NFL betting preview: Our favorite bets for Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year

·5 min read

With any football award, start with quarterbacks and work back. However, NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year has been shared with other positions. Cincinnati Bengals receiver Ja'Marr Chase won it last season. Three of the last five winners were non-quarterbacks. Six of the last nine winners weren't quarterbacks.

This isn't a great rookie quarterback class, either. Unless the Pittsburgh Steelers make a surprise decision before Week 1, no rookie QB will start on opening day. That opens Offensive Rookie of the Year up to pretty much anyone.

Our Yahoo Sportsbook team looked at the BetMGM odds and gave their favorite picks for Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year, after already breaking down the NFL MVP odds:

Offensive Rookie of the Year

MARK DRUMHELLER: While some overreact to preseason performance, I’m betting on a player who has the turn-key skill set to perform at a high level on Sundays. New Orleans Saints receiver Chris Olave (+1000) landed in the perfect spot to contribute to a team that could overthrow Tom Brady in the NFC South. Olave will get the required attention filling an immediate need with a playoff-caliber team. Can’t Guard Mike will turn to Don’t Guard Mike as Olave asserts himself as the Saints No.1 WR.

NICK BROMBERG: Why not Breece Hall at +1000? The Jets are going to need a productive run offense to keep pressure off Zach Wilson when he returns from his preseason knee injury and Hall was widely seen as the best all-around running back in the draft. He could be the perfect No. 1 in a good tandem with Michael Carter and his presence in one of the biggest media markets in the country will be a massive plus if the Jets creep toward .500 this season.

PETER TRUSZKOWSKI: We are way too late on a couple of the camp hype players like George Pickens and Romeo Doubs, so I’ll go with a name that’s been flashing in preseason and still has some value. Dameon Pierce is 16-to-1 to win the award. He’s been absolutely lighting it up in preseason and his path to a bell-cow role is there as I’m not overly worried about Marlon Mack and Rex Burkhead. Lovie Smith is an old-school coach who won’t abandon the run, even if (when) his team is terrible.

Houston Texans running back Dameon Pierce (31) had an outstanding preseason. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Houston Texans running back Dameon Pierce (31) had an outstanding preseason. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

GREG BRAINOS: I really like Drake London at +1200. Atlanta’s target tree is smaller than Charlie Brown’s Douglas Fir and London wins all over the field. He averaged 135.5 receiving yards and nearly a touchdown per game for USC last season, so 1,300 yards and 10 touchdowns is well within his range of outcomes this year. And while you’re betting London, sprinkle a little bit on Malik Willis at +5000. There are paths to Willis starting early in the season, at which point he would post gaudy rushing numbers to go along with his passing stats, making him an instant favorite for OROY.

SCOTT PIANOWSKI: Like many on this panel, the Dameon Pierce ticket at +1600 caught my eye. But I also don’t mind Kenny Pickett at +900. He’ll likely get the starting job before September is out, and he’s throwing to a bunch of talented receivers. Ben Roethlisberger won this award 18 years ago; maybe it’s time for this reliable franchise to set the next foundational brick.

FRANK SCHWAB: I was briefly interested in George Pickens before he suddenly became the co-favorite to win the award. There’s not much value left in this market but I’ll go with Dameon Pierce at +1600. He’s going to be the starter from Week 1 on, in an offense that wants to run the ball.

Defensive Rookie of the Year

MARK DRUMHELLER: I am going chalk here with Aidan Hutchinson. Detroit has to win something after all this heart-warming theater on Hard Knocks. PFF projects Hutchinson at 9.4 sacks this season, and that will be enough for the voters to give back to the lovable Lions.

NICK BROMBERG: George Karlaftis feels like a sneaky good bet at +2000, though I maybe am being a homer with this pick. Frank Clark is looking faster than he did in 2021 and Chris Jones is still one of the best interior linemen in the NFL. If Clark and Jones demand the combined attention they garnered in 2019 as the Chiefs won the Super Bowl, the path is there for lots of single-teams for Karlaftis and 10-12 sacks.

PETER TRUSZKOWSKI: This has been an award that’s trending towards awarding the best pass-rusher with Nick Bosa, Chase Young and Micah Parsons winning it the last three years. Names like Hutchinson, Thibodeaux and Karlaftis are fine bets for that reason. However, it was just four seasons ago that Darius Leonard got rewarded with the award for simply being a tackling machine. I can see Devin Lloyd playing a similar role on the Jaguars’ defense this year, cleaning up a lot of the mess created by Travon Walker and Josh Allen. At 20-to-1, he’s worth a shot.

GREG BRAINOS: NFL quarterbacks this year will be checking underneath their beds at night for Jordan Davis (+1600), who joins an Eagles defensive line full of monsters. The last four DROY winners have been front seven players on playoff teams. Playing alongside talented players while your team holds a lead is a tremendous way for rookie pass-rushers to rack up sacks. For this reason, I also like George Karlaftis at +2000. Furious George’s win rate would make even DJ Khaled jealous, and he’ll get plenty of opportunities to win as teams try to play catch-up against the Chiefs.

FRANK SCHWAB: Here's another shoutout for George Karlaftis at +2000. The Kansas City Chiefs defensive end was a first-round pick who played a lot of snaps at Purdue and looked good rushing the quarterback in the preseason. Assuming he gets a starting job early in the season, he could put up double-digit sacks for a high-profile team. That will get some necessary attention.

George Karlaftis of the Kansas City Chiefs should play plenty as a rookie. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
George Karlaftis of the Kansas City Chiefs should play plenty as a rookie. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)