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New Challenger Emerges For NFL OROY

At one point, the NFL offensive rookie of the year award was a two-horse race between Deshaun Watson and Kareem Hunt. However, after Watson found himself on the IR and Hunt seemingly hit a rookie wall, it has opened the door to more intrigue.

Maybe the most interesting contender right now is Alvin Kamara. The New Orleans Saints running back found himself buried on the depth chart at the beginning of the season, competing for touches with Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson. However, Kamara has become a linchpin of the Saints offense since AP was traded to the Arizona Cardinals.

In the four games since AP was shipped off, Kamara has racked up 422 yards and three touchdowns on 54 carries. That is an average of 7.8 yards every time he has touched the football in the past four games – all of which were wins for the Saints.

Comparably, Hunt has accumulated 356 yards with no touchdowns on 74 touches in the Kansas City Chiefs’ past four outings.

Of course, Ingram is still the lead back in New Orleans, which means Kamara is going to need to make the most of his touches moving forward. However, Kamara has accumulated more yards through their first eight games than any Saints rookie running back since Ricky Williams in 1999. Kamara is going to keep getting touches and he is clearly a more explosive player than Ingram, so it stands to reason the rookie will see his number of touches increase as the season wears on.

Can we trust that Kamara’s more consistent effort will be able to overshadow Hunt’s blistering start to the season? Maybe not. But in the “what have you done for me lately” world of sports, any continued struggles for Hunt could mean voters’ eyes start wandering to find an alternative. And that alternative could be Kamara.

2017 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Odds

Odds as of November 8 at Bovada

  • Kareem Hunt (KC) -400
  • Leonard Fournette (JAX) +250
  • Alvin Kamara (NO) +1000

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After the first couple of weeks of the NFL season, a lot of people were ready to hand the offensive rookie of the year award over to Kareem Hunt. And why not? The Kansas City Chiefs running back was putting up absurd numbers and dominating the NFL despite being relatively overlooked coming out of Toledo.

Then, Deshaun Watson happened. Watson was thrust into the spotlight for the Houston Texans after Tom Savage was downright terrible in his one half of starting duty. It took Watson a couple of weeks to get his feet fully under him but when he did, he was magnificent.

Watson completed over 73 percent of his passes for 283 yards with four touchdowns and one interception – he also added another score with his feet – while leading the Texans to a 57-14 victory over the Titans this past Sunday. This landmark performance was also the first week Watson has had a full complement of weapons at his disposal, as wide receiver Will Fuller missed the first three games of the season.

With that stunning performance, Watson leapfrogged over Hunt into the top spot for the OROY according to betting odds.

Of course, all other potential candidates for the award have been rendered obsolete. Only one other rookie quarterback has seen snaps (DeShone Kizer), running back Dalvin Cook is out for the season with a torn ACL and the receiver crop has been lackluster.

2017 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Odds

Odds as of October 4 at Bovada

  • Deshaun Watson (HOU) -150
  • Kareem Hunt (KC) +110


Kareem Hunt is only three games into his NFL career and he is already etching his name in the record books. The Kansas City Chiefs rookie has amassed 538 yards from scrimmage through three games, the second-most ever by a rookie. The running back has become the first player in NFL history to record a touchdown of 50-plus yards in each of his first three games.

Aside from all the historical achievements, Hunt is pacing the league in rushing yards and yards from scrimmage by a wide margin. The third-round pick is also tied for the league lead in touchdowns scored through the first three weeks of the year.

Basically, Hunt is really good.

He is a hefty -200 favorite to win the Offensive Rookie of the Year award according to Bovada.

Behind Hunt comes Dalvin Cook. His contemporary is overshadowing him but the Minnesota running back is second in the NFL in rushing and rushing attempts per game. The FSU alum is quickly turning into the workhorse for the Vikings and an offense that is second in the NFL in yards.

