Opening Line Odds: 2023 NFL Rookie of the Year


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Opening Line Odds: 2023 NFL Rookie of the Year

The 2023 NFL Draft recently concluded, and sportsbooks across the country didn’t waste any time getting their initial rookie futures out to the betting public. I recently broke down this year’s rookie class for fantasy purposes (RBs, WRs, QBs, and TEs), and it’s now time to see who are the best candidates to bring home the awards for Offensive Rookie of the Year and Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Wagering your hard-earned money in May and waiting eight to nine months for bets to be settled isn’t the easiest pill to swallow. Nevertheless, if we’re able to get the best of the odds before the markets fully mature in the future, it will make the wait until the end of the season worth it in the long run. Make sure to shop around for the best lines and odds at different sportsbooks if possible. You’re likely to see more volatility between books on NFL Futures in the off-season than you’ll see on game lines and player props during the season.

The first thing we should examine is who has won the Rookie of the Year award over the last decade to see what players we should be looking at this year.

Past Rookie of the Year Winners

YearOffensive Rookie of the YearDefensive Rookie of the Year
2022Garrett Wilson, WR, 10th pickSauce Gardner, CB, 4th pick
2021Ja’Marr Chase, WR, 5th pickMicah Parsons, LB, 12th pick
2020Justin Herbert, QB, 6thChase Young, EDGE, 2nd
2019Kyler Murray, QB, 1stNick Bosa, EDGE, 2nd
2018Saquon Barkley, RB, 2ndDarius Leonard, LB, 36th (R2)
2017Alvin Kamara, RB, 67th (R3)Marshon Lattimore, CB, 11th
2016Dak Prescott, QB, 135th (R4)Joey Bosa, EDGE, 3rd
2015Todd Gurley, RB, 10thMarcus Peters, CB, 18th
2014Odell Beckham, WR, 12thAaron Donald, DT, 13th
2013Eddie Lacy, RB, 61st (R2)Sheldon Richardson, DT, 13th

The NFL MVP is overwhelmingly dominated by quarterbacks just about every season, but the Offensive Rookie of the Year has been more of an equal-opportunity award between the three main skill positions. Running backs have won the award four times in the last 10 seasons, while quarterbacks and wide receivers have captured the honor three times. Garrett Wilson and Ja’Marr Chase have taken the home in back-to-back seasons for wide receivers, while running backs haven’t captured the honor since Saquon Barkley did it in 2018. The winner has come from inside the top-12 picks seven times in the last 10 years and from inside the top 10 in five straight seasons. Long shots have a better chance of winning the award on the offensive side of the ball, with Alvin Kamara (2017), Dak Prescott (2016), and Eddie Lacy (2013) each winning the OROY after being drafted outside of the top 60 picks.

The Defensive Rookie of the Year winner has come from inside the first round in nine of the last 10 years, with Darius Leonard being the lone exception in 2018. Narrowing it down even further, the DROY has come from inside the top-13 picks eight times in the last decade, so the high-end defensive prospects typically come through to win this award. Primary pass rushers dominated the award with three consecutive wins (Micah Parsons, Chase Young, and Nick Bosa) in 2019-21 before Sauce Gardner broke the streak last season, which was the third time in the last eight years that a defensive back won DROY.

Now that we’ve looked back for some clues about what players we should be focusing our attention on, let’s spin it forward to see if we can find some value in these rookie futures.

Offensive Rookie of the Year

Offensive Rookie of the Year odds are courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook as of May 3.

