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Drake Maye poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected third overall by the New England Patriots during the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft. Maye is one of the many QBs we're breaking down the staring QB odds for.
Drake Maye poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected third overall by the New England Patriots during the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft. Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images via AFP.

As OTAs get underway in the NFL, many of the QB battles across the league are set to begin, and we're looking at the starting QB odds from our best NFL betting sites.

There's no more important position in sports than the quarterback. Every team across the NFL is looking for that franchise passer who can bring their team the glory of a championship.

Of course, the teams sitting atop the Super Bowl odds have all been lucky enough to find Pro Bowl players to lead their teams from under center. From the unquestioned top QB in the NFL, Patrick Mahomes, to the next great one, CJ Stroud, quarterbacks litter the top of the NFL MVP odds for a reason.

Yet there are still teams all over the league in search of that franchise savior that are willing to do whatever it takes to land one - whether that means bringing in a veteran who's done it before, or using a top draft pick on a prospect oozing with talent.

Here's our look at the starting QB odds ahead of the 2024-25 NFL season and our predictions for each QB battle (NFL odds from our best sports betting sites).

NFL starting QB odds

Market states: The QB who plays the first Week 1 snap is the winner of the starting QB battle.

(Odds via DraftKings)

TeamFavorite to startTop competition
Pittsburgh SteelersRussell Wilson (-700)Justin Fields (+450)
New England PatriotsJacoby Brissett (-250)Drake Maye (+190)
Minnesota VikingsSam Darnold (-140)J.J. McCarthy (+115)
Denver Broncos*Bo Nix (-425)Jarrett Stidham (+450)
Las Vegas RaidersGardner Minshew (-200)Aidan O'Connell (+140)
New York GiantsDaniel Jones (-425)Drew Lock (+275)
Seattle SeahawksGeno Smith (-600)Sam Howell (+390)

* Zach Wilson (+1000) also an option

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NFL starting QB predictions 

Pittsburgh Steelers: Russell Wilson vs. Justin Fields

The washed up future Hall of Famer vs. the young gun with untapped potential? This is easily the most interesting quarterback battle taking place this offseason. But is it really a battle? When Russell Wilson signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers, it was under the assumption he would be the starting QB.

While the addition of Justin Fields has made for interesting discourse, head coach Mike Tomlin said in March that Wilson is in "pole" position after a disappointing tenure with the Denver Broncos.

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Sure, playing the 25-year-old quarterback who's already proven to be one of the most electric runners at the position in NFL history would be the fun move, but Tomlin isn't here for fun.

He's one of the last true old school coaches in the league and doesn't even believe in starting highly drafted rookies in Week 1. Though Fields isn't a rookie, he's the raw, less experienced option. And despite Wilson's poor play the last two seasons, Tomlin will likely lean on the more veteran choice, especially with new offensive coordinator Arthur Smith calling plays.

While it wouldn't be a shock if Smith incorporates Fields into the offense as a runner, starting Week 1 seems like a long shot, and the best sportsbooks agree.

The odds imply an 87.50% probability Wilson starts Week 1 against the Atlanta Falcons, according to our odds calculator. Steelers Country, let's ride (or weld?).

Best odds: Russell Wilson (-700 via DraftKings)

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New England Patriots: Jacoby Brissett vs. Drake Maye

The highest drafted rookie quarterback that won't automatically be given the keys to the franchise, Drake Maye walks into a new era for the New England Patriots. Bill Belichick is gone, and Jerod Mayo will be calling the shots. Even with Belichick out, it seems more likely than not that Maye will start the season with the clipboard in his hand.

Unlike Caleb Williams with the Chicago Bears and Jayden Daniels with the Washington Commanders, two Offensive Rookie of the Year odds favorites, Maye has to compete with a capable veteran. Jacoby Brissett is one of the NFL's most reliable backups with 48 starts and 51 career TD passes.

Brissett also has the benefit of already having a grasp on the playbook, as he played for new offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt in Cleveland in 2022. That's a large part of the reason these odds imply a 71.43% probability he starts over Maye.

For as deliciously gifted as Maye is with his arm talent and mobility, he has a certain YOLO style of play that could hurt his chances early to start.

Another factor to consider is that Patriots de facto GM Eliot Wolf came up with the Green Bay Packers under his Hall of Fame father Ron Wolf. Green Bay has a long history of sitting and developing first-round QBs. Expect Maye to start at some point midseason - just not Week 1.

Best odds: Jacoby Brissett (-250 via DraftKings)

Minnesota Vikings: Sam Darnold vs. J.J. McCarthy

Kirk Cousins is off wearing chains for the Atlanta Falcons (and dealing with a first-round rookie QB of his own), while Sam Darnold tries to impress the Minnesota Vikings brass. Perhaps Darnold is part of a PSYOP launched by the U.S. Government for reasons unknown, as it's the only logical explanation as to why he keeps getting shots to start.

Football media simply can't quit this man, even though he's rarely shown that he's anything more than an average backup. That's why I think the smart play is betting on J.J. McCarthy to be the Vikings' Week 1 starter over Darnold.

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The -140 odds imply Darnold has a 58.33% probability of starting, but a $10 wager only pays out $17.14. Nobody should be that confident in Darnold to think that's a worthwhile bet. Of the 52 QBs that have played 500-plus plays since 2020, Sam Darnold ranks 47th in EPA per play. 

