Rovell: Justin Herbert Becomes Huge Favorite in Offensive Rookie of the Year Race

Rovell: Justin Herbert Becomes Huge Favorite in Offensive Rookie of the Year Race article feature image
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Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images. Pictured: Justin Herbert.

It’s only Week 11, but those who bet on Justin Herbert to win Offensive Rookie of the Year very well might have cashed on Sunday.

In the matter of a few hours, Joe Burrow was carted off the field and tweeted he was done for the season, and Tua Tagovailoa — who was 3-0 going into Sunday’s game against the Denver Broncos — was benched for Ryan Fitzpatrick after a lackluster effort.

That opened things up for Herbert, who threw for 366 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions in a 34-26 victory over the New York Jets.

“Who else could win?” said Ed Salmons, Vice President of Risk for the SuperBook in Las Vegas. “Herbert will be a huge favorite on Monday.”

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In fact, one sportsbook didn’t even wait until Monday. 

By late Sunday night, PointsBet had posted Herbert at a prohibitive -1000 favorite. Tagovailoa went to 10-1 with Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson, while Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire went to 30-1.

Herbert had started the season at 17-1 and started to close the gap between Weeks 2 and 3 when he jumped from +1500 to +950. He was then named the starter for the Chargers and dropped to +400. The following week, he posted a four-touchdown game against the Saints and went to +130 and into the favorite position. 

While Herbert was the favorite, he wasn’t where the most liability was.

At DraftKings, Burrow made up 29% of the bets and 43% of the handle. Herbert was at 11% of the bets and 16% of the handle, while Tagovailoa sat at 5% of the bets and 4% of the handle. All were in front of Edwards-Helaire, who had 10% of the bets, 7% of the handle.

“We’re spread out pretty good,” DraftKings Head of Sportsbook Johnny Avello said. “This market isn’t really as volatile as some others are.”

The MVP race is, however, and last year Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson could be had at 70-1 before the season started. 

Is it strange that Herbert could win it on a team that is now 3-7 and likely won’t have a winning season? At least more recently, that’s actually commonplace for the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award. 

Four of the last six players who won the honor — Kyler Murray, Saquon Barkley, Todd Gurley and Odell Beckham Jr. — came from teams with losing seasons. The exceptions to the rule? Saints running back Alvin Kamara in 2017 and Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott in 2016.

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