NFL Odds, Expert Pick: Bijan Robinson Is Offensive Rookie of the Year Favorite
David Eulitt/Getty Image. Pictured: Bijan Robinson (left) and Roger Goodell.
Expectations are so high for Bijan Robinson that it’s a reasonable question: Will his fantasy football ADP this fall be higher than the No. 8 pick he was on Thursday night in the 2023 NFL Draft?
Well, Robinson is already a betting favorite, and he hasn’t even participated in an NFL practice.
Early odds for 2023 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year have Robinson as a +350 favorite, as of Friday morning at 11:25 a.m. ET, followed by the three quarterbacks who were taken on Thursday night: Bryce Young (+400), C.J. Stroud and Anthony Richardson (both +700).
In his preview of the 2022 version of the award, Brandon Anderson wrote about the criteria he looks for when betting NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year (numbers and trends through the 2021 season).
Who Wins Offensive Rookie of the Year?
1. Big favorites don’t tend to win.
In the last nine years, Kyler Murray (+150) and Saquon Barkley (+155) were the only two OROY winners who started the season shorter than +800. History says this isn’t typically an award big favorites win.
Of course, that’s not particularly helpful this year, since every bet on the board is longer than +800 in a wide-open class.
2. Almost any position can win … but QBs are the best bet.
Two of the last three OROYs were quarterbacks. Go back a bit further and it’s three out of six, six out of 12 and nine out of 18. The math is pretty consistent: There’s about a 50% chance the OROY will be a quarterback.
This used to be a running back award. Historically, 62% of OROYs have played the position. Running backs won five of the first eight OROYs at the start of the century, but have only taken four of 14 awards since.
We’ve had six wide receiver winners in the last 30 seasons — about one every five years — with Ja’Marr Chase winning last year. The only positions with no history of winning are tight end and offensive line.
3. Draft slot is predictive, and we almost certainly need a first-round pick.
Over the last 18 seasons, a remarkable 15 OROYs (83%) were drafted in the first round. It gets better. 14 of the 18 were top-12 picks. And 11 of them — still over 61%! — were taken in the top seven.
Chase was the fifth pick. Justin Herbert, Kyler Murray and Barkley went sixth, first and second, respectively. Teams are pretty good at drafting star talent!
Of course, it helps that these guys are joining bad teams with a clear path to playing time.
Just one problem — we didn’t have a QB, RB or WR selected in the top seven of the 2022 NFL Draft. Only four went top 12, all WRs. And we only got one first-round QB and no RBs.
It’s worth noting that RB is the one position to stray from the first-round trend.
Alvin Kamara (Round 2; No. 67) and Eddie Lacy (Round 2; No. 61) won from outside the first round over the past decade, and guys like Clinton Portis (Round 2; No. 51), Anthony Thomas (Round 2; No. 38) and Mike Anderson (Round 6; No. 189) won earlier this century.
4. Voters care more about big stats than winning.
Winning doesn’t seem to be a big focus for OROY. Over the last 12 years, only three players who won the award were on teams that won 10 or more games that season. In fact, seven of them — over half – played for a team that finished below .500.
Winning never hurts. A QB leading a team to the playoffs will always have a case. But Herbert, Murray, Cam Newton and Sam Bradford won OROY even with bad records, and Mac Jones didn’t win despite taking the Patriots to the playoffs.
This just isn’t a winner’s award — it’s about the numbers, and you need a lot.
Over the last decade, a typical OROY RB needs at least 1,300 scrimmage yards and 10 TDs.
A winning receiver puts up at least 80 catches, 1,300 yards and 10 scores. Justin Jefferson had 88/1400/7 and still didn’t win in 2020.
So, what are we looking for in an OROY? We want a first-round draft pick, preferably a top-12 pick. Any position will do, but QB is best. And stats matter much more than winning.
While Anderson noted that quarterbacks are the best bet, this year is a little different.
There was no 2022 version of Robinson, no clearcut running back that could potentially take the award and run away with it.
That’s why Anderson put this out last night:
Follow Anderson in the Action App to get his latest betting picks.
Obviously, Robinson’s number has gone down since then. He’s +300 on DraftKings but still +350 on FanDuel.
Below, get the latest odds via FanDuel as of Friday at 11:30 a.m. ET:
NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award Odds
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