Offensive Rookie of the Year Odds
Bijan Robinson (Atl) +300Bryce Young (Car) +460Anthony Richardson (Ind) +700
C.J. Stroud (Hou) +700Jaxon Smith-Njigba (Sea) +900Jahmyr Gibbs (Det) +900
Jordan Addison (Min) +1400Quenti Johnston (LAC) +1600Zay Flowers (Bal) +2000
Will Levis (Ten) +2500Zach Charbonnet (Sea) +3000Jayli Hyatt (NYG) +3000
Roschon Johnson (Chi) +3500Tyjae Spears (Ten) +3500Devon Achane (Mia) +3500
Rashee Rice (KC) +4000Dalton Kincaid (Buf) +4000Chase Brown (Cin) +4000
Jonathan Mingo (Car) +4000Hendon Hooker (Det) +5000Cedric Tillman (Cle) +5000
Israel Abanikanda (NYJ) +5000Tank Bigsby (Jax) +6000Sam LaPorta (Det) +6000
Josh Downs (Ind) +6000Michael Mayer (LV) +6000Tyler Scott (Chi) +6000
Kendre Miller (NO) +6000Zach Evans (LAR) +6000Jayden Reed (GB) +8000
Deuce Vaughn (Dal) +8000Charlie Jones (Cin) +8000Luke Musgrave (+10000)
Trey Palmer (TB) +10000Marvin Mims (Den) +10000Darnell Washington (Pit) +1000
Evan Hull (Ind) +10000Eric Gray (NYG) +10000Luke Schoonmaker (Dal) +10000
Stetson Benett (LAR) +10000Demario Douglas (NE) +10000Kayshon Boutte (NE) +10000

Brolley’s Bets

Anthony Richardson (Ind) to win Offensive Rookie of the Year (+900, DraftKings). Risk one unit to win nine units.

  • A top-10 pick has taken home the Offensive Rookie of the Year in five straight seasons, and a top-six selection has won it in four of those years. Richardson checks those boxes after the Colts chose him with the fourth overall pick in late April. Richardson left a lot to be desired in his one and only season as a starter at Florida, but I’m betting on what he could become after destroying the combine. New HC Shane Steichen helped Jalen Hurts to the NFL MVP runner-up in 2022 and Justin Herbert to rookie passing records in 2020. Richardson is the toughest project of Steichen’s career but he certainly has a lot to work with in the toolsy rookie QB. FanDuel has Richardson as the fourth favorite to lead all quarterbacks in rushing yards this season at +470 odds, behind only Justin Fields (+200), Lamar Jackson (+240), and Hurts (+350). It may not all come together for Richardson in Year 1, but I’m betting his +900 odds that he could challenge the rushing upside of OROY winners Cam Newton (706/14 rushing) and Robert Griffin (815/7) in 2011 and 12, respectively.

Dalton Kincaid (Buf) to win Offensive Rookie of the Year (+5000, BetMGM). Risk .2 units to win 10 units.

  • I’ll admit that wagering on a tight end could be a waste of funds, even with us making a small bet here because of Kincaid’s long-shot odds. A tight end has never won the OROY in the 56-year existence of the award, but Kincaid isn’t your typical TE, and he enters a unique situation, as well. He’ll have to compete with Dawson Knox for snaps and targets, but the Bills have a plan to use them together, with Kincaid playing as the team’s slot receiver when two TEs are on the field. Knox ran a generous 31.5 routes per game in Buffalo’s pass-heavy attack, which means Kincaid’s role could be bigger than expected in Year 1. FanDuel has the Utah TE as the sixth favorite to lead rookies in receiving yards at +1200 odds despite his TE label. Kincaid will be aided by playing on the national stage quite a bit on one of the league’s best teams with Josh Allen at quarterback.

Jonathan Mingo (Car) to win Offensive Rookie of the Year (+7500, Caesars). Risk .2 units to win 15 units.

  • Mingo will look to extend wide receivers’ OROY winning streak to three straight seasons after Ja’Marr Chase and Garrett Wilson took home the award in 2021-22. He landed in a perfect spot to quickly rise up the depth chart in a Carolina passing game with an exciting young QB in Bryce Young. Adam Thielen is heading into his 10th campaign having failed to hit 1000+ receiving yards in four straight seasons, and D.J. Chark is on another one-year deal because of his 19 missed games the last two seasons. Mingo has the athletic profile to be a stud at the next level — he posted a SPORQ score of 97.3 — but he has long odds of being OROY because of his lack of production at Mississippi. That puts him in the same boat as another Ole Miss receiver, D.K. Metcalf, in 2019. Mingo and Metcalf had similar SPORQ scores (97.3 vs. 99.7) and receiving yards (1207 vs. 1215) in their final 19 games at Mississippi. Metcalf ripped off 58/900/7 receiving to finish third in rookie receiving yards, and FanDuel has Mingo as the fifth favorite to lead rookies in receiving yards at +1200 odds.

