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2020 Biletnikoff Odds Slightly Favor Ja’Marr Chase Over DeVonta Smith and Rashod Bateman

LSU WR Ja'Marr Chase catches a pass vs. Clemson
Will LSU's Ja'Marr Chase repeat as the Biletnikoff Award winner? Photo from @ESPNStatsInfo (Twitter).
  • LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase is favored to repeat as the Fred Biletnikoff Award winner as best WR in college football
  • Alabama’s DeVonta Smith and Minnesota’s Rashod Bateman are close behind in the latest odds
  • Read below for the best bet on the 2020 Biletnikoff Award winner

LSU wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase is slightly favored over Alabama’s DeVonta Smith and Minnesota’s Rashod Bateman to take home the 2020 Biletnikoff Award as college football’s best receiver.

Chase is looking to become the first back-to-back winner of the award since Justin Blackmon won back-to-back with Oklahoma State in 2010 and 2011. Smith and Bateman were both semi-finalists for the award in 2019.

Is Chase a good bet to repeat, or is there someone else in this talented group worth a wager?

2020 Biletnikoff Award Odds

Player (Team) Odds
Ja’Marr Chase (LSU) +300
DeVonta Smith (Alabama) +400
Rashod Bateman (Minnesota) +500
Jaylen Waddle (Alabama) +600
Rondale Moore (Purdue) +700
Tylan Wallace (OK State) +800
Chatarius Atwell (Louisville) +1000
George Pickens (Georgia) +1200
Justyn Ross (Clemson) +1200
Chris Olave (Ohio State) +1500
Dazz Newsome (UNC) +1600
Khalil Shakir (Boise State) +2000

Odds as of July 13.

Ja’Marr Chase Favored To Repeat

LSU wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase is favored to repeat as the Fred Biletnikoff award winner. Chase won the award in 2019 thanks to an incredible season that saw him lead the nation with 1,780 receiving yards and 20 receiving touchdowns.

Chase is the consensus WR1 in almost all 2021 NFL mock drafts, so it makes sense that he’s also being given the edge here. The fact that he put up such impressive numbers as a sophomore speaks volume about his talent level and future potential.

Chase is a safe play in this prop, but there isn’t much value. It’s almost a certainty that Chase’s numbers will take a significant hit in 2020 with Heisman Trophy-winning QB Joe Burrow off to the NFL. The departure of LSU’s passing game coordinator, Joe Brady, is also going to hurt the Tigers offense and the numbers it puts up this season.

Bama’s Waddle and Smith Form Lethal Duo

The Crimson Tide are projected to have the best WR duo in college football this season with junior Jaylen Waddle and senior DeVonta Smith. Having two immensely talented receivers on the same team could hurt both player’s individual chances of taking home the award, but note that Chase won in 2019 playing alongside 2020 first-round NFL draft pick Justin Jefferson.

While both these players have superb talent, there’s reason to be cautious due to Bama’s star QB Tua Tagovailoa departing to the NFL. If Mac Jones or Bryce Young starts balling, jumping on one of these studs could turn out to be a great bet.  It’s still a question mark, though, as the Tide are expected to run the ball more this season, especially with senior Najee Harris in the backfield.

Out of the two, Waddle has the better value at +600 odds. His elite speed and explosiveness could make him the best separator in the entire group. Waddle leads all returning Power Five wide receivers in yards-after-catch per reception (12.2).

Rashod Bateman Offers Major Upside

Minnesota’s Rashod Bateman is one of my favourite receivers heading into the 2020 season. Bateman is an incredible route runner who ranked eighth in the nation last season with 20.3 yards per reception. He has a chance to put up a monstrous year with Tyler Johnson off to the NFL.

The upside for Bateman comes from the chemistry he’s developed with QB Tanner Morgan, who is a dark horse contender in the 2020 Heisman odds, over two years at Minnesota. The Golden Gophers are returning their entire starting offensive line and are projected to have an electrifying offense this season.

Purdue’s Rondale Moore is also someone I have my eye on, but I’m hesitant to lay down any significant money on him. He put up terrific numbers as a freshman, but was limited to just four games as a sophomore in 2019 due to injury. Moore could surge up the rankings if he stays healthy this season, but the Boilermakers uncertainty at QB is reason to tread lightly.

Bateman has proven his chemistry with his starting quarterback and has all the tools to take that next step and overtake Chase as the best receiver in college football this season.

Pick: Rashod Bateman (+500)

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