Strategizing to Bet the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year

If you are going to bet on the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, you would be best off putting together a strategy that works. If you bet this market just for fun, you might as well go light your money on fire. The top offensive rookie plays one of three positions and has a few specific qualities. We reveal those here.

Key Points

– Betting the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year is all about timing and narrowing the field.

– Winners of this award come from one of three positions.

The Pool of NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Candidates

Make sure the player you bet on is a wide receiver, a running back, or a quarterback when putting a wager on the NFL Offensive ROTY. Additionally, it is advantageous if the player plays in around 15 to 16 games each season. That way, the player can compile the kinds of stats that garner season-ending honors.

Keep in mind that in the history of NFL individual awards, the offensive ROTY has never gone to an offensive lineman or tight end. 

Defining the Winner

According to its criteria, the best offensive first-year player in the National Football League receives the Associated Press NFL Rookie of the Year Award each season.

The voters’ definition is more along the lines of: the rookie quarterback, running back, or wide receiver who posts the best statistical season. Winners usually have a statistical season that doesn’t look like it came from a rookie.

In other words, rookies without impressive stats do not receive this honor.

Voting for the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year

Voting is open to the 50 Associated Press journalists who cover the NFL. There are only 50 votes altogether, and each voter chooses one participant to win.

Voting happens following the last game of the regular season. Normally, between two and five players receive votes. The winner of those two to five is typically quite clear-cut. Rarely is there a controversy over who ought to win. 


Past ROTY Winners

The NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year was essentially a running back-only award until the early 2000s.Since then, rookie quarterbacks have played earlier in their first year. They have now taken home nine of the previous 20 ROTY trophies. Running backs and wide outs have won the other 11.

Both of the last two winners were receivers. More receivers are being selected earlier in the draft as a result of increased passing by teams. Many of them are playing early and they are clearly prepared for the NFL. In the previous two seasons, the best offensive rookie went to  WRs Ja’Marr Chase and Garrett Wilson. 

Justin Herbert started his rookie season at 30-1 odds because he wasn’t the Week 1 starter. Herbert then filled in for the injured Tyrod Taylor in Week 2. He had a fantastic season, and won the ROTY.

The fact that Odell Beckham Jr. missed the first four games in 2014 caused his value to decline. He eventually won the award. The point here is that in order to get longshot prices, you might have to wager on a person taking someone else’s job before they become a starter. 

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Strong Storylines Help 

A ROTY candidate’s positive story is a plus, however it’s not required. A tale or series of stories about a player may be promoted by the media and may be highly intriguing. However, the main factor in determining who gets the ROTY award is never the story.

As an illustration, consider Mac Jones of New England. His stats (67.6%, 3,810 yards, 22 TDs, and 13 INTs) weren’t spectacular, but they were adequate. 

Of all the positions, quarterbacks unquestionably require the most narrative. Statistics-wise, Mac Jones had a decent year in 2021 (67.6%, 3,801 yards, 22 TDs, 13 INTs). He did, though, challenge Chase for the ROTY award due to his “story.”

Jones was replacing the greatest quarterback to ever play (Tom Brady) in a renowned organization (the Patriots). He proved to be the best rookie quarterback in a class that was highly anticipated. His Patriots performed considerably better than predicted and Jones was partly responsible for that. That’s what helped him in his campaign for the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.

By comparison, Najee Harris, a rookie running back for Pittsburgh, placed fourth in the NFL in rushing with 1,200 yards and seven touchdowns. He didn’t really have a story and received zero votes for the award.

The Numbers

There are a number of factors to consider when betting during the NFL season. Numbers are what actually count when betting on the ROTY. Raw data is crucial. Actual passing or rushing yards are significantly more valuable than other metrics like yards per carry or yards per attempt. Running backs and wide receivers often need 1,300 yards or more to be considered for the ROTY.

The statistical seasons of good prospects must be especially strong and give the sense that they are not amateurs. A player cannot play for the first time in Week 9 or miss a lot of games due to an injury and expect to win this thing.

Think about these numbers. Nine ROTY winners have participated in at least 15 games since 2010. Twenty-eight of the 39 players who received votes for the ROTY since 2010 have played in every game of their first season. 

Guys that have the big stats are the guys who start playing early and don’t miss games because of injury. It’s that simple.

The Team

The ROTY has played on a team that has averaged 7.9 wins since 2010. Some (Saquon Barkley, 3-13) were on truly bad teams, while others (Dak Prescott, 13-3) were on really good ones. 

The team doesn’t matter as much as the statistics. Given that terrible teams frequently select towards the top of the draft, this should make sense. Teams take the best quarterbacks early in the draft. They draft them to play early as well. That’s how they end up with great numbers at the end of their first season.

In the end, what team they play for isn’t all that important. It’s the numbers that matter.

The Draft & The NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year

Twelve of the past 20 ROTY winners were chosen in the first 10 picks in their draft. Players who are chosen highly usually have more opportunities to play early.  

Running back is the only position where non-first-round picks have won. Although they have earned a few votes, offensive linemen have never taken home the prize. There have been six votes for offensive linemen cast since 2010.

Victories for the quarterback matter when the vote is close. Despite Ezekiel Elliott having the second-best rookie running back season of all time in 2016, Dak Prescott won the ROTY award. He threw just four interceptions and led the Cowboys to a 13-3 record.