Back in mid-August, I wrote my 2012 NFL Rookie of the Year props preview story, and, to no surprise, No. 1 overall pick Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts was the 5/2 favorite at Bovada. Well, the site has released an updated list of Offensive Rookie of the Year odds heading into Week 6, and Luck is again the favorite at 5/4, but he’s joined there by Washington QB Robert Griffin III.
I liked RG3 back in August when he was at 7/2 because I thought he had to more to work with on a better team and that Griffin was already arguably one of the five most popular players in the NFL. In fact, Griffin’s jersey is the No. 2 seller in the NFL so far this year, behind only Peyton Manning. That’s pretty impressive for a rookie (although Tim Tebow did it – he’s currently No. 3 this year).
Now I can see why Luck and Griffin are deadlocked. RG3 certainly got off to the better start. He had the best debut by a quarterback in NFL history in leading a Week 1 upset of the Saints, with the former Heisman winner completing better than 73 percent of his passes for 320 yards, two touchdowns, no picks and an NFL-high 139.9 rating that week. Passing-wise, Griffin has tailed off, with just two touchdown passes since (and one pick). His rating hasn’t come close to his Week 1 number. RG3 has been terrific rushing, with four scores on the ground since the opener. Currently Griffin is No. 6 in the NFL in QB rating (101.0) and tied for the league low with that one interception.
Certainly one thing to be concerned about with Griffin is his concussion history. He reportedly suffered at least one while at Baylor and suffered another in last week’s win over Atlanta when he had to leave the game early. Thus, that hampered his stats in that game. Griffin has been practicing this week and all indications are he will play vs. the Vikings. But if he gets another concussion, he could be done for weeks – and those players who have gotten a few are more likely to get another.
Luck (who has played one fewer game than Griffin) started off slowly, throwing three picks and completing barely 50 percent of his passes in an opening blowout loss to the Bears. Obviously, in fairness, Luck had to play a way better defense than Griffin did in Week 1. Luck has been better since, and he had his signature game so far by throwing for a career-high 362 yards last week in leading the Colts’ rally from 21-3 down to shock Green Bay. He threw for two scores and rushed for one. Overall, Luck’s rating is 25th in the NFL (77.1), and he has thrown four more interceptions than Grifffin but also three more touchdowns.
Bovada offers three other betting options for OFOY: Washington tailback Alfred Morris (7/2), Browns running back Trent Richardson (10/1) and Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein (50/1). It would be great if Zuerlein won the award, as no kicker ever has. He’s tied for seventh in the NFL in scoring with 46 points and hasn’t missed a kick yet: 13-for-13 on field goals and 7-for-7 on extra points. Zuerlein has four field goals of 50-plus yards, and on Sept. 30 he became the first player in NFL history to make one of at least 50 and 60 yards in the same game. But it’s pretty evident either Luck or RG3 will win this award – stick with Griffin.
Meanwhile, I wrote in early September on the Bovada odds for the first NFL head coach to be fired. Arizona’s Ken Whisenhunt was the 3/1 favorite then, but he’s an early leader for NFL Coach of the Year so far. The new overwhelming favorite at 2/3 is Buffalo’s Chan Gailey, who wasn’t an option to start the year. I can’t argue against him being the first goner.
The Bills (2-3) clearly are going to extend the NFL’s longest playoff drought barring a miracle – they have been outscored 97-31 the past two games. Last week, the 49ers (not exactly an offensive juggernaut) became the first team in NFL history to have at least 300 yards passing and rushing in the same game against that Buffalo defense. The week before that, the Bills allowed 580 total yards in a loss to New England, in which the Pats scored 45 second-half points. I’m surprised defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt has a job – but it was Gailey who chose him.
Perhaps the only guy fired before Gailey will be Cleveland’s Pat Shurmur, who is the 7/4 second-favorite (he was 4/1 in the preseason). The Browns are the NFL’s only winless team (they lost to Buffalo) and have dropped 11 straight dating to last season. The one thing that might save Shurmur is that Cleveland has two winnable games up next: Sunday vs. Cincinnati and Week 7 at the Colts. If the Browns don’t win by then, they probably won’t have a realistic shot until Week 13 at Oakland or Week 14 when Kansas City visits Cleveland.
The other current betting options for first coach fired are the Jets’ Rex Ryan (7/1), Chiefs’ Romeo Crennel (15/2), Titans’ Mike Munchak (10/1) and Eagles’ Andy Reid (15/1). There’s also a prop on whether Ryan is the Jets’ coach in Week 17, with “yes” at even money and “no” at -140.
Go with Gailey on this prop as the Bills are on a bye in Week 8 and could can him them. By comparison, the Browns’ bye is Week 10. I do think Ryan is the coach in Week 17, but I wouldn’t wager on him being on the Jets’ sideline come Week 1 next season.
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