2023 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Odds & Pick

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Bijan Robinson of Texas participates in a drill during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Stacy Revere/Getty Images/AFP.

NFL Pick: Bijan Robinson To Win Offensive Rookie of the Year +275 at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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Bijan Robinson To Win Offensive Rookie of the Year +275
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The NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year award (OROY) is another player honor with a strong betting market each season. Wide receivers have won the last two awards, but that is usually a tough position to excel at right away.

Quarterbacks were all but absent in last year’s race, but with three of the first four picks in the 2023 draft being signal callers, they should be in competition with Atlanta running back Bijan Robinson, the NFL odds favorite at many of the top U.S. sportsbooks.

We look at the current OROY race going into July with training camp dates nearing.

When in Doubt, Pick Running Back

Best odds (via BetOnline):

  • Bijan Robinson, Falcons (+275)
  • Jahmyr Gibbs, Lions (+900)

Running backs have always been the safest and smartest bets for OROY. Since 1967, a whopping 35 running backs have won the award compared to 11 wide receivers and 10 quarterbacks. No running back has won OROY since Saquon Barkley in 2018, but many would say Bijan Robinson is the best running back prospect to enter the NFL since Barkley.

Do hyped-up running back prospects often come through for OROY? Maybe not as often as you would think, but Barkley (2018), Todd Gurley (2015), and Adrian Peterson (2007) all won the award as the first running back drafted in their classes.

The hope is Robinson is of that caliber, and he could not be happier about the fit as the Atlanta Falcons absolutely want to run the ball more than any offense with their backs. In 2022, Arthur Smith’s team led the NFL with 559 rushes and finished No. 3 with 2,718 rushing yards.

Tyler Allgeier, a 5th-round rookie, rushed for 1,035 yards and averaged 4.9 yards per carry behind Atlanta’s offensive line. Cordarrelle Patterson also rushed for 695 yards and 8 touchdowns, so the production was split. Both players are also still with the team, but you have to figure the Falcons are going to find a way to give the No. 8 pick the majority of touches.

Robinson’s Big-Play Ability and High Expectations

Robinson has some big-play ability and should be solid as a receiver. Over 1,500 yards from scrimmage and double-digit touchdowns should be the bare minimum expected for Robinson if he plays a full season.

There is an inherent advantage to playing running back as it really is not dependent on how good Desmond Ridder is at quarterback, which would matter more for any wide receiver who is at the mercy of their passer’s accuracy and decision-making. We know the Falcons are going to have a run-heavy philosophy.

Also, quarterbacks get held to a much higher standard for winning games. Even if the Falcons finish with a losing record and a poor offense, Robinson will not get blamed for that at running back. We have already seen Barkley win the award on the 2018 Giants, who were 5-11 and No. 16 in scoring. Todd Gurley won for the 2015 Rams, who were 7-9 and No. 29 in points and dead last in yards.

Robinson is also a better choice than Detroit running back Jahmyr Gibbs (+900 at BetOnline), who should be part of Detroit’s committee approach to the position after adding David Montgomery from Chicago. Do not expect Gibbs to sniff Jamaal William’s 17 touchdowns from last year – 13 came from the 1 or 2-yard line.

NFL teams have fallen out of love with paying running backs, but award voters still dig the position and Robinson has a definite advantage over the rest of his class.

The 3-Headed Quarterback Race

Best odds (via BetOnline):

  • Bryce Young, Panthers (+400)
  • Anthony Richardson, Colts (+550)
  • C.J. Stroud, Texans (+900)

Unlike the 2022 season when no rookie quarterback started in Week 1, we will likely see a couple this year. We could even see three of Bryce Young (Panthers), Anthony Richardson (Colts), and C.J. Stroud (Texans) all start for their new teams.

None figure to be a Peyton Manning or Andrew Luck type of phenom, and you could also say Trevor Lawrence was a better prospect in 2021 than anyone in this class. Neither Luck nor Manning nor Lawrence won OROY.

But 9 of the last 19 OROY winners were quarterbacks, so it is possible that the game’s most important position tends to get a bump from voters for the learning curve and value associated with the position. Justin Jefferson had an incredible rookie season in 2020 but Justin Herbert still won the award after throwing for the most touchdown passes by a rookie.

Even Kyler Murray won the award in 2019 for a so-so year where he passed for 3,722 yards and 20 touchdowns while leading the Cardinals to a 5-10-1 record.

Winning games and/or making the playoffs is not a prerequisite for winning OROY at the quarterback position. Herbert, Murray, Cam Newton (2011), and Sam Bradford (2010) all had losing records when they won the award. Dak Prescott (2016), Robert Griffin III (2012), Matt Ryan (2008), Vince Young (2006), and Ben Roethlisberger (2004) all had winning records.

Young and Stroud Face Significant Challenges

Rookie quarterback play has not been that exceptional in recent NFL history, and there is a good chance these players will struggle more than they surge in 2023.

Bryce Young will have to overcome worries about his small frame and height as he takes over a poor Carolina passing game with a new head coach (Frank Reich) and not many passing weapons after the team traded No. 1 receiver D.J. Moore to Chicago.

C.J. Stroud takes over a Houston offense that has no identity and a defensive-minded rookie head coach (DeMeco Ryans), and they also lost their best wide receiver (Brandin Cooks). He also does not seem interested in adding much-rushing value to the team like his Ohio State predecessor Justin Fields is capable of doing.

