The post-draft NFL landscape can be barren of excitement. We’ve analyzed picks, we’ve passed out grades and every one of the 32 fanbases can dream of a better team and a brighter tomorrow. As the offseason progresses, we’ll hear more about how rosters will shake out and what to expect in 2022.
Whether it’s in fantasy football drafts or earlier offseason prop betting, there’s a human instinct to wait to act until we have the superficial certainty about player workloads this season, a certainty that typically accompanies the conclusion of training camp battles and “reliable” coaching assessments.
That feeling of reassurance is comforting for the individual, but it isn’t a unique advantage in competitive markets. Waiting to place your bets on outcomes doesn’t increase your return as long as the market improves with you — which it does when everyone is paying attention. This early offseason presents a good opportunity to take advantage of markets that haven’t properly adjusted to new information, either due to misunderstandings of market dynamics or under- or overestimating the value of landing spots.
The market for Offensive Rookie of the Year is one such opportunity. I looked through the historical trends of the award, along with PFF's post-draft projections for offensive rookies, and found a particular player with longer odds who has an ideal setup to win the award, despite those longer odds.
KNOW THE HISTORICAL MARKET
There are key differences between the most prestigious awards for all NFL players (MVP) and that for rookie offensive players (OROY). Quarterback has become the de facto winning position for MVP, with signal-callers taking home nine straight awards and 14 of the past 15. There’s always a possibility that another position can win MVP, but the NFL’s larger shift toward passing and the increased understanding of lower running back value has permanently changed market dynamics. We’re no longer in the environment of 1991-2000 when running backs won MVP just as often as quarterbacks.
KNOW THE 2022 MARKET
For this analysis, I’m going to focus on the OROY odds at FanDuel Sportsbook because it presents the most favorable bet for my preferred target. But before looking at a specific player, let’s combine the implied probabilities for the entire rookie class and divide them by position. We can then compare these numbers to the historical trends. It was a weaker quarterback draft, and the betting market is skewed away from the position and toward wide receivers.