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NFL Draft Odds: Bridgewater favored

Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is the favorite to be the first name called in the 2014 NFL Draft.

In odds released by offshore sportsbook Bovada on Thursday Bridgewater is a 2/3 favorite (-150) to be selected by the Houston Texans, who earned the No. 1 pick after their quarterback situation deteriorated this past season.

South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is the second and only other individual choice at 3/2 (+150) to be taken by the Texans. “Any other player” can be wagered on at 6/1, but most mock drafts indicate that this a race between Bridgewater and Clowney.

The Texans entered last season with Super Bowl expectations that were built in some part around veteran starting quarterback Matt Schaub. Schaub hit the skids and was eventually replaced by undrafted rookie Case Keenum. The Texans lost all eight games with Keenum and their last 14 overall, so they have reason to be interested in a quarterback like Bridgewater who showed leadership and playmaking skills during his college career at Louisville.

Don’t count out Clowney, though. The No. 1 recruit coming out of high school, Clowney grew into a man-child at South Carolina. Most believe he would have been the No. 1 pick last season, but elected to return for another season with the Gamecocks. Adding Clowney opposite All-Pro defensive end J.J. Watt on the Texans’ defensive line would be a scary thought for opposing quarterbacks.

If the Texans do elect to target a quarterback, Central Florida’s Blake Bortles could be in the mix. As an underclassmen, Bortles led Central Florida to a BCS bowl upset over heavily-favored Baylor and shot up draft boards. Bortles has more of the prototypical size for an NFL quarterback than Bridgewater.

Of course, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel also will be one of the top quarterbacks taken. Bovada has set the over/under on Manziel’s draft position at 4.5. All four teams in the top four could have needs at quarterback - Houston, St. Louis, Jacksonville, and Cleveland.