We are six weeks through the NFL season and a few rookies have broken out during that time. But which first-year player has a leg up on the competition and who should be the betting favorite to win the Rookie of the Year award?
To help guide you with our NFL Rookie of the Year predictions series, here are our 2022 rookie predictions and betting tips courtesy of BetMGM Sportsbook. All odds are current as of 1 PM ET on Thursday, October 21.
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NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Futures Odds
For the first time this season, a non-quarterback is favored to win the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award. However, all five quarterbacks drafted in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft are still in the conversation to take home the hardware.
Here are the 10 players with the best odds at BetMGM to win the award in 2021:
- Cincinnati Bengals WR Ja’Marr Chase (+250)
- New England Patriots QB Mac Jones (+400)
- Jacksonville Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence (+800)
- Chicago Bears QB Justin Fields (+800)
- Pittsburgh Steelers RB Najee Harris (+800)
- San Francisco 49ers QB Trey Lance (+900)
- New York Jets QB Zach Wilson (+2000)
- Philadelphia Eagles WR DeVonta Smith (+2000)
- Arizona Cardinals WR Rondale Moore (+2000)
- Atlanta Falcons TE Kyle Pitts (+2200)
Not listed is New York Giants WR Kadarius Toney, who has played extremely well over the last few weeks. His odds have increased to +3500, which is a major jump from where he was in Week 1. However, he is dealing with a foot injury that could keep him out for a while.
It’s also worth mentioning that Atlanta Falcons TE Kyle Pitts has seen his odds increase after a huge Week 5 performance in which he went over 100 receiving yard yards for the first time in his career and scored his first NFL touchdown. While his overall numbers aren’t fantastic, a few more games like that will put him squarely in the conversation.
Best NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Bets
Cincinnati Bengals WR Ja’Marr Chase (+250) at BetMGM
Just a few weeks ago, the odds for Ja’Marr Chase sat at +1400 and he was behind all of the quarterbacks from his draft class as well as a few other skill players. Chase has since lapped the competition, as he’s already hauled in five touchdowns and is averaging over 90 receiving yards per game this season.
Chase is on pace to put up even better numbers than former college teammate Justin Jefferson, who racked up 1,400 receiving yards as a rookie with the Minnesota Vikings last year. Chase has a shot at double-digit touchdowns and over 1,500 yards, which would break Bill Groman‘s 61-year-old record for most receiving yards (1,473) by a rookie wideout.
Chase’s candidacy is also buoyed by Cincinnati’s success, as the Bengals have emerged as legit playoff contenders with their 4-2 start. If Chase keeps putting up gaudy numbers and Cincy keeps winning, he’s a lock to win the Rookie of the Year award.
The Bengals’ schedule gets much more difficult over the next few months, however, including a huge AFC North matchup with the Baltimore Ravens in Week 7. If Chase stays productive in that game and Cincinnati wins, don’t be surprised if his odds rise even more.
Pittsburgh Steelers RB Najee Harris (+800) at BetMGM
After a rough few weeks to start the season, Najee Harris has become much more effective for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He’s now averaging over 100 scrimmage yards per game and has already scored four touchdowns.
More importantly, the Steelers have shaken off their slow start and are rounding into form. With Harris averaging over 22 touches per game, he’s getting plenty of opportunities to pile up counting stats.
Even at 8:1 odds, Harris is a strong bet to win Offensive Rookie of the Year given his incredible volume, especially if Pittsburgh makes a run at a playoff berth.
Jacksonville Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence (+800) at BetMGM
Rookie quarterbacks typically struggle in their first few starts, and Trevor Lawrence was no exception. The former first overall pick had a whopping nine turnovers over his first three games with more interceptions (seven) than touchdowns (five).
Lawrence has quickly figured things out, however, and is playing much better. He’s thrown only one interception in his last three games combined while scoring four touchdowns. He’s also been incredibly efficient, averaging 8.12 yards per passing attempt.
Lawrence still has more interceptions (eight) than passing touchdowns (seven) on the season, but it’s clear that he is rapidly progressing as a quarterback. If he can keep Jacksonville competitive and winning games, the voters will overlook his sluggish start in favor of the impact he’s making on the franchise.
Of all the quarterbacks eligible to win the ROY award, Lawrence is still the best bet by a mile because he’s the best passer and is doing more with less.
NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Prediction 2021
Najee Harris to Win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year (+800) at BetMGM
Chase has been more impressive so far and we know that quarterbacks tend to win this award more often than not. However, the numbers that Harris is likely to accumulate over the rest of the season make him a strong candidate.
Harris is on pace to accumulate nearly 1,800 yards from scrimmage and double-digit touchdowns. As good as his competition has been, that type of season from a rookie running back almost always wins the award, especially if Pittsburgh emerges as a postseason contender.