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Opening 2021 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Odds

Trevor Lawrence

FILE – In this Friday, Jan. 1, 2021 file photo, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence passes against Ohio State during the first half of the Sugar Bowl NCAA college football game in New Orleans. The last NFL event not impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic was the 2020 combine in Indianapolis. A year later, with the 2021 combine canceled, the league has released a list of players who would have merited invitations. From such high-profile quarterbacks as Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and Ohio State’s Justin Fields to guys who sat out last season such as Oregon tackle Penei Sewell, there are 323 players from 100 schools. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

  • Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence is the +200 favorite to be the 2021 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year
  • Lawrence is a veritable lock to be selected first overall in the 2021 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Ohio State QB Justin Fields (+400) and BYU QB Zach Wilson (+600) are other top contenders for NFL OROY

Football fans have been anticipating the NFL rookie season of quarterback Trevor Lawrence ever since he led the Clemson Tigers to a national championship in 2018, his freshman season.

Now that the time is upon the football world, oddsmakers are also anticipating great things from Lawrence’s inaugural NFL campaign. He’s been established as the +200 favorite in the opening odds for the 2021 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Three other QBs – Justin Fields of Ohio State (+400), Brigham Young’s Zach Wilson (+600) and Alabama’s Mac Jones (+800) – are also top contenders in the NFL OROY odds.

2021 NFL OROY Odds

Player Odds at DraftKings
Trevor Lawrence +200
Justin Fields +400
Zach Wilson +600
Mac Jones +800
Kyle Pitts +1000
Trey Lance +1100
Ja’Marr Chase +1400
Najee Harris +1600
DeVonta Smith +1600
Travis Etienne +1800
Jaylen Waddle +2000
Javonte Williams +2500
Trey Sermon +3300
Rashod Bateman +5000
Terrace Marshall Jr +5000
Elijah Moore +5000
Rondale Moore +5000
Kadarius Toney +5000
Michael Carter +10000
Kenneth Gainwell +10000

Odds as of April 21st

One Is the Loneliest Number

Perhaps the easiest call of the entire 2021 sports calendar is going to be that the Jacksonville Jaguars will be selecting Lawrence when they step up to the podium on the evening of April 29th to make the first pick of the NFL Draft. Reportedly, the Jags have already sent Lawrence a copy of their playbook.

Unless he’s an absolute flop in training camp, or gets injured, Lawrence will be Jacksonville’s starting QB this season. That certainly gives him a leg up in the rookie race, knowing that he’ll be playing from the get go.

In 2019, Kyler Murray was selected first overall and was the +250 opening line favorite to be named NFL OROY. Murray started at QB for the Arizona Cardinals and went on to win the NFL OROY.

Last season, Joe Burrow was selected first overall by the Cincinnati Bengals and was established as the +250 chalk in the 2020 NFL OROY opening line. However, his season was ended by a knee injury.

In fact, Murray was just the third first overall pick to also earn the NFL OROY since 1982. Sam Bradford (2010) and Cam Newton (2011) were the others. All three were QBs.

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Who Figures to Be Playing?

Some of the all-time greats in NFL history didn’t win the NFL OROY. That group includes Peyton Manning, Dan Marino and Drew Brees. Tom Brady didn’t start as a rookie. Neither did Aaron Rodgers.

On the other hand, Mike Anderson, Robert Griffin III and Anthony Thomas were all NFL OROY winners. A key factor, naturally, in winning the NFL OROY is to get on the field and play. Whichever QB the 49ers draft at #3, word from San Fran is that Jimmy Garoppolo will still be the team’s starter this season.

Sometimes, the OROY is who you think it will be. Both Murray and New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley, the 2018 winner, were the betting favorites to do so from the outset.

Often, it isn’t. Los Angeles Chargers QB Justin Herbert, last year’s NFL OROY, was listed at an opening betting line of +1400.

This is certainly one award where thinking outside the box can pay off handsomely. No one had 2017 winner Alvin Kamara, a third-round draft pick, on their radar. Likewise, Dak Prescott, the 2016 NFL OROY, was a fourth-round draft choice.

Chasing Value

Herbert opened as the sixth betting choice last year. Looking in that neighborhood, LSU wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase is opening in the seven slot at +1400.

True, wideouts don’t often win NFL OROY recognition. The most recent was Odell Beckham Jr in 2014. Only five wide receivers have won the award since 1986.

Chase, though, has the chance to be a real difference-maker on the field. That being said, the fact of the matter is that a wideout will need to be absolutely lights out. The QB who excels is always going to be given the upper hand.

Last season, Justin Jefferson enjoyed a monster year with the Minnesota Vikings but was never going to have a chance against the numbers that Herbert put up for the Chargers.

Year of the QB

The 1983 NFL Draft saw a record six QBs selected in the first round, including Marino and John Elway. Yet the NFL OROY was a running back, Eric Dickerson.

More recently, the 2018 NFL Draft saw Baker Mayfield, Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson and Sam Darnold enter the NFL. Again, though, it was an RB, Barkley, who carried off NFL OROY.

With QBs expected to go in at least the top three selections, is it wise to bet against a QB winning the NFL OROY?

Considering his accomplishments in college, it’s difficult to doubt Lawrence.

Robert Duff

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