C.J. Stroud vs Bryce Young Prop Picks: Which Rookie QB Will Come Out on Top?

C.J. Stroud and Bryce Young have been linked throughout their entire collegiate careers and the narrative won't stop when these two QBs hit the big time. See who we believe is in for the better rookie season when we break down their 2023 betting markets.

Last Updated: Jun 5, 2023 12:54 PM ET Read Time: 4 min
CJ Stroud Houston Texans NFL
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Every generation of NFL quarterback is connected by his draft class. 

John Elway’s success will always haunt 1983 classmates Jim Kelly and Dan Marino. Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold will someday be answers to a trivia question about which QBs were drafted before Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson in 2018. And Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert are currently carving out their legacy against the rest of the 2020 draft pack.

Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud are the latest pro passers connected and contrasted due to their selection in the 2023 NFL Draft. 

Young, the 2021 Heisman Trophy winner out of Alabama, was selected No. 1 overall by the Carolina Panthers, who traded up with the Chicago Bears for the first overall pick. Stroud, an instant star at football powerhouse Ohio State, was one pick behind him, heading to the Houston Texans at No. 2.

Neither passer is tops in the 2023 Offensive Rookie of the Year odds, with Young priced at +500 behind Atlanta RB Bijan Robinson (+250) and Stroud the fourth overall choice at +750, behind Robinson, Young, and fellow first-year QB Anthony Richardson of Indianapolis (+600)

Both Young and Stroud will be under the microscope this summer, as training camps ramp up and battles for the starting job under center intensify.

NFL odds are throwing a little gas on the fire with head-to-head matchup odds for Young vs. Stroud, pitting their passing yards and passing touchdowns against each other in the NFL prop-betting markets.

Join me as I dig into both of those NFL bets and give my betting picks and predictions for Bryce Young vs. C.J. Stroud props below.

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Most passing yards

Player Odds
C.J. Stroud  -110
Bryce Young -120

Odds courtesy of DraftKings as of June 5, 2023

Bryce Young is a slight favorite to own the edge in passing yards over C.J. Stroud this upcoming season, despite the makeup of the Carolina Panthers. Before even getting on the field, Stroud has some tough competition vying for QB1 on the depth chart. 

Veteran passer Andy Dalton was brought in as a backup and mentor to Young after playing 14 games for New Orleans last season. Behind him, 2022 draft steal Matt Corral could make a go for the first-team reps if he can rebound from a Lisfranc foot injury that cost him his first year in the pros.

Stroud’s path to the top spot isn’t as jammed up on the Houston Texans, with reports out of OTA’s stating the rookie is way beyond incumbent QB Davis Mills. Texans QB coach Jerrod Johnson told the media Stroud is well ahead of schedule and he’s already taking regular reps with the first teamers. 

Now lets look at the quality of these teams. The Panthers nearly played their way into the postseason in 2022 with an underrated defense, complementing a lot of new pieces on offense after the team traded away RB Christian McCaffrey midway through last year and sent WR1 D.J. Moore to Chicago. 

While new head coach Frank Reich would love to push the pass, his new OC Thomas Brown is a former running backs/tight end coach, who will likely lean into the run to support the defense and protect Young from pressure. That’s one area an anonymous NFL personnel executive highlighted, calling out Young’s 5-foot-10, 200-pound frame, stating, “I worry that Bryce is going to get killed — like, smashed.” 

At 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, Stroud fits the preferred QB stature and will likely be throwing it — a lot — considering Houston was among the worst defenses in the NFL last season and isn’t expected to make leaps and bounds in 2023.

Mills amassed 3,118 yards passing in 15 games in 2022 and the Texans finished 14th in pass attempts per game, having to play from behind most of the season (threw on 60.79% of snaps). 

The AFC South doesn’t provide much pushback either, with Jacksonville (28th), Tennessee (24th), and Indianapolis (18th) on the back end of the passing defense DVOA ratings at Football Outsiders last season.

Pick: Stroud to have the most passing yards (-110 at DraftKings)

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Most passing touchdowns

Player Odds
C.J. Stroud  -110
Bryce Young -120

Odds courtesy of DraftKings as of June 5, 2023

In just two brief seasons in Columbus, Stroud comes out as one of the best QB products ever produced by the Buckeyes. He passed for 85 total TDs in 15 games in his two seasons as the starter at Ohio State.

Last season, the Texans pumped out 22 passing touchdowns and were No. 25 in red-zone passing DVOA, but also 32nd in rushing inside the 20-yard line. They just sucked something awful.

Houston does have a budding star in RB Dameon Pierce, who could take away some of the scoring touches, but Stroud has some towering targets to throw to in the end zone with Robert Woods, Nico Collins, Noah Brown, and new TE Dalton Schultz (all 6-foot or taller). 

Young finished with 80 career touchdowns in 36 games for the Crimson Tide, with 32 TD strikes in 12 games last season which was enough to convince Heisman voters to hand over the hardware.

Carolina scored 16 passing touchdowns last season (seven to departed WR D.J. Moore) under a revolving door of bad-to-meh QB play. The offense did show life in the final third of the schedule, with Darnold returning from injury and connecting for seven of those passing scores in his six games under center.

This year, Young has a pair of veteran WRs flanking him in Adam Thielen and D.J. Chark, as well as third-year wideout Terrace Marshall Jr. and journeyman TE Hayden Hurst. Running back Miles Sanders has a nose for the end zone with 11 rushing touchdowns for Philadelphia last season, so expect red-zone snaps to trend his way.

Defensive strength of schedule is very tit-for-tat between these teams, and while the Panthers go against defenses like Tampa Bay and Atlanta, which allowed the most and ninth most passing TDs last season, Houston gets Tennessee (fourth most), Jacksonville (12th most) and Indianapolis (15th most)  for six games — all of which hemorrhaged touchdowns through the air in 2022.

Pick: Stroud to have the most passing touchdowns (-110 at DraftKings)

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