Pro Football Futures: One RB Is Top Bet For Offensive Rookie of Year

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With the 2021 NFL draft now in the rear-view mirror, all 32 teams have exciting incoming talent to help bolster their rosters. But which players will make an immediate impact in Year 1?

William Hill put futures up for both the 2021-22 NFL Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year awards this past Thursday. Today, let’s look at the odds for those on the offensive side of the ball.

Top-overall pick and new Jaguars signal-caller Trevor Lawrence is the +220 favorite to win Offensive Rookie of the Year at William Hill Nevada. From 2000 to 2020, 15 quarterbacks were taken with the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft. Interestingly, just three of them were named Offensive Rookie of the Year: Sam Bradford in 2010, Cam Newton in 2011 and Kyler Murray in 2019.  

The next four players after Lawrence are all quarterbacks as well. Zach Wilson, Justin Fields and Mac Jones are all tied for the second-lowest odds at +650 apiece. Trey Lance, who the 49ers took with the No. 3 pick, is next at +750, even with Fields and Jones going several picks after the North Dakota State product in the first round.

“The thought process [behind Lance at +750] is that [Jimmy] Garoppolo is going to start the season at quarterback while Lance learns the ropes,” said Nick Bogdanovich, Director of Trading for William Hill US. “I don’t know if they’re going to throw Mac Jones or Justin Fields into the fire immediately either. If one of these guys has a good camp and the coaches think he can start in Week 1, their odds will probably drop a bit.”

Yet it’s a running back who has piqued the interest of William Hill bettors thus far.

“Looks like the early money is for Najee Harris,” Bogdanovich said. “There’s twice as many tickets on him compared to anyone else early on. [James] Conner is no longer in Pittsburgh, so looks like it’s going to be Harris’ show there. He’s going to get plenty of opportunities, so I can see why they’re betting Harris.”

Harris originally was listed at 20/1, the same price as fellow first-round tailback Travis Etienne. Now he’s at 10/1, which is tied for the lowest odds of any non-quarterback with Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts. The former Alabama bruiser has attracted 33% for both total number of tickets and total dollars wagered among all Offensive Rookie of the Year wagers at William Hill.

A trio of wide receivers round out the lowest 10 odds on the board. Bengals wideout Ja’Marr Chase has the eighth-lowest odds at 12/1, followed by Dolphins speedster Jaylen Waddle at 15/1 and Eagles pass-catcher Devonta Smith at 18/1. Smith’s odds have actually slightly risen, as the Heisman winner has gone from 15/1 to 18/1.

Check out William Hill’s latest odds for 2021-22 Offensive Rookie of the Year below.

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