2020 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Odds and Expert Betting Predictions
We are four games into the 2020-21 NFL season, and we’ve been treated to some excellent performances by some of the game’s great players. We’ve seen Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, and Josh Allen come flying out of the gates and stick their name in the early MVP discussion. We’ve seen great performances from players nobody has heard of until they score three touchdowns in a single game like Robert Tonyan did on Monday night against Atlanta. And lastly, we’ve seen some elite players like Michael Thomas, Saquon Barkley, Christian McCaffrey, Nick Chubb (to name a few) go down with injuries and rob NFL fans (and fantasy players) of special plays and performances. We never want to see anyone get injured, but with the 2020 rookie class performing the way it is through four weeks, we may be seeing the next batch of superstars in the making.
For those of you interested in getting a futures bet or two down on the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year, there are a few things you should know before doing so. For starters, quarterbacks, while under the spotlight, have only won the award 11 times since 1969. For a position that is under constant scrutiny when their team is underperforming, and one that takes all the glory when their team wins, you’d think they’d have more winners of this award than they do. The last quarterback to win the OROY was Kyler Murray (last season). However, prior to that, you have to go all the way back to 2012 when Robert Griffin III won it with Washington. Running backs have won it the most with five winners over the last six years, including co-champs in 2017 with Kareem Hunt and Alvin Kamara. Wide Receivers do get some love, but not since Odell Beckham Jr in 2014 has a wideout won this award.
This year, we have a class of offensive rookies that will be worthy winners should one of the top five odds on the odds board win the award. I’ll break down each of the top candidates and give you my thoughts on if they are worthy of laying down a bet on.
Joe Burrow, Quarterback, Cincinnati Bengals
Through four games, we’ve seen some great things and some not so great things out of last year’s No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft. Burrow, a rookie out of LSU, has led the Bengals to a 1-2-1 record where they beat the Jaguars, lost to the Browns and Chargers and tied the Eagles in a game they blew a late lead. Burrow has added some much-needed sizzle to a Bengals offense that was among the worst units last season. Burrow, while not ranking among the league leaders in offense categories, has still posted some good numbers such as 1,121 passing yards (10th), six touchdowns (T16) and has completed 65.5 percent of his passes. Those numbers include three-straight 300+ yards passing. And for a rookie QB playing in just four NFL games to date, that’s a solid completion percentage that will likely to continue to rise as the year goes along. So, is he worthy of favorite status? Based on the hype surrounding him coming into the season, I would say yes. The NFL loves to make certain players entering the draft the poster boy for the season. And barring an injury or an incredible stretch of games from the below candidates, I would say Burrow is likely on his way to winning OROY. I would still prefer to grab plus-money on Burrow. However, if he continues to play decent and keep the Bengals in ball games, this may be the cheapest number you get moving forward.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Running Back, Kansas City Chiefs
Burrows’ LSU teammate and fellow National Champion, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, is the early season choice to perhaps upset Burrow in the race for the OROY award. Helaire burst onto the scene last season at LSU with his versatility out of the backfield, and it only made sense that the Chiefs drafted him with the final pick in round one. Helaire adds that dimension that the Chiefs, and particularly Andy Reid, benefit from, and that’s quick and shifty playmakers who can run the ball or catch it out of the backfield. Helaire had a big debut in the Week 1 opener against Texans when he ran the ball 25 times for 138 yards and a touchdown. Many thought he was the next Kareem Hunt (who could forget his debut – 17 carries for 148 and a touchdown + five catches for 98 yards and two TD’s), but he has since cooled off and managed just 38, 64, and 64 rushing yards since. Game script definitely plays a huge part in Chiefs’ games, but it’s going to take a very impressive stretch of games to be able to leap Burrow in the race for the award. In an Andy Reid offense, with Patrick Mahomes under center, I’m not sure Helaire will see the volume needed to do so. No bet for me on Helaire.
Jonathan Taylor, Running Back, Indianapolis Colts
When I started this paragraph, I wanted to write that the OROY should go to a productive rookie on a winning team. Well, that doesn’t make too much sense seeing as how Burrow leads the way and the Bengals are unlikely to have a winning record this year. And if I had to choose between Helaire and Taylor, I’d choose the latter. Look, Taylor, the rookie out of Wisconsin, has been essentially thrust into the starting role via injury to Marlon Mack. Taylor has made a good start to his career, rushing for 250 yards on 65 attempts with two touchdowns. The Colts are my choice to win the AFC South (but at the very least get into the playoffs via wild card), and they are going to do that by utilizing their running game behind one of the better offensive lines, and not rely on Philip Rivers to throw the ball 40+ times a game. Taylor will see the volume needed to put together a really great stretch of games, and at +1200, he could be the steal of the odds board if Burrow falters over the coming weeks against good defenses like Baltimore, Indy, Tennessee, and Pittsburgh.
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