Saquon Barkley tops NFL rookie betting

Offensive Rookie of the Year betting odds (As of Aug. 21):

Saquon Barkley: 3.50
Sam Darnold: 10.00
Rashaad Penny: 18.00
Kerryon Johnson: 30.00
Hayden Hurst: 200.00


For a time in the spring, Saquon Barkley was the favourite to be selected first overall in the 2018 NFL Draft.

The days and hours leading up to the draft can be hectic, and that certainly was the case this year. Baker Mayfield was something of a long shot in March to get selected No. 1 but emerged a day before the actual draft as the favourite before the Cleveland Browns made the touted quarterback the first pick. Barkley fell to second overall, getting selected by the New York Giants.

The NFL is now in the midst of its preseason, and Barkley is the favourite to earn NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year - one of 22 NFL Specials currently available at PlayNow.com in advance of the new regular season, which begins Sept. 6 with the Atlanta Falcons facing the Philadelphia Eagles.

Here is a breakdown of the top five betting leaders for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year:

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Saquon Barkley

Offensive Rookie odds: 3.50

Saquon Barkley

The hype around Saquon Barkley had been growing well ahead of the 2018 draft. Three years at Penn State, and Barkley averaged 5.7 yards per carry with 43 career rushing touchdowns, which is impressive enough for a running back.

But he also acted as a dual threat in the pass game, with 632 yards receiving in his junior year – his final year in NCAA competition

On his first rush in preseason against the Cleveland Browns, you could almost hear Giants fans salivating over the potential that Barkley shows with that powerful running game, as he broke free for a 39-yard rush.

 It’s no surprise that he’s the betting leader for the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. As of Monday, more than 25 per cent of the money was on Barkley to win the award when the season is over. He’s been working back from a hamstring injury, with the official line from the Giants being that Barkley is day to day.

Sam Darnold

Sam Darnold

Offensive Rookie odds: 10.00


Sam Darnold was also, for a longer time, the favourite to go No. 1 overall in the NFL Draft. We’ve already dissected what happened in April, but the result was Darnold going to the New York Jets at third overall and the second quarterback selected.

 Less than seven per cent of the money is on Darnold to win Offensive Rookie of the Year, and there is a battle in Jets camp right now to be the starting quarterback.

It would certainly seem like Darnold is the guy to start Week One, given where he was drafted. But Teddy Bridgewater – back from a horrific injury suffered while with the Vikings in 2016 – has turned heads with his performance this preseason, which is all the more impressive given what he’s fought back from.

Something to keep an eye on.

Rashaad Penny

Offensive Rookie odds: 18.00

Rashaad Penny

The Seattle Seahawks used their first round pick this year to select running back Rashaad Penny, as they look to revamp a run game – and by extension, an offence – that has struggled mightily in recent years.

About 18.36 per cent of the money wagered on NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year is on Penny, who was a star at San Diego State (2,248 yards rushing and 23 touchdowns as a senior in 2017) before his selection by the Seahawks.

There may be some obstacles in his way, if Penny is to achieve this feat.

He’s dealing with a hand injury suffered in practice, although he could be ready by the beginning of the Seahawks season on Sept. 9. There is also stiff competition with Chris Carson, the 2017 seventh-round pick that quickly took over the starting duties last season before those duties were just as quickly taken away because of a season-ending injury.

Kerryon Johnson

Kerryon Johnson

Offensive Rookie odds: 30.00


Kerryon Johnson’s stock has risen in fantasy football drafts with an ADP that continues to climb the charts. For betting purposes, 11.5 per cent of money wagered on Offensive Rookie of the Year is on the Detroit Lions first-year running back.

At odds of 30.00, you can understand when you look at the potential of, say, a $10 wager.

Not since 2013 have the Lions had a player rush for 1,000-plus yards, and, according to reports, it’s only happened twice in the last 14 years, which seems astonishing in the NFL.

It would take more than just a 1,000-yard rushing season for Johnson to win Offensive Rookie of the Year, though it would be a good place to start. He’s impressed during training camp and preseason, which has, as you’d expect, garnered considerable buzz prior to the regular season.

Hayden Hurst

Offensive Rookie odds: 200.00

Hayden Hurst

At odds of 200.00, Hayden Hurst isn’t the longest shot in this category. That distinction belongs to Will Hernandez of the New York Giants -- at odds of 500.00.

Still, 8.5 per cent of the money is on the Baltimore Ravens tight end – taken 25th overall in the 2018 NFL Draft – to win Offensive Rookie of the Year, which is interesting because at 24 years old, Hurst has already had a taste of professional sports as a baseball player and a Pittsburgh Pirates draft pick.

Of further interest is quarterback Joe Flacco’s past dependence on tight ends in the passing game, although it would take something spectacular for Hurst to upend the competition ahead of him in this category.

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