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Burrow Back to Being Favored to Win NFL OROY After Quiet Week from Edwards-Helaire, Herbert’s Odds Improves to +950

Eric Thompson

by Eric Thompson in NFL Football

Updated Mar 9, 2021 · 2:30 PM PST

Joe Burrow talks to Mixon
Can Joe Burrow come out of Cleveland with his first NFL on Thursday night? (Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire)
  • Joe Burrow has regained favorite status in the odds to win Offensive Rookie of the Year
  • Clyde Edwards-Helaire fell back to second after a pedestrian Week 2
  • Justin Herbert climbed to fourth thanks to a surprise start vs the Chiefs

All eyes were on the Bengals last Thursday night and that national attention was just what Joe Burrow needed to remind bettors why he was the unquestioned number-one overall pick this spring. On the back of a three-touchdown game against the Browns, Burrow reclaimed his place as favorite for Offensive Rookie of the Year after Clyde Edwards-Helaire stole the top spot last week.

Justin Herbert also surged up the odds board thanks to his surprise Week 2 start against the Chiefs. Which rookie is currently offering the best value?

Odds to Win Offensive Rookie of the Year

Player Odds
Joe Burrow (Bengals, QB) +150
Clyde Edwards-Helaire (Chiefs, RB) +160
Jonathan Taylor (Colts, RB) +600
Justin Herbert (Chargers, QB) +950
Jerry Jeudy (Broncos, WR) +1200

Odds taken Sept. 21 from FanDuel.

Last week, Edwards-Helaire led the pack with +175 odds to win the coveted trophy.

Brutal Bengals Can’t Bury Burrow’s Chances

Whenever someone is apprehensive about Burrow winning OROY, remind them that this is not a “Most Valuable Rookie” award: team success has no bearing on how voters will cast their ballots at the end of the year. Dak Prescott and RGIII didn’t win this award because they made the playoffs in year one; they made the playoffs in year one because they had insane, historic rookie seasons, both finishing with passer ratings of over 100.

We were reminded that a team’s record doesn’t matter with the most recent OROY winner. Kyler Murray’s Cardinals finished 5-10-1, but he still edged out Josh Jacobs by making Arizona fun to watch, even though he his supporting cast was awful.

Burrow looks to be in an even worse position in Cincinnati: their defense is abysmal, the offensive line is on pace to allow 48 sacks for the second straight season, and the kicker is cramping his style. But even with all that working against him, man, does Burrow ever look good out there!

Burrow dropped back to pass 64 times against the Browns, setting a rookie record for completions in a game with 37. Though it’s a small sample size, he’s on pace to become just the third rookie to pass for over 4,000 yards in a season.

Throwing that much may not be a winning strategy on the football field, but as long as Burrow stays healthy, it should be a winning strategy for OROY.

Herbert Not Getting Handed the Reins?

Justin Herbert became the second QB from the 2020 class to play under center, after the Chargers’ Week 1 starter, Tyrod Taylor, reported chest pains right before kickoff.

Herbert was thrust into action against the reigning Super Bowl champions and the former Oregon Duck came out firing.

Patrick Mahomes did typical Mahomes things to keep the Chargers from pulling off the upset, but it was a promising debut from the sixth-overall selection, However, Herbert’s next opportunity may not be coming anytime soon. Head coach Anthony Lynn said Taylor would remain the starter if he’s healthy enough.

It’s one thing to have success against a defense that was game-planning to play against Taylor. It remains to be seen if Herbert will have the same success against a defense that has planned against his strengths.

Given that we may not even get an answer to that question in the near future, Herbert is a stay away for now.

Edwards-Helaire Needs QBs to Drop the Ball

In Week 2, CEH saw about the same number of snaps as his earth-shattering season opener. But with the game script working against him, the rookie finished with just 38 rushing yards and 32 receiving yards. That’s how it’s going to go in a Chiefs offense that is loaded with playmakers; some weeks it will be someone else’s time to shine.


Ultimately, though, Edwards-Helaire is in the league’s best offense and should put up great numbers. Whether he wins OROY is not really up to him. You can lead the league in rushing like Zeke did in 2016, but if a rookie quarterback also has a good season, the game’s most important position is going to win almost every time.

If you’re backing CEH at this point, you’re either expecting a god-like season a la Saquon Barkley’s 2028 yards from scrimmage in 2018, or you’re expecting Joe Burrow to falter.

Pick: Burrow (+150)

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