Ja’Marr Chase To Win Offensive Rookie of the Year? Bet Him At Plus Money While You Still Can

Ja’Marr Chase To Win Offensive Rookie of the Year? Bet Him At Plus Money While You Still Can article feature image

Rob Carr/Getty Images. Pictured: Bengals WR Ja’Marr Chase

  • Ja'Marr Chase is the clear favorite to win 2021 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year -- and you can still bet him at plus-money.
  • Our betting analyst makes the case for why there's still value in betting on the Bengals wide receiver below.

The race for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year race looked wide open for first month of the 2021 season.

The five first-round quarterbacks opened as favorites, but not one of them have separated themselves from the rest. Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson haven't really made an impression. Mac Jones has been safer, but isn't putting up numbers. Justin Fields has struggled. And Trey Lance isn't even starting.

For six weeks, I stared at this crop of rookies, wondering which would emerge as the OROY leader. Then Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase detonated upon the Ravens with eight catches for 201 yards and a touchdown in Week 7.

Chase was already in the OROY conversation, but that performance made him a prohibitive favorite. Now he's also the betting favorite across the market with odds as high as -140 at PointsBet (bet $140 to win $100) as of writing– but he's still plus-money at some sportsbooks, including +110 at DraftKings (bet $100 to win $110), basically making this Chase against the field. And I'm still seeing significant value on him as a result.

This is not just one of the best rookies in football. Chase is one of the best receivers in football, full stop. He's second in the NFL with 754 receiving yards, behind only Cooper Kupp. chase has the most yards by any rookie in his first seven games ever.

Heck, Chase has the most yards in any rookie's first eight games, already guaranteed to stay ahead of the pace in Week 8.

Remember that epic Randy Moss rookie season in 1998?

Moss had 69 catches for 1,313 yards and 17 touchdowns. Chase has six scores already and looks set to smash Moss' yardage totals. Moss had four 100-yard games; Chase already has three — and Moss never hit 200 as a rookie. Chase is on pace to pass Moss' rookie total with four games to spare.

When you match Moss like that — when your numbers surpass a legend — you are a slam dunk Rookie of the Year.

It's not all just volume, either. Chase has been incredibly efficient.

Per NFL Next Gen Stats, Chase has fewer than 400 expected receiving yards, about the same as veterans like Lions TE T.J. Hockenson or Raiders WR Hunter Renfrow. Chase actually has slightly fewer expected receiving yards than Falcons WR Calvin Ridley, but Ridley has 281 actual yards on the season, versus 754 from Chase! That is a massive gulf in production.

Chase has nearly doubled his expected yards with actual yardage. Just look at how he leaps off this chart:

This will henceforth be called the Ja'Marr Chase chart.

Difference in Expected and Actual* Receiving Yards, through Week 7.

The comet's starting point is each player's expected receiving yards, based on expected completion probability and expected YAC from @NextGenStats. pic.twitter.com/hMeUbFdlhB

— Seth Walder (@SethWalder) October 28, 2021

Chase is averaging 4.8 yards after the catch per reception. That's best in the NFL, per Next Gen Stats — more than a full yard ahead of every other player. It might be time to stop comparing Chase to his fellow rookies and instead start stacking him up against Kupp, Davante Adams and the best receivers in the entire league.

Who else is stealing this award from Chase?

Steelers RB Najee Harris has been a nice fantasy producer, but that's mostly thanks to volume. He's been inefficient at 3.8 yards per carry, plus Pittsburgh can't block. Falcons TE Kyle Pitts has been great the last two weeks, but he's miles behind Chase and will always get fewer opportunities at his position.

Lawrence has one game with more than one touchdown. And it's too late for Lance or Fields.

Could Jones lead the Patriots to the playoffs and garner some support? It's possible, but he has only nine touchdowns in seven games, plus six interceptions and a pair of pick-sixes.

Besides, unlike MVP or some of the other narrative awards, OROY has always been easy — it's about the numbers, stupid.

Chase has the numbers, and then some. He's on pace to finish with 85 catches for 1,831 yards and 15 touchdowns! He's averaging 108 yards per game. Even if he drops to half that in his remaining games and scores only four more times, he'd still finish with 1,300 yards and 10 touchdowns. And he'd still be a huge favorite to win this thing.

I've been waiting all season for a candidate to emerge. Chase hasn't just emerged. He's the Offensive Rookie of the Year in waiting.

And we can get plus-juice on Chase? You're giving us odds to bet Chase against the field?!

I'll take that bet every time — and you should, too.

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