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Opening 2022 NFL OROY Odds Favor Malik Willis and Kenny Pickett; Best Early Bets

Robert Duff

by Robert Duff in NFL Football

Apr 12, 2022 · 2:57 PM PDT

Malik Willis
Liberty quarterback Malik Willis runs through passing drills during Liberty Football Pro Day in Lynchburg, Va., on Tuesday, March 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Kendall Warner)
  • Quarterbacks Kenny Pickett and Malik Willis are the +500 co-betting favorites to win the 2022 NFL OROY
  • Three of the last six winners of the award were QBs
  • Running back Breece Hall is the third betting choice at +800

Despite what NFL scouts are suggesting, oddsmakers are retaining confidence that Kenny Pickett will have a hand in the NFL OROY race in 2022. That’s if Malik Willis doesn’t beat him to the honor.

The two quarterbacks are being listed as the +500 co-betting choices to win in the 2022 NFL OROY odds. This despite the facts that Willis played at Liberty, a mid-major and NFL bird dogs claiming that Pittsburgh’s Pickett’s hands are too small.

2022 NFL OROY of the Year Odds

Player-Position (School) Odds
Malik Willis-QB (Liberty) +500
Kenny Pickett-QB (Pitt) +500
Breece Hall-RB (Iowa State) +800
Treylon Burks-WR (Arkansas) +1000
Garrett Wilson-WR (Ohio State) +1000
Drake London-WR (USC) +1000
Kenneth Walker III-RB (Michigan State) +1200
Jameson Williams-WR (Alabama) +1200
Desmond Ridder-QB (Cincinnati) +1400
Sam Howell-QB (North Carolina) +1600
Chris Olave-WR (Ohio State) +1600
Jahan Dotson-WR (Penn State) +1800
Matt Corral-QB (Ole Miss) +2000
Isaiah Spiller-RB (Texas A&M) +2500
Skyy Moore-WR (Western Michigan) +3000
George Pickens-WR (Georgia) +3000
Kyren Williams-RB (Notre Dame) +4000
Carson Strong-QB (Nevada) +4000
Trey McBride-TE (Colorado State) +5000
John Metchie III-WR (Alabama) +5000
Jalen Tolbert-WR (South Alabama) +5000
James Cook-RB (Georgia) +5000
Christian Watson-WR (North Dakota State) +5000
Dameon Pierce-RB (Florida) +5000

Odds as of April 12th at DraftKings Sportsbook

QBs have won three of the past six NFL OROY awards. Running backs have won twice over that span and Iowa State RB Breece Hall is the +800 third betting choice. But it was a wide reciever, Ja’Marr Chase of the Cincinnati Bengals, who ran off with the honor in 2021.


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Only once have wide receivers been named NFL OROY in successive seasons. That was Louis Lipps of the Pittsburgh Steelers (1984) and Eddie Brown of the Bengals (1985).

Can Kenny Pick It?

The last two NFL seasons, there was a clear-cut rookie favorite in the futures market among the QB class. It was Joe Burrow in 2020 and Trevor Lawrence in 2021. The class of 2022 offers no such valedictorian. In fact, analytics are stating that there’s really no difference between the top five QBs among this year’s rookie crop.

That being the case, football people are nitpicking. And one of the factors they seem to be zeroing in on is the size of Pitt QB Pickett’s hands. At 8.5 inches, they measure in on the smaller end of the spectrum in what’s considered optimal size for an NFL QB.

Per ESPN stats & info, the average hand size for the 39 quarterbacks selected in the first round of the NFL Draft between 2008-2020 is 9.7 inches.

Questions Also Abound About Willis

There’s been some speculation that the Detroit Lions might reach for Willis with the second pick of the draft. That’s probably more far-fetched than factual.

While his arm strength and mobility are impressive, scouts don’t like how Willis overreacts to reads and feel he pulls the ball down and runs too quickly into the play.

Based upon the question marks being put forth about all of the top QBs in this rookie class, it might be another year to avoid putting a wager down on a QB to be NFL OROY. NFL teams certainly aren’t betting on there being a Burrow, Justin Herbert, Mac Jones or Lawrence among this bunch. Otherwise, why would so many teams – Washington (Carson Wentz), Denver (Russell Wilson), Cleveland (Deshaun Watson) and Indianapolis (Matt Ryan) have opted to trade for veteran QBs even before the draft?

NFL ROY Betting Trends

Based on recent NFL OROY selections, perhaps it’s best to wait until after the NFL Draft to place a wager. Each of the last four winners were selected among the top six choices on draft day.

Two of them finished among the top four in the Heisman Trophy voting and one won a national championship in their final year of college ball.

Is It a Wideout World?

Six of the top 12 choices in the NFL OROY betting line are wide receivers. There’s speculation that Arkansas wideout Treylon Burks (+1000) could be headed to Green Bay in the NFL Draft. Getting the other end of Aaron Rodgers aerials isn’t a bad path to NFL OROY honors.

Likewise, there’s talk that Ohio State’s Chris Olave (+1600) is of interest to the Chargers, who’d be pairing him with Herbert.

OROY Best Bet: Treylon Burks (Arkansas) +1000

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