The Cincinnati Bengals have only had one player win the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award in their long history. Second-round pick Carl Pickens achieved the feat back in 1992, but none of this franchise’s numerous top-five picks have been able to follow up on that win. We have seen Ki-Jana Carter, Akili Smith, Peter Warrick, Carson Palmer and even A.J. Green come up short, but the oddsmakers are bullish on the chances of this year’s No. 1 overall pick, Joe Burrow. Burrow is a sizable favorite to be named OROY, but is it worth betting on Burrow at these odds?
Odds to win 2020 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year
(Odds via SportsInsider.com)
All Other Rookies at +5000 or More
Burrow is coming off the most impressive season for a quarterback in college football history. There wasn’t much expected from Burrow after a lackluster junior campaign, but Joe Brady’s offensive scheme led to LSU’s offense smashing school records in 2019. Edwards-Helaire, Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase gave Burrow three incredible weapons to use in the Tigers’ offensive scheme, and he made the most of them in leading the Bayou Bengals to the national championship.
It’s wise to not buy into the Burrow hype though. He was seen as a mid-round pick at the end of the 2018 college football season, and Brady deserves a lot of the credit for his overhaul of LSU’s offense. Zac Taylor might be the most overmatched head coach in the NFL, and Cincinnati doesn’t have a lot of talent on the roster.
The odds on Edwards-Helaire to win Offensive Rookie of the Year have dropped considerably over the last week. Burrow’s college teammate was 10-1 to be named OROY when these odds were first released shortly after the conclusion of the 2020 NFL Draft, but bettors have jumped on the chance to bet on Edwards-Helaire. He has the potential to become Kansas City’s No. 1 running back in Week 1, and the rookie could post incredible numbers in the Chiefs’ offense. Edwards-Helaire showcased plenty of skill as a receiver out of the backfield during his time in Baton Rouge, and that should lead to plenty of chances for him to catch passes in space from Patrick Mahomes.
Indianapolis looked to address its running back issues by taking Taylor in the second-round of the 2020 NFL Draft, and he will be in one of the better situations for a rookie. His offensive line is one of the best in the league, and he will have an experienced quarterback at the helm in Philip Rivers. However, there are three big reasons to shy away from Taylor at this price. First, he has a fumbling problem, and that typically doesn’t go away in the NFL. Additionally, he was a high usage running back at Wisconsin with 926 carries in three years, and his running style makes injury concerns a real worry. Lastly, he wasn’t a great pass-catcher out of the backfield, so he will need time to adapt to that at the next level.
Tagovailoa is the most intriguing rookie in this class. He was the frontrunner to win the Heisman Trophy in 2018 and 2019 heading into the final month of the regular season, and he is the best quarterback Nick Saban has had by leaps and bounds. Tagovailoa showed a lot of promise during his time in Tuscaloosa, but two major injuries have led to many doubting whether he can stay healthy at the next level. Some are speculating that he may sit out the whole 2020 season, but if he’s cleared to play, the Dolphins may as well see what they have with Tagovailoa. This is a decent price to take a flier on the former Alabama signal caller.
There has been significant movement on Akers’ betting odds to win Offensive Rookie of the Year. Akers was 25-1 last week, but sharp bettors pounced on that line as he figures to be the feature back with the Rams. You can make a strong case that Akers was the most impressive running back in college football in 2018 and 2019 given the porous offensive line he was running behind, and he always ranked among the nation’s leaders in yards after contact. The value is largely out of Akers at this price though.
If you’re looking for a flier, Moss is a decent bet at 33-1 to win OROY. Moss was a star at Utah, and he will immediately challenge Devin Singletary as Buffalo’s top running back. Sean McDermott loves to run the ball, so Moss will see his fair share of action in 2020.
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