Worst-to-First
(Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

As the NFL season rapidly approaches, fans will scramble to get future bets placed based on the betting odds for things that won’t be decided until months and months down the line.

Whether it be betting on a team’s O/U wins, a future Super Bowl prediction, or really anything fans can get their hands on odds for as they try to satisfy their football itch.

Personally, my favorite is taking a look at the odds for individual awards and decide which ones are most likely and which ones are the best values.

Now, of course, everyone’s prediction for offensive rookie of the year starts and ends with Trevor Lawrence. And why wouldn’t it? He’s the best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck and maybe is even better than Luck was coming out of school.

To this day, Luck is the first and only quarterback drafted first overall to lead his team to the playoffs in his rookie season. If Lawrence can be the second, the award is almost certainly his.

But looking at the betting odds now, Lawrence is certainly not the best value bet. Sitting at +300 on most books, Lawrence is simply too heavy of a favorite to be considered the best value.

The next highest odds on most books are both Justin Fields and Trey Lance at +600. I would take a heavy pass on both. There is no guarantee that either of them will even start at all this season with Jimmy Garoppolo still around in San Francisco and Andy Dalton in Chicago, who was signed and named the starter about a month before the draft.

I think that both teams, especially San Francisco, would be wise to let both guys sit at least at the start of the season and let their projects develop. For that reason, I would not bet on either of them at +600, but I would say that Fields is certainly a better value than Lance because he has more chance to start this year.

Zach Wilson, the new quarterback of the Jets, sits at +700. While I don’t think this is amazing value, it is certainly better than Fields and Lance at +600. Why? Wilson is guaranteed to start from the beginning of the season.

With a new head coach and some pieces around him from the draft in Elijah Moore and Michael Carter, along with an extremely formidable blindside with Mekhi Becton and Alijah Vera-Tucker, Wilson will at least have a decent chance of succeeding from the start. However, he does join one of the worst rosters in the league from last season and will certainly need to show quite a bit if the Jets will win anything more than a few games this season.

To round out the quarterbacks, the man drafted 15th overall to New England sits at +1000 odds in Alabama gunslinger Mac Jones. Right after the draft, this would have seemed like a waste of time even to consider, but I would not be so sure now.

According to Patriots insider Mike Reiss, the most impressive part about Jones’ game so far at OTAs has been his mind and ability to process things and pick them up quickly. This is obviously something Bill Belichick values extremely highly, and if we are hearing this nearly two full months before training camp begins, you have to think Jones at least has a shot at winning the job.

And if he does indeed win the job, +1000 odds now will shoot up much higher than this pretty much immediately. So overall, definitely some good value here for Mac Jones.

I would have to say that of the quarterbacks, Zach Wilson’s OROY odds are probably the best of the five. Yet, I would also say that of all the rookies, none of the quarterbacks offer the most favorable betting odds to win offensive rookie of the year.

Sitting at +800 each, both Kyle Pitts and Najee Harris will be featured prominently in their respective offenses virtually immediately, making an 8/1 bet for either of these two supremely talented players a more than fair one, and in my opinion, the best value out of anyone else.

After this, you have Ja’Marr Chase sitting at +1100, DeVonta Smith at +1400, and Jaylen Waddle at +1600. All three of these players are talented enough to win the award if everything goes right for them and any of the three are fantastic value, with Waddle being the best at +1600.

If you want to get real crazy, you also have guys that could break out in Rashod Bateman and Kadarius Toney, both sitting at +3300 along with Michael Carter. I don’t believe any of them will win the award, but it is certainly something to consider at 33/1 for these college studs.

Overall, I’d have to say that both Harris and Pitts at +800 are where your money would be best spent. It’s Trevor Lawrence’s award to lose, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should bet on him.

We are still months away from getting any kind of preview on how these guys will perform on a real NFL stage, but with the season fast approaching, football fans and gamblers alike are beginning to start to think about these things.