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Devin Bush Now Has the Third-Best Odds to Win NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year; Is There Still Value?

Steelers Devin Bush
Is Steelers' rookie Devin Bush a legitimate contender to win DROY? Photo By @AroundTheNFL (Twitter)
  • Pittsburgh selected Devin Bush with the 10th overall pick in April’s NFL Draft
  • Bush is part of a crowded field in contention for the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year
  • Who are the best value bets for DROY?

Over the course of the franchise’s history, the Pittsburgh Steelers and defense have become synonymous terms.

The Steel Curtain. Jack Lambert. Jack Ham. Mean Joe Greene. Mel Blount. Can Devin Bush add his name to the franchise’s legacy of defensive stars?

The betting community believes so.

Odds list the tenth overall pick from Michigan with the third-best odds to win the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year at +700. Bush would join Lambert in 1974 and Kendrell Bell in 2001 as Steelers to win the award.

2019 NFL DROY Odds

Player Odds
Nick Bosa +400
Quinnen Williams +500
Josh Allen +700
Devin White +700
Devin Bush +700

*Odds taken July 11, 2019. 

Bush’s odds have shifted dramatically. In May, his average NFL DROY odds listed Bush at +1800 to win DROY. This morning he is at +750.

There is logic to the support Bush has received, as he joins a Steelers defense that was ranked sixth in the NFL in 2018 with 327.2 yards allowed per game.

Should he start, the Steelers have an opening for a starter at left inside linebacker, Bush would be surrounded by defensive tackle Cameron Heyward, left outside linebacker T.J. Watt, right inside linebacker Vince Williams, and left cornerback Joe Haden.

Theoretically, Bush would be able to play while learning.

Is Bush a Good Bet?

From a purely football standpoint, it is a win-win scenario for Bush and the Steelers. But should that make Bush a value bet to win Defensive Rookie of the Year? No.

At inside linebacker Bush won’t have the opportunity to record sacks in the same way San Francisco defensive end Nick Bosa, Jacksonville outside linebacker Josh Allen, Washington defensive end Montez Sweat, New York Jets defensive tackle Quinnen Williams, Oakland Raiders defensive end Clelin Ferrell, and Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Ed Oliver will have.

Tackles are nice. Tackles win games. Tackles win championships. But tackles are boring whereas sacks are sexy. Sacks are made for highlight packages. Sacks are GIF-able.

Sacks get attention.

So, if Bush’s tackles help the Steelers win games but cost him the Defensive Rookie of the Year, then the question should be who are the value bets to win the award?

Not Bosa (+400) nor Williams (+500), who have the best odds to win the award, followed by Bush, and Josh Allen and Tampa Bay inside linebacker Devin White all at +700 each.

Betting favorites may lead to wins, but not much in the way of dollars. Just like betting massive underdogs doesn’t often lead to winners, such as Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Christian Wilkins (+2800), New York Giants defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence (+4000), and Oakland Raiders safety Johnathan Abram (+3300).

The candidacies of Wilkins, Lawrence and Abram will likely be hurt by the perceived quality of their teams. The highest win total for any of their three teams comes in at just 6.5 wins.

Best Value DROY Bets

Immediately, Washington’s Sweat (+1400) and Carolina Panthers outside linebacker Brian Burns (+1400) come to mind as both will garner media attention as pass rushers. Ed Oliver, at +800, won’t pay off well, but like Sweat and Burns, is a pass rusher who should make teams regret letting him drop to ninth overall in the draft while bettors could benefit from Green Bay allowing Rashan Gary (+1400) to vacillate between defensive end and outside linebacker.

Another player to pay attention to could be Kansas City Chiefs safety Juan Thornhill. CBS Sports recently ranked the Virginia product as having the fourth-best odds to win Defensive Rookie of the Year due to his playmaking abilities and the fact he will be partnered with Tyrann Mathieu in the Chiefs secondary. Thornhill is +4500 to win the award, and the Chiefs are favored to win the AFC West.

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