposito said. “You look at this class and there doesn’t seem to be those dominant, game-changing quarterbacks, at least on the surface.

“I think (Malik) Willis and Kenny Pickett are for sure going in the first round but after that I’m just not sure.”

Liberty’s Willis is the -150 favorite at Caesars Sportsbook to be the first signal-caller selected. Pittsburgh’s Pickett is the +140 second choice.

After those two, the odds soar to 15-1 at Station for Mississippi’s Matt Corral, 20-1 for North Carolina’s Sam Howell and 25-1 for Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder.

Most mock drafts project three QBs going in the first round, with the Detroit Lions taking either Ridder or Corral with the No. 32 pick.

“But both guys have a lot of question marks,” Esposito said. “If I have to say two or four, I’d say two. But I think there’s a real shot to be three.”

Corral’s stock might take a hit after a recent report from Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer in which NFL coordinators called him “a big party guy” and “kind of a mess.”

“Most people think the five guys that came out last year (in the first round) were all better prospects that the four we’re talking about this year,” Esposito said. “But it is a quarterback-driven league and there are teams like the Panthers, Saints, Steelers and Seahawks that need long-term plans at quarterback right now.”

Adding to the intrigue is potential trades for veteran QBs Baker Mayfield and Jimmy Garoppolo.

Carolina has the No. 6 pick but doesn’t pick again until No. 137 in the fourth round.

“For my money, I clearly would make Carolina the favorite to take the first quarterback off the board,” Esposito said. “Either at six or they trade back and then take him.”

The Panthers are the +160 favorites at Station to be the team that drafts Pickett, followed by Pittsburgh (+350), New Orleans (4-1) and Seattle (+450).

Carolina also is the 3-1 favorite to draft Willis, followed by Detroit and Pittsburgh at +450.

At Caesars, Willis and Pickett’s draft position over-unders have both inched up from 9½ to 10½. But Willis is -110 to go over and under, while Pickett is a -185 favorite to go over and +165 to go under. Ridder is -120 to go over 31½ and even money to go under.

“It just takes one team taking a quarterback to shake up that whole dynamic,” Caesars assistant director of trading Adam Pullen said. “Say Willis goes, then whoever needs a quarterback will be thinking what do we have to do to get Pickett now or Ridder? So you might see a team trade up and take another one of those quarterbacks.

“A lot of it depends on how quick a position goes, especially quarterback since it’s the most important position. These guys can go anywhere. It’s a natural position where a bunch of crazy stuff can happen in the draft.”

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.