Richardson’s Dual Threat Potential & Young’s Pocket Presence

Anthony Richardson may be the most interesting because you could see him rushing for 100 yards in an NFL game, but the passing may be too erratic for him to get to an award-winning level in Year 1 under rookie coach Shane Steichen, who got modest numbers out of Jalen Hurts in their first year together (2021).

However, Richardson playing with Jonathan Taylor in the backfield is certainly an interesting dynamic with the expectation that he will have more rushing value than Young and Stroud.

Ultimately, Young is probably still the smartest quarterback pick because of coach Reich’s ability to adapt to a new quarterback every year, and Young does seem to have the best pocket presence of the three rookies.

You could see him create something out of nothing a la vintage Russell Wilson, and that could help a Carolina team that should be solid in the ground game and on defense to compete in a weak division. Young could win this with merely solid passing volume in the way that Kyler Murray did in 2019, which was also not a strong class of rookies.

The Wide Receiver Logjam

Best odds (via BetOnline):

  • Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Seahawks (+1200)
  • Jordan Addison, Vikings (+1600)
  • Quentin Johnston, Chargers (+1600)
  • Zay Flowers, Ravens (+2500)

They had to wait until the No. 20 pick, but the top wide receivers went 4 picks in a row in April’s draft. Nevertheless, hoping for another Ja’Marr Chase or Garrett Wilson (last year’s winner for the Jets) to emerge from this class is unlikely. To win OROY as a wide receiver, you basically must be the No. 1 or No. 2 receiving option on your team.

Challenges and Obstacles

This is bad news for Zay Flowers, who will have to share the ball in Baltimore with Mark Andrews, Odell Beckham Jr., and Rashod Bateman, who should all be ahead of him on the depth chart. We also have to see the Ravens prove they are throwing more frequently with Lamar Jackson this year. He is out.

Jaxon Smith-Njigba was the top wide receiver prospect according to many experts this year, but he barely distanced himself from the pack on the draft board. He has a good landing spot at No. 20 with Seattle and Geno Smith coming off a career year, but he will have to play behind Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf. That is bad for winning awards.

Likewise, Quentin Johnston lands maybe the best quarterback situation with Justin Herbert and the Chargers, but they still have Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. Injuries are always a concern there, but if those receivers stay healthy, Johnston is a WR3 at best in an offense that will throw to the running back (Austin Ekeler) a lot too.

That back also scores a ton of touchdowns, a stat where Johnston is very inconsistent.

Promising Position for Addison in Minnesota

Based on role, quarterback accuracy, and supporting cast, Jordan Addison in Minnesota is the best pick at wide receiver for OROY. The Vikings lost longtime veteran Adam Thielen, and while K.J. Osborn came on at times last year, he is still a third option at best. Addison could draw single coverage as defenses focus on Justin Jefferson, who is still going to put up huge numbers in this offense.

Addison is capable of putting up over 800 yards and 8 touchdowns. That just may not be enough in a year with intriguing running back and quarterback options. If Jefferson could not win the award with 1,400 yards in 2020, it would look weird for Addison to win it with much lesser stats.

But this wide receiver class waiting until the 20th pick to get anyone selected is a red flag for what the NFL as a whole thinks of this group of new receivers. Do not have high expectations this year, especially with these players fitting into supporting roles.

Any Tight End Love?

Best odds (via BetOnline):

  • Dalton Kincaid, Bills (+4000)

No tight end or offensive lineman has ever won OROY. That streak is almost certain to continue in 2023. The Bills drafted Dalton Kincaid in the first round, and it is a good spot for his career, but tight end is historically so hard to succeed at right away.

The Bills are unlikely to fundamentally adjust their offense to feature a rookie tight end. With Stefon Diggs as the No. 1 wideout and Dawson Knox the team’s third-leading receiver at tight end, the Bills would have to make Kincaid a prominent “move” tight end and feature him at receiver in the slot.

The stats will not be there in 2023 for him to do this to win an award, but maybe down the road when Knox moves on and Kincaid ascends to TE1 in Buffalo, he will become a Pro Bowler with Josh Allen throwing him the ball, but this does not set up well for OROY unless Diggs and Knox somehow both get injured early in the year.

Conclusion: The Pick

Robinson is a deserving favorite at the easiest position to win OROY, and his team fit is impeccable. The quarterbacks have little around them to think they can have a Dak Prescott or Ben Roethlisberger type of season with team success.

The wide receivers are simply not talented enough on their own like Odell Beckham or Ja’Marr Chase to expect them to dominate as secondary receivers on their teams.

If you wanted a longshot to win OROY, consider Rashee Rice going to the Chiefs with Patrick Mahomes, who lost his No. 1 wide receiver (JuJu Smith-Schuster) again, Kadarius Toney is always hurt, and Travis Kelce is 34 this season. It is always tempting to have some shares on the Kansas City offense.

If you are doing an NFL award winners parlay, you could sprinkle in some Bryce Young, Anthony Richardson, and Jordan Addison to give you options in hedging on Robinson for OROY, but Robinson is still the top NFL pick.

NFL Pick: Bijan Robinson To Win Offensive Rookie of the Year +275 at BetOnline

*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.