Preseason Longshots Now Among NFL Rookie Favorites
Before the season began, NFL futures betting had the top rookie quarterback heading into the season as the No. 1 overall pick by the Carolina Panthers, Bryce Young. BetUS.com had him at +450 to win Offensive Rookie of the Year, which was second among all rookies. Now, Young is outside the top 15, although that is less about him and more about the number of great rookie performances we have seen through five weeks.
C.J. Stroud – Houston Texans Quarterback
In August, the No. 2 overall pick of the Houston Texans, C.J. Stroud, was paying +700 to win Offensive Rookie of the Year. Now he is the favorite, paying +148 at MyBookie.ag.
He set an NFL record on Sunday with 186 passes without an interception to begin his career. Dak Prescott had the record at 176, and Tom Brady was behind him at 162.
Stroud through five games is third in the NFL in passing yards, and among all starters, only Stroud and Brock Purdy have yet to throw an interception.
De’Von Achane – Miami Dolphins Running Back
Before the season began, De’Von Achane, a third-round pick out of Texas A&M, was an afterthought in this offense. The Miami Dolphins already had Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, and Raheem Mostert. Where would Achane get his touches? He didn’t play in Week 1, and in Week 2 he got just two touches, and at that point he was paying +6500 to win Offensive Rookie of the Year.
He still isn’t getting a really high volume of touches since Week 3. But what he is doing with them is incredible. He has 460 yards rushing on 38 carries, for an eye-popping 12.1 yards per carry. He has five rushing touchdowns and two touchdowns as a receiver, making him the first player in NFL history to score seven touchdowns in his first four games.
Achane is currently paying +390 at MyBookie.ag to win Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Puka Nacua – Los Angeles Rams Wide Receiver
It doesn’t get much longer of a shot than Puka Nacua, the fifth-round pick of the Los Angeles Rams. He was paying +15000 to win the Offensive Rookie of the Year award before the season began. Now that we are five games into his NFL career, MyBookie.ag is paying +400 on him winning the award.
His 39 catches and 501 yards through four games set NFL records for the start of a career. Cooper Kupp has returned to the field for the Rams, and is taking away targets from Nacua – 12 targets and eight catches for Kupp in Week 5 – but Nacua still got 11 targets and seven catches, and he scored his second touchdown.
Bijan Robinson – Atlanta Falcons Running Back
The seventh overall pick by the Atlanta Falcons was Texas running back Bijan Robinson, who came into the season with a mountain of expectations. He was said to be the best running back prospect in years, and the preseason hype had him as the Offensive Rookie of the Year betting favorite at BetUS.com.
He has been every bit as good as advertised — it’s just that the three guys above him have all set NFL records for starts to a career. Robinson is ninth in the league in rushing yards, and his rush yards over expected is fifth. He also has 21 receptions, two touchdowns, and at +470 on MyBookie.ag, he is holding his own among the favorites.
Defensive Rookie of the Year
It has become a two-man race for Defensive Rookie of the Year. Philadelphia Eagles tackle Jalen Carter is the leader at -184, with Seattle Seahawks cornerback Devon Witherspoon in second at +310.
Tied for third are Will Anderson of the Texans and Brian Branch of the Detroit Lions at +1375.
Carter has 3.5 sacks, third among all defensive tackles, and his 23 pressures is the most in the league for defensive tackles, and seventh overall. The only former Eagles to have more sacks through their first five career games are Pro Bowler Corey Simon and Hall of Famer Reggie White.
Witherspoon missed all of the preseason and the first week of the season with a bad hamstring, but since Week 2 he has been outstanding. He’s allowed just 11 receptions in coverage for 114 yards, and against the Giants in Week 4 he had one of the great all-around games, recording two sacks and returning a pick-six 97 yards.