The conclusion of the NFL draft not only brings us one step closer to football season, but also betting odds for the 2019 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award.
BetOnline has No. 1 overall pick Kyler Murray as the current betting favorite to bring home the hardware.
Here’s a breakdown of Murray, the other favorites, a couple of longshots and a few bets to avoid:
Breaking down the the favorites
Arizona quarterback Kyler Murray (+225) is the heavy favorite to win this award, followed by four other primary contenders: Washington quarterback Dwayne Haskins (+700), Oakland running back Josh Jacobs (+900), Baltimore wide receiver Marquise Brown (+1000) and Kansas City WR Mecole Hardman (+1000).
None of the candidates in this group are flawless, but Murray is the favorite for a reason. He’s likely to be a day-one starter in arguably the most quarterback-friendly offense in the NFL. New head coach Kliff Kingsbury did a great job acquiring weapons for his new quarterback, drafting WR Andy Isabella, WR Hakeem Butler and tight end Caleb Wilson. The Cardinals also still have star running back David Johnson and veteran WR Larry Fitzgerald.
The other players in that top group can be had for a better price, but are significantly more flawed. Haskins’ offense isn’t explosive, and Washington could struggle out of the gates.
On paper, the receivers on this list are in good situations — but there are still red flags. Brown could be the focal point of the Ravens’ passing attack from day one, but can Lamar Jackson get him the ball down field? Hardman looks like Kansas City’ WR Tyreek Hill’s replacement, but will there be growing pains?
Perhaps the biggest concern for Brown and Hardman come in the recent history of this award. Since 2000, a receiver has won AP Rookie of the Year only three times: Odell Beckham Jr. in 2014, Percy Harvin in 2009 and Anquan Boldin in 2003. The Harvin model is the one to watch here — he won the award with only 925 scrimmage yards, but he averaged 12.3 yards per touch. But in that case, the rookie class was so bad that offensive tackle Michael Oher finished in second place.
Jacobs’ odds didn’t move after the news broke of Isaiah Crowell’s season-ending injury. While fantasy owners might get more touches for Jacobs, it doesn’t impact his Rookie of the Year campaign too much. Jalen Richard still figures to play a big role on passing downs. But at +900 and no obvious impediment to early playing time, Jacobs is the only other favorite worth taking a shot at in this range.
Here’s how the award breaks down by position since 2000:
Running backs: 9
Tight ends: 0
Looking further down the board, there aren’t many plausible longshots. Beyond Murray and Jacobs, this offensive skill position class lacks opportunity paired with system fits.
Most of the value down the board comes from the receiver position, so approach with caution. Patriots first round pick N’Keal Harry is solid value at +1600. It’s not hard to see him having a big year in New England’s offense, which lacks downfield passing targets. Deebo Samuel (+1600) and A.J. Brown (+2000) are also intriguing longshots with a lot of college production.
There’s not much to like at running back beyond Jacobs. Miles Sanders (+2000), Darrell Henderson (+2800) and Damien Harris (+3300) are all firmly buried on the depth chart or, at best, will be part of a running back by committee approach. Alvin Kamara won Rookie of the Year while sharing touches with Mark Ingram, but that was more outlier than rule. He led the entire league with 6.1 yards per rush and averaged over 10 yards per catch.
Fade the lost causes
There are a few names higher up on the board that are tough to imagine coming away with this award. Broncos quarterback Drew Lock (+1200) and Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (+1600) are prime examples, with each of their organizations claiming they won’t see the field much in 2019.
Lock is behind Joe Flacco, and the Broncos are much higher on the former Super Bowl MVP than the rest of the world seems to be. President of football operations John Elway reiterated his belief in Flacco after drafting Lock. Is it possible Lock overtakes Flacco by year’s end? Sure. But unless that transition happens before November, it will likely be too late for him to be a contender here.
Jones is in a worse situation. Even if he does supplant Eli Manning — something GM Dave Gettleman says wouldn’t happen for three more years — there’s no indication he would do anything other than hand the ball to Saquon Barkley. The Giants traded away Odell Beckham Jr., and are instead investing in Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram. Those two are solid players, but they’re not OBJ. Jones probably isn’t ready for the spotlight after throwing just 12 touchdown passes and seven interceptions during his redshirt junior year at Duke.
The tight ends on this board might be a worse bet than the backup quarterbacks mentioned above. A tight end hasn’t won this award since Mike Ditka did it in 1961. Since then, no rookie tight end has cleared the 1,000-yard threshold. Since 2000, Jeremy Shockey and Engram are the only two rookie TEs to surpass 700 yards. So while a bet on T.J. Hockenson (+1200), Noah Fant (+2000) or Irv Smith Jr. (+3300) might seem like good value, you’re better off investing somewhere else.
Here’s the full list of rookie of the year odds from BetOnline:
Kyler Murray +225
Dwayne Haskins +700
Josh Jacobs +900
Marquise Brown +1000
Mecole Hardman +1000
Drew Lock +1200
T.J. Hockenson +1200
Deebo Samuel +1600
N’Keal Harry +1600
Daniel Jones +1800
A.J. Brown +2000
D.K. Metcalf +2000
Miles Sanders +2000
Noah Fant +2000
Parris Campbell +2000
JJ Arcega Whiteside +2500
Darrell Henderson +2800
Damien Harris +3300
Irv Smith Jr. +3300
Will Grier +5000