For as picked apart as McCarthy was during the pre-draft process, he's a perfect fit for head coach Kevin O'Connell. McCarthy excels off play-action and on boots, two staples of the Kyle Shanahan/Sean McVay offensive tree that O'Connell hails from.

If the knock on McCarthy is that he doesn't have enough experience because of how little Michigan threw the ball, then why delay him getting said experience? It was the same knock on Anthony Richardson out of Florida, and he started for the Indianapolis Colts in Week 1 last season.

Best odds: J.J McCarthy (+115 via DraftKings)

Denver Broncos: Bo Nix vs. Jarrett Stidham vs. Zach Wilson

This is objectively the funniest quarterback battle for a plethora of reasons. First of all, Sean Payton's ego is larger than Denver International Airport and he tried to claim he tricked the Vikings into trading up for McCarthy.

He then had it leaked to Adam Schefter that he "feels as strongly about Bo Nix as he did Mahomes," whom he apparently planned on drafting 11th overall in 2017. If that's really the case, there's no QB battle to even be had; Payton should've named Nix the starter the minute rookie camp began. 

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Regardless of how anybody feels about Nix, this is his job to lose because that's how Payton set it up. Jarrett Stidham has four starts and as many career interceptions as touchdowns (8), and Zach Wilson might only be in Denver to go to cougar bars with Payton.

It's actually ingenious by Payton to stick these two QBs next to Nix in practice, because it'll only make him look like the second coming of John Elway by comparison.

There's no way Payton is letting a journeyman backup or the worst starting QB in the NFL last season beat out his coveted rookie. The odds imply an 80.95% probability that Nix starts Week 1, and even that feels low.

Best odds: Bo Nix (-425 via DraftKings)

Las Vegas Raiders: Gardner Minshew vs. Aidan O'Connell

Despite the signing of a "Pro Bowl" QB" - which says more about the Pro Bowl voting process than it does the play of the jort king - I think it's pretty clear the Las Vegas Raiders are heading into the season with their eyes on whichever QB comes out on top of the 2025 NFL Draft odds (likely Carson Beck).

Gardner Minshew signed a two-year, $25 million deal to join the Raiders this offseason, and while that money theoretically gives him the edge against Aidan O'Connell, I'm not so sure about these odds.

With Antonio Pierce shedding the interim tag and taking over full-time, you have to imagine he has some major love for the rookie QB who helped him go 5-4 last season. No, O'Connell wasn't giving anybody flashbacks of Rich Gannon, but he was competent.

The fourth-round pick out of Purdue outplayed No. 1 pick Bryce Young and finished 23rd in EPA per play among QBs. Minshew wasn't much better at 21st and actually had a worse TD:INT ratio (1.6:1 vs. O'Connell's 1.7:1). 

The odds imply a 66.67% probability that the moustached man from Mississippi beats out O'Connell, but I really think Pierce has proven to be a loyal guy and he said in March that O'Connell "earned" the right to compete.

Best odds: Aidan O'Connell (+140 via DraftKings)

New York Giants: Daniel Jones vs. Drew Lock

A four-year, $160 million contract for Daniel Jones? No, it wasn't a fever dream, New York Giants fans. It's really what GM Joe Schoen gave Jones last offseason. It's barely been a year, and now Jones may have to battle with Drew Lock - the NFL QB whose most memorable moment might be rapping Jeezy on the sideline during a game.

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The fact that it's even remotely plausible that Lock starts over Jones in Week 1 says a lot about the direction the Giants are headed in, but unless injuries come into play, it seems unlikely. (Remember, Jones has dealt with multiple neck injuries and is coming off a torn ACL.)

While Jones threw just two TDs to six INTs last season and was 42nd in EPA per play among QBs who played 150-plus snaps, starting Lock over him would be admitting one of the biggest mistakes in recent NFL history. And nobody hates admitting mistakes more than NFL decision-makers.

Luckily, the Giants have an out after this season, but they still owe Jones $47.85 million for 2024. That alone should guarantee him the staring job for Week 1, at least. These -425 odds imply an 80.95% probability he'll start over Lock.

Best odds: Daniel Jones (-425 via DraftKings)

Seattle Seahawks: Geno Smith vs. Sam Howell

It's flat out ridiculous that this is even being considered a QB battle. I'm not sure why anyone would think Sam Howell would ever start over Geno Smith, but it's one of the funniest narratives in the NFL that this is an actual competition.

Over the last two seasons, Smith has thrown for 50 TDs to just 20 INTs while Howell threw 21 INTs last season alone. Stats never tell the whole story, but the analytics agree that this thing isn't even close.

Smith finished 14th in EPA per play and ninth in success rate last season while Howell was 26th and 24th, respectively. He's certainly a fun idea with his run-around-and-huck-it style, reminiscent of a young Ryan Fitzpatrick, but he's not starting over Smith.

New head coach Mike Macdonald has a roster capable of making the playoffs in his first season, and people really think he'd start the chaotic evil version of Baker Mayfield over a top-15 QB in the league? The odds imply an 85.71% probability Smith starts, and he almost certainly will.

Best odds: Geno Smith (-600 via DraftKings)

NFL betting odds pages

Here are our best NFL betting sites:

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