The one player who seems like he may be able to surpass Hunt and Cook is Deshaun Watson. The rookie signal-caller paces all quarterbacks in rushing yards and has increased his passing yards and completion percentage in every one of his appearances. If Watson can get the Texans rolling through the upcoming tough stretch of opponents – Houston plays Tennessee, Kansas City, Cleveland and Seattle in the next four weeks – then he should skyrocket up the board.

2017 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Odds

Odds as of September 27 at Bovada

  • Kareem Hunt (KC) -200
  • Dalvin Cook (MIN) +500
  • Deshaun Watson (HOU) +750
  • Leonard Fournette (JAX) +1000
  • Tarik Cohen (CHI) +1000
  • Christian McCaffrey (CAR) +1600
  • Corey Davis (TEN) +2000
  • Joe Mixon (CIN) +2500
  • Kenny Golladay (DET) +3300
  • DeShone Kizer (CLE) +3300
  • Evan Engram (NYG) +3300
  • Zay Jones (BUF) +5000


Kareem Hunt introduced himself to NFL fans with a bang. The Kansas City Chiefs rookie casually racked up 246 offensive yards and three touchdowns against the New England Patriots in the first game of the NFL season.

After an inauspicious start to the game, fumbling after doing so just once in his four-year collegiate career, Hunt went off, completely shredding a defense that finished third in the NFL in rushing yards allowed in 2016.

All the pieces are in place for Hunt to continue his stellar play moving forward. The Chiefs were expected to start Spencer Ware at running back but he tore his PCL during the preseason, thrusting Hunt into the lead role. Plus, the steady rookie is working within Andy Reid’s offensive system, which is running back-friendly, to say the least.

All of this means that sportsbooks have pegged Hunt as the +350 favorite to win the offensive rookie of the year award. That’s a fairly massive jump from the +1600 the third-round pick was listed at during the summer months.

Hunt was not the biggest riser for the award, though. That distinction belongs to Chicago Bears running back Tarik Cohen. The little-known prospect out of North Carolina A&T accounted for 113 yards and a touchdown, plus he hauled in a team-high eight receptions in Week 1.

Cohen was a complete afterthought and went unlisted in the OROY odds until his big effort against the Atlanta Falcons but now finds himself at +1000 – the same odds as the likes of Christian McCaffrey and Deshaun Watson.

The biggest issue for Cohen is not any defense he will face but rather his competition and size. Though Cohen paced the Bears in rushing yards and receptions in Week 1, he was only on the field for 42 percent of the team’s snaps, with Jordan Howard still the clear No. 1 back. When you combine that with the fact that Cohen is five-foot-six and 181 pounds, you can see why he may be used sparingly as the season moves forward.

2017 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Odds

Odds as of September 13 at Bovada

  • Kareem Hunt (KC) +350
  • Dalvin Cook (MIN) +400
  • Leonard Fournette (JAX) +500
  • Christian McCaffrey (CAR) +1000
  • Corey Davis (TEN) +1000
  • Deshaun Watson (HOU) +1000
  • Kenny Golladay (DET) +1000
  • Tarik Cohen (CHI) +1000
  • DeShone Kizer (CLE) +1600
  • Joe Mixon (CIN) +2000
  • Zay Jones (BUF) +2500
  • Mitch Trubisky (CHI) +3300
  • Evan Engram (NYG) +3300
  • OJ Howard (TB) +5000
  • Patrick Mahomes (KC) +5000


The re-emergence of the power running game and the increase in top-flight running back prospects have meant that rookies can step in and make a huge impact in the NFL. Ezekiel Elliott and Todd Gurley have put a premium on the position, which is a big reason why Leonard Fournette was drafted fourth overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the NFL draft.

Fournette has game-changing ability and has shown that he has Adrian Peterson-type potential. Between his natural talent and his likely assured starting gig for the Jaguars, Fournette finds himself as a +450 favorite to win the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award this upcoming season. Despite all the positives, Fournette is going to be playing behind a subpar offensive line that may hinder his progress.

