After months of speculation, the trade finally happened. The Carolina Panthers have acquired former No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield from the Cleveland Browns.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network first reported that news and the terms of the deal. The Panthers are sending a conditional fifth-round pick to Cleveland. According to Rapoport, that pick can turn into a fourth-round selection in 2024 based on playing time.
One of the reasons for the holdup on the deal was the financial part of the equation, as the Browns were scheduled to pay Mayfield $18.5 million in 2022. But the Panthers agreed to take on $5 million of his base salary and Mayfield agreed to take a $3.5 million pay cut.
What really matters, though, is that Mayfield is now with the Panthers and guess what? He will get a chance to face his former team in Week 1 when the Panthers host the Browns.
So how much will the trade of Baker Mayfield help the Panthers for fans interested in Carolina sports betting during the upcoming season? And does this make them a dark horse playoff contender in the NFC?
Well, based on the updated odds on sports betting apps, the answer to both of those questions would appear to be no.
Online betting is not legal in North Carolina. Two recent bills that would have changed that cleared some hurdles late in June, but the movement eventually was thwarted.
Still, it’s Carolina’s NFL team, and it’s Baker Mayfield, so you have to look at the odds.
Here is a look at the Panthers’ Odds to win the NFC, according to DraftKings Sportsbook.
2022 NFL Betting Odds To Win NFC
Panthers’ Odds Better but They Are Still Longshots
The trade for Mayfield has slightly increased the win total for the Panthers this season as DraftKings Sportsbook now has the Panthers at 6.5 wins. That is slightly up from earlier this offseason when most sportsbooks had the Panthers between 5.5 and 6 wins. But 6.5 wins appear to be the line that most sportsbooks are setting after the announcement of the trade.
Despite the addition of Mayfield, the Panthers still are a distant third in the NFC South to win the division. Currently, the DraftKings odds of taking the division stand at +1000, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-300) and the New Orleans Saints (+380) significantly higher.
Carolina did see their futures odds increase from +1200 to +1000 to win the division, but they are still +13000 to win the Super Bowl per DraftKings. That places them tied for 24th (tied with the New York Giants and Jacksonville Jaguars) in the 32-team NFL.
While this move makes the Panthers more competitive on paper, it doesn't move the needle too much regarding them making the playoffs. Their current odds to make the tournament sit at +450 on DraftKings, which is among the worst in the NFC. Only the Bears, Seahawks and Falcons have longer odds of making the playoffs than the Panthers this season.
How the Panthers Move Forward
The Panthers now have the No. 1 and No. 3 picks from the 2018 NFL Draft on their roster with quarterbacks Mayfield and Sam Darnold. The expectation is that Mayfield will be the team’s Week 1 starter but expect the Panthers to have a full-blown quarterback competition this summer and through the preseason.
The Panthers do not have an updated depth chart on their website but ESPN has taken the liberty to move Mayfield to the top on its site:
1st: Baker Mayfield
2nd: Sam Darnold
3rd: Matt Corral
4th: P.J. Walker
Through four years, Mayfield has been the better quarterback, throwing for 92 touchdowns and 56 interceptions. However, his record as a starting quarterback is just a shade under .500, as he went 29-30 in 59 starts with the Cleveland Browns. Both Mayfield and Darnold are scheduled to be free agents after the 2022 season, but the Panthers did add Corral in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft as a potential long-term option.