How to Bet the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year

May 23, 2023

NFL, NFL picks, free NFL picks, NFL odds

If you’re betting on the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, you’d better have a strategy. Otherwise, betting on a whim is a waste of your money. The top offensive rookie in the league plays one of three positions and possesses specific qualities. Here, we show you how to maximize your bets in this category.

Where to Start

Make sure the player is a wide receiver, a running back, or a quarterback when putting a wager on the NFL Offensive ROTY. Tight ends and linemen don’t win this award.

When you look at rookie QBs, RBs, and WRs, they need to play. Guys that win this award typically play 15 games or more in their first year.

Additionally, it is advantageous if the player plays in around 15 to 16 games each season. That player will be able to compile the kinds of stats that garner season-ending honors if they participate in the majority of games.

Defining ROTY

According to its definition, the best offensive first-year player in the National Football League receives the Associated Press NFL Rookie of the Year Award each year.

Now, it helps to understand who votes for the winner. Voting is open to the 50 Associated Press journalists who cover the NFL. They vote right after the last game of the regular season. Typically, two to five players receive votes and there is usually no dispute over the winner.

Voters normally vote for the players with the best statistical seasons. If they don’t have strong numbers; they aren’t winning the ROTY.

The Numbers

Speaking of numbers, actual passing yards matter more than metrics like air yards or yards per attempt. Running backs and wide receivers usually need about 1,300 yards or more to be a ROTY winner.

To accumulate those kinds of numbers, a rookie has to play. Since 2010, nine ROTY winners have played at least 15 games and 28 of the 39 players that received votes since 2010 played in every single game. Playing in every game – or at least most games – is what allows rookies to produce big numbers.

Past Winners

Up until the early 2000s, the ROTY was a running back-heavy award. With rookie quarterbacks often playing early now, QBs have now taken nine of the past 20 trophies. Running backs and wide receivers won the other 11. Each of the last two ROTYs – Ja’Marr Chase and Garrett Wilson – were receivers. More receivers are being taken early in the draft and, as a result, are playing earlier.


Timing is everything for ROTY bettors. Many might not have touched Justin Herbert at 30-1 as a rookie QB with the Chargers. But, when starter Tyrod Taylor went down, Herbert stepped in and had an outstanding season to earn the award.

In 2014, Odell Beckham Jr. missed the first four games of the season. That caused his value to drop, but he eventually ended up winning the ROTY. The point is that bettors might have to wager on a guy that isn’t a starter or isn’t playing a lot at the beginning of the season in order to get longer odds.

Recent victories have gone to many players. Since 2009, six winners have earned odds of at least +1200. The timing is critical for gamblers.

Team Matters

The ROTY winner has played on a team that has averaged 7.9 victories since 2010. Some (Saquon Barkley, 3-13) were on truly bad teams, while others (Dak Prescott, 13-3) were on really good ones. Only four of the winning quarterbacks in the prior six seasons had a winning percentage over .500.

Given that the worst teams frequently select toward the top of the draft, this should make sense. Because the quarterback is so important, teams choose to draft them first. When you draft a QB so high, it is expected that he will play early.

The Draft & More

Twelve of the past 20 ROTY winners were chosen in the first 10 picks in their draft. Players who are chosen highly usually have more opportunities to play right away. That, of course, leads to the numbers we discussed earlier.

Running back is the only position where non-first-round picks have won. Although they have earned a few votes, offensive linemen have never taken home the prize. There have been six votes cast since 2010 on an offensive lineman.

Victories for the quarterback matter when the vote is close. Despite Ezekiel Elliott having the second-best rookie running back season of all time in 2016, Dak Prescott won the ROTY. He threw just four interceptions and led the Cowboys to a 13-3 record.

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