Kendre Miller (NO) to win Offensive Rookie of the Year (+10000, Caesars). Risk .1 units to win 10 units.

  • A running back hasn’t won the OROY of the year since Saquon Barkley did it in 2018, but the position has had two players capture the award after being drafted outside the top 60 picks, like Miller was at 71st overall. One of those two winners could be the player Miller replaces in the lineup this season Alvin Kamara, who captured the honor as the 67th overall pick in 2017. Miller has less than a 1% chance of winning the award based on his long-shot odds, but I think they’re worth taking right now since they’d significantly improve if Kamara misses some or all of the 2023 season. He’s set to go to trial for a felony battery charge on July 31, which could result in one to five years in prison. The Saints are concerned enough with Kamara’s status to spend $8.2 million guaranteed on Jamaal Williams and to use a third-round pick on Miller in the draft. Miller appears to be blocked for the time being but his fortunes could change quickly later this summer. Let’s jump on these huge odds just in case they plummet in August/September if Kamara is facing an extended absence.

Defensive Rookie of the Year

Defensive Rookie of the Year odds are courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook as of May 3.

Defensive Rookie of the Year Odds
Will Anderson (Hou) +340Jalen Carter (Phi) +600Tyree Wilson (LV)+750
Christian Gonzalez (NE) +1100Devon Witherspoon (Sea) +1100Lukas Van Ness (GB) +1400
Emmanuel Forbes (Was) +1700Jack Campbell (Det) +1800Felix Anudike-Uzomah (KC) +1800
Deonte Banks (NYG) +2000Nolan Smith (Phi) +2200Brian Branch (Det) +2300
Calijah Kancey (TB) +2500Will McDonald (NYJ) +2500Drew Sanders (Den) +2500
Joey Porter Jr (Pit) +2500Myles Murphy (Cin) +2800Kelee Ringo (Phi) +3300
Keion White (NE) +3300B.J. Ojulari (Ari) +3300Nick Herbig (Pit) +3300
Trenton Simpson (Bal) +3500Daiyan Henley (LAC) +4000Bryan Bresee (NO) +4500
Cam Smith (Mia) +4500Julius Brents (Ind) +4500D.J. Turner (Cin) +4500
13 more at +5000 or longer

Brolley’s Bets

Devon Witherspoon (Sea) to win Defensive Rookie of the Year (+1100, FanDuel). Risk one unit to win 11 units.

  • The Defensive Rookie of the Year has been dominated by the top prospects in the draft, with the winner coming from inside the first 13 selections in nine of the last 10 years. CB Sauce Gardner, the fourth overall pick, won the award last season, and fifth-round CB Tariq Woolen finished third in last year’s DROY voting. I’m looking at Woolen’s new teammate, Witherspoon, as this year’s potential winner after the Seahawks created this dynamic CB tandem by selecting the Illinois prospect with the sixth overall pick. Witherspoon will play across from PFF’s 34th-graded CB out of 118 players at the position, which means he could get picked on some as a rookie. It isn’t a bad thing to have opposing QBs throwing at Witherspoon since it will give him more opportunities to rack up pass defenses and INTs. Brett Whitefield wrote in our Prospect Guide that no player in this year’s class had “better ball production,” which leads him to more opportunities for interceptions and incompletions. Witherspoon showed those ball skills with three INTs in 2022 and a whopping eight tackles for a loss in 2021.

Justin Varnes Favorite Defensive Rookie of the Year Bets

Jack Campbell (LB, Det) — +2500, Caesars

Joey Porter Jr. (CB, Pit) — +2500, FanDuel

Tom is a Senior Writer at Fantasy Points who specializes in fantasy and betting analysis. He’ll be helping you to navigate the waiver wire and manage your fantasy teams while also keeping our betting content robust all year long, especially during the season. Tom's Best Bets against the spread won at 64.3% clip last season and he owned the last undefeated team out of 3000 entries in Scott Fish Bowl 12.