The Lede: Is Deshaun Watson the OROY Value Play?

DeShaun Watson at the draft
Deshaun Watson holding up his jersey after being drafted by the Texans (By Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire)

Don’t have time to read through 1,000 words, but need some informed betting tips? Here’s a quick rundown on today’s biggest sports story (as adjudged by me) and how it impacts the way you should bet.

Deshaun Watson Turns in Strong Performance in New England

Entering Week 3, Bill Belichick was 8-0 against rookie QBs in Foxborough, with an average margin of victory of 17.1 points. Meanwhile, Deshaun Watson had struggled a little in the pocket in his first two games as a pro, only throwing for 227 yards and posting a lousy 68.3 passer rating. Sunday’s matchup with the Patriots in New England was not looking promising for the 12th-overall pick.

However, the rookie turned in his best game to date — by a wide margin — throwing for 301 yards and two TDs (to go along with two picks). More importantly, Watson had Houston in position to take down the reigning Super Bowl champions. The 22-year-old put 13 unanswered points on the board at one point, sending his defense out on the field with a five-point lead and less than 2:30 to play.

Though Houston’s D couldn’t stop Tom Brady from orchestrating yet another game-winning drive, his efforts were heard around the league, as well as the sportsbooks. On Bet365, Deshaun Watson’s odds to win the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year award are now listed at +500, only behind Kareem Hunt (+162), Dalvin Cook (+350), and Leonard Fournette (+400).

Takeaway: There are two bets for you to make here: the safe one and the value bet. The former is with Chiefs RB Kareem Hunt, who leads the league in rushing with 401 yards through three games (113 more than Dalvin Cook), is tied for the league-lead in rushing touchdowns with four, and has also added 137 yards and another two TDs as a receiver. The value bet is with Deshaun Watson; he’s the only rookie QB who will log a significant number of snaps for a team that stands to be in playoff contention.

Last year, Dak Prescott got the OROY nod over teammate Zeke Elliott, showing once again that voters will side with quarterbacks over running backs when the race is tight. Pivots have now won the honor seven of the last 13 years. Heading into Week 4, the race isn’t particularly tight, however, and Watson will need Hunt to dramatically slow his pace or lead the Texans to an AFC South title (potentially both) to close the gap. Still, at +500, it’s worth sprinkling a little coin on, since that value will disappear real quick if Watson has another game or two like his Week 3 performance.