Next on the board is Christian McCaffrey. The newest first-round pick of the Carolina Panthers is a weapon in all facets of the game and should quickly become one of Cam Newton’s favorite teammates. McCaffrey has proven that he can contribute rushing, receiving or returning the ball. Some know his size and say he’s not a between-the-tackles kind of runner, but watch Stanford from the past two seasons and you can see McCaffrey pounding the rock up the gut.

The top quarterback listed is Deshaun Watson. The Houston Texans quarterback has little in terms of competition for the starting job and has great athleticism and a confidence that can’t be taught. However, he also has a tendency to go through bouts of inaccuracy and has thrown more interceptions than any other college QB over the past two seasons. Coach Bill O’Brien said that Tom Savage is the starter, which I believe, but I don’t think he can hold Watson off for more than three or four weeks.

2017 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Odds

Odds as of May 30 at Bovada

  • Leonard Fournette (JAX) +450
  • Christian McCaffrey (CAR) +550
  • Deshaun Watson (HOU) +550
  • Dalvin Cook (MIN) +700
  • Corey Davis (TEN) +800
  • Mike Williams (LAC) +1200
  • Joe Mixon (CIN) +1200
  • Jamaal Williams (GB) +1400
  • DeShone Kizer (CLE) +1400
  • John Ross (CIN) +1400
  • Mitchell Trubisky (CHI) +1600
  • Kareem Hunt (KC) +1600
  • OJ Howard (TB) +2000
  • Patrick Mahomes (KC) +2000
  • Curtis Samuel (CAR) +2500
  • Evan Engram (NYG) +2500
  • Zay Jones (BUF) +2500


The Dallas Cowboys find themselves in a pretty sweet position. “America’s Team” is sitting at 7-1 through its first eight games thanks to a rookie duo. Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott have completely separated themselves in the offensive rookie of the year award race, so much so that they are near the top of the odds to win the NFL MVP.

Elliott is the odds-on favorite to win the OROY award, as he is in the middle of one of the greatest rookie seasons a running back has ever displayed. Entering Week 10, Zeke leads the NFL in rushing yards while sitting fifth in rushing touchdowns and yards per rushing attempt. If Elliott continues at this pace, he will end the season with 1782 rushing yards – only 26 yards shy of Eric Dickerson’s rookie record.

Through eight games, Prescott has thrown for 12 touchdowns and just two interceptions. Dak sits inside the top 10 in completion percentage, yards per attempt and quarterback rating. If the signal-caller keeps up his current pace, he could have the greatest statistical season for a rookie in NFL history – assuming the team keeps Tony Romo on the sideline.

2016 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Odds

Odds as of November 10 at Bovada

  • Ezekiel Elliott (DAL) -250
  • Dak Prescott (DAL) +200
  • Carson Wentz (PHI) +1600
  • Jordan Howard (CHI) +3300


The Dallas Cowboys are 5-1 with a rookie running back and a rookie quarterback. That sort of success is hard to wrap your head around, but Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott have given "America’s Team" a fantastic pair of players to build their offense around.

With Elliott and Prescott performing ridiculously well, they have both been listed at EVEN to win the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award.

Elliott is leading the NFL in rushing by a large margin while seeing his numbers get better with every passing week. If the back keeps up his current trajectory, he will end the season with nearly 1900 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns. That would be the most rushing yards any player has recorded since Adrian Peterson rushed for 2097 in the 2012 season – the year he won the MVP.

Prescott has been one of the most consistent quarterbacks in the NFL and has excelled at protecting the football. The Mississippi State alum has the fifth-best passer rating in football and opened the season by throwing 176 passes without an interception.

2016 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Odds

Odds as of October 19 at Bovada

  • Ezekiel Elliott (DAL) EVEN
  • Dak Prescott (DAL) EVEN
  • Carson Wentz (PHI) +600
  • Will Fuller (HOU) +2500
  • Jordan Howard (CHI) +2500
  • Sterling Shepard (NYG) +5000


Ezekiel Elliott is getting better and better with each game. The rookie running back and NFL’s leading rusher put on a stellar performance in Week 4 when he tallied 138 yards and one touchdown while averaging 6.0 yards per carry.

