Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert is now the overwhelming favorite to win the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year after Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow suffered a season-ending knee injury on Sunday. The two quarterbacks were locked in a battle at sportsbooks for the postseason honor, but Burrow’s misfortune now gives Herbert a wide lead.
Burrow, the No. 1 overall draft pick by the Bengals, was the favorite before the season to win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year at +240. Herbert, who was picked sixth by the Chargers, was way down the list at +2000.
The rookie wasn’t a starter at the beginning of the year, but was pressed into service when Tyrod Taylor was injured after the first game of the season. Herbert started the following week when Taylor’s lung was punctured by the Chargers’ team doctor while administrating a painkiller before a game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Taylor was never able to regain the starting QB job as Herbert shined as the team’s first-string signal-caller. As the season wore on, Herbert’s odds of winning the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year improved.
NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Odds
|Odds Nov. 24||Odds Sept. 1|
|Justin Herbert, Chargers||-900||+2000|
|Joe Burrow, Bengals||Off-Board||+240|
|Tua Tagovailoa, Dolphins||+400||+1400|
|Justin Jefferson, Vikings||+1400||+2200|
|James Robinson, Jaguars||+2000||+25000|
|Tee Higgins, Bengals||+3300||+6000|
|Chase Claypool, Steelers||+3300||+5000|
Herbert became the favorite to win Offensive Rookie of the Year two weeks ago, jumping ahead of Burrow at +125, while Burrow was at +150.
Injury Gives Huge Edge to Herbert
It was early in the third quarter and Burrow was in the pocket when he got hit, high and low, by a pair of Washington defenders, severely injuring his knee. Before the Bengals even had a chance to release an official statement, Burrow took to Twitter to give fans the bad news.
Thanks for all the love. Can’t get rid of me that easy. See ya next year✊
— Joey Burrow (@JoeyB) November 22, 2020
The bad news got worse on Monday as Burrow reportedly tore not only his ACL, but his MCL as well.
This Joe Burrow injury is brutal. It pops out and then back in. 🥴 pic.twitter.com/AMWVZvgIud
— Joseph Cecena (@joe2strong) November 22, 2020
Some criticized Cincinnati head coach Zak Taylor for not doing enough to protect Burrow. The rookie had been sacked 32 times in 10 games. Taylor pushed back and said the team has made progress over recent weeks.
“People keep talking about the offensive line without seemingly watching the film for the last four weeks,” Taylor said. “Again, those guys have done a good job, it’s been a revolving door of players — they have been doing a great job.”
Can Anyone Upset Herbert?
Even though Herbert is now anywhere from -500 to -900 to win the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award, there are some long shots who could, possibly, pull off the upset. The first is James Robinson of the Jacksonville Jaguars. The undrafted running back signed with the Jaguars as a free agent. He made the team and has rocketed up the odds board for the award, going from +25000 to +2000.
Another skill position player who’s made a move is Pittsburgh wide receiver Chase Claypool. The former Notre Dame standout has 559 yards in 10 games, including eight touchdowns. He began the year at +5000, but has moved up to +3300.