After four weeks of play, Elliott is a large -150 favorite to be the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year this season. It will be quite impressive if Elliott can keep up this blistering pace, as the Cowboys will face a top-five rushing defense on five more occasions this season.

Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles had a bye in Week 4, but Wentz saw his odds go from +175 to +225 thanks to Elliott’s big game. The quarterback has been stellar for the Eagles, as he has completed 64.7 percent of his passes and has yet to turn the ball over in his professional career.

2016 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Odds

Odds as of October 5 at Bovada

  • Ezekiel Elliott (DAL) -150
  • Carson Wentz (PHI) +225
  • Dak Prescott (DAL) +600
  • Will Fuller (HOU) +900
  • Jordan Howard (CHI) +1000
  • Sterling Shepard (NYG) +2000


Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz has been the favorite to win the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year since his stellar Week 1 performance. But Ezekiel Elliott has made a push and tied the odds up, making Zeke and Wentz +175 co-faves.

After struggling the first two weeks of the season, Elliott recorded his first career 100-yard game when he rushed all over the Chicago Bears defense in Week 3. The Dallas Cowboys running back has now tallied 223 yards while averaging 4.4 yards per carry in his past two outings.

Wentz has been a revelation for the Eagles, as the rookie signal-caller has thrown for five touchdowns and no picks through his first three starts. The quarterback has also seen his completion percentage climb higher with each start of his young career.

2016 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Odds

Odds as of September 28 at Bovada

  • Carson Wentz (PHI) +175
  • Ezekiel Elliott (DAL) +175
  • Dak Prescott (DAL) +500
  • Sterling Shepard (NYG) +700
  • Will Fuller (HOU) +1000
  • Derrick Henry (TEN) +2000


Carson Wentz has made the jump from the North Dakota State Bisons to the Philadelphia Eagles seamlessly. Through his first two starts, Wentz has completed 60.6 percent of his passes while throwing for 468 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Sure, those defenses weren’t great, but that’s still impressive.

Wentz has cemented himself as the heavy favorite to win the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award, with the Eagles’ signal-caller coming in at +160.

Things have tightened up behind Wentz, as Ezekiel Elliott and Will Fuller are both at +350. Elliott has been OK for the Cowboys, but the running back has averaged a mere 3.3 yards per carry through two games. Fuller has proven to be a legitimate deep threat, as he has averaged an absurd 23.4 yards per catch for the Texans.

2016 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Odds

Odds as of September 21 at Bovada

  • Carson Wentz (PHI) +160
  • Ezekiel Elliott (DAL) +350
  • Will Fuller (HOU) +350
  • Sterling Shepard (NYG) +750
  • Corey Coleman (CLE) +850
  • Dak Prescott (DAL) +900
  • Jalen Richard (OAK) +1600
  • Tajae Sharpe (TEN) +1600
  • Derrick Henry (TEN) +1600


The Philadelphia Eagles have decided to go all-in on Carson Wentz and it paid off in Week 1. The rookie signal-caller went 22 of 37 with 278 yards to go along with two touchdowns and no interceptions. It was against the Cleveland Browns, but still an impressive start to a career.

Wentz’ Week 1 performance has vaulted him to the top spot to win the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year according to Bovada. Wentz is currently +250, which is astonishing considering you could have gotten the Eagles’ QB at +4000 during the offseason.

Ezekiel Elliott is close behind Wentz despite a mediocre performance in his first NFL game. The Dallas Cowboys’ running back rushed for just 51 yards while averaging just 2.6 yards per carry. It was against a tough defense, but the schedule won’t be getting any easier for Elliott.

Speaking of the Cowboys, quarterback Dak Prescott has also found his name on the board. Prescott has been forced into action due to yet another Tony Romo injury. Prescott played solid, unspectacular ball against the Giants with 227 passing yards and no touchdowns or turnovers.

2016 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Odds

Odds as of September 14 at Bovada

  • Carson Wentz (PHI) +250
  • Ezekiel Elliott (DAL) +300
  • Will Fuller (HOU) +500
  • Sterling Shepard (NYG) +700
  • Jalen Richard (OAK) +900
  • Tajae Sharpe (TEN) +900
  • Dak Prescott (DAL) +1000
  • Corey Coleman (CLE) +1400
  • Derrick Henry (TEN) +1600


Ezekiel Elliott will have the luxury of starting his NFL career behind an amazing run-blocking offensive line and an injury-prone quarterback. Those factors have gone a long way to ensuring that the Ohio State alum is the odds-on favorite to win the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Elliott – who originally opened at +250 – is now listed at -125 to win the OROY per Bovada.

The running back position has seen a resurgence recently with RB's becoming legitimate threats to win the OROY. Two of the past three OROY winners – Eddie Lacy and Todd Gurley – carried the rocks for their respective teams. However, running backs selected in the top five have a less-than-stellar track record in their first season with the past three – Trent Richardson, Darren McFadden and Reggie Bush – averaging 671 rushing yards and seven touchdowns in their rookie campaigns.

The only other player listed at better odds than +1500 is L.A. Rams quarterback Jared Goff. Goff is stepping into an offense that will be heavily focused on running the ball with Gurley. The Cal product will likely be eased into the passing game due to the lack of receivers and Jeff Fisher’s old-school style of football.

2016 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Odds

Odds as of May 18 at Bovada

  • Ezekiel Elliott (DAL) -125
  • Jared Goff (LA) +650
  • Josh Doctson (WAS) +1200
  • Laquon Treadwell (MIN) +1200
  • Derrick Henry (TEN) +1600
  • Corey Coleman (CLE) +1600
  • Kenneth Dixon (BAL) +1600
  • Jordan Howard (CHI) +1600
  • Sterling Sheppard (NYG) +1600
  • Will Fuller (HOU) +2500
  • Paul Perkins (NYG) +3300
  • Braxton Miller (HOU) +3300
  • Devontae Booker (DEN) +3300
  • C.J. Prosise (SEA) +3300
  • Carson Wentz (PHI) +4000


The Los Angeles Rams have a new city and a new quarterback. The Rams mortgaged the future to move up and select Jared Goff first overall in the draft. With Goff likely being the starter by the time the season rolls around, the Cal product has been tabbed as the favorite to win the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Goff will enter a Rams' offense that will be asking him to just take care of the ball. Jeff Fisher will want to play good defense and pound the rock with Todd Gurley, so Goff will likely be eased into his role through the opening of the season. The biggest hindrance to Goff’s potential OROY season is the lack of receivers. Though the quarterback is used to working with less than optimal wideouts at Cal, he likely won't be getting a big upgrade in LA.

Just behind Goff is Ezekiel Elliott. The running back from Ohio State will have the luxury of working behind the best offensive line in football. The o-line in Dallas has led the way for a combined 4244 rushing yards over the past two seasons. However, Elliott will see some of his potential carries go to Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris, at least early in the season.

The quarterback position has been the position to beat for the award in recent memory with a signal caller winning the OROY four of the past five seasons.

2016 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Odds

Odds as of May 4 at Bovada

  • Jared Goff (LA) +200
  • Ezekiel Elliott (DAL) +250
  • Derrick Henry (TEN) +700
  • Corey Coleman (CLE) +750
  • Josh Doctson (WAS) +1200
  • Laquon Treadwell (MIN) +1200
  • Kenneth Dixon (BAL) +1400
  • Jordan Howard (CHI) +1400
  • Sterling Sheppard (NYG) +1600
  • Paul Perkins (NYG) +1600