Thursday, May 1st, 2008 at
Now that the NFL draft is over, the odds makers have spoken with what they think about this years draft class. The leading candidate for Offensive Rookie of the Year is Darren McFadden currently at 3-1 odds. The surprise 2nd choice is Jacksonville’s Jonathan Stewart at 6-1 odds, followed by Matt Ryan at 8-1, Kevin Smith at 9-1, Rashard Mendenhall at 10-1 and Felix Jones at 12-1 odds. Anyone that wants to make some long-shot bets can look at #1 draft choice Jake Long who is at 30-1 odds or Earl Bennett at 100-1 odds.
No surprise that running backs are the top choices here because since 1997, 7 out of 11 times a running back has won the award with WR and QB’s winning the award twice each. I am surprised that Joe Flacco has just 18-1 odds at winning the award, behind even 2nd round draft choice Devin Thomas who is at 16-1. I guess they are expecting a Boller-type effort from the Baltimore rookie. Also interesting is that Mendenhall is ahead of Felix Jones in the lines, even though Jones went before him in the draft. Both will be on running back by committee teams, but apparently the odds makers like the chances that Mendenhall will overtake or steal carries from Willie Parker more than Jones doing the same with Marion Barber.
The biggest shocker is that Kevin Smith in Detroit, a 3rd round pick and #64 overall is at 9-1 odds, the 4th most favorite person to win the rookie of the year! 7 running backs were chosen before Smith but he is the 3rd favorite running back to win the award. Do they know something we don’t? Sure he’s probably going to start, but that certainly does not guarantee success in Detroit, i mean have they had a good running back there since Barry Sanders? Also surprising is that Matt Forte, the 44th pick in the draft is at 13-1 odds to win, ahead of Chris Johnson, the 24th pick, who is at 18-1. They must not think highly of the RB situation in Tennessee.
At Defensive Rookie of the Year the odds makers are liking Chris Long at 4-1 odds. Long is followed by Vernon Gholston at 5-1, Derrick Harvey at 7-1, Keith Rivers at 10-1, and Jerod Mayo and Glen Dorsey at 12-1 odds.
I find these odds interesting because looking at who the odds makers like for the rookies of the year might be an early indicator of how well a team did in drafting its players. Dorsey was drafted before Gholston but the odds makers think Gholston has a better chance of being the best rookie defender in 2008. Sedrick Ellis who was taken just after Gholston has 16-1 odds of winning the title while Derrick Harvey who was taken after Ellis is 7-1. This might lead one to believe that some of those later picks might have been better picks.
I’m going to discount that theory right now just for the defensive rookie of the year selection because I think the odds distribution probably has to do more with Long, Gholston and Harvey playing DE as opposed to DT, a more “glamorous” line position. However, since 1997 a linebacker has won the award 8 out of the last 11 years with a defensive end winning just twice and a corner (Charles Woodson) winning once. This might lead one to believe there is some value in picking one of the linebackers if you were a gambling man since it appears like the odds makers are overvaluing the defensive ends and undervaluing the linebackers that were taken. The last time a defensive tackle has won the award was 1994, I’d stay away.
Plenty more interesting bets to look at for sure including which Redskins rookie receiver will have the most yards (Devin Thomas is the favorite at -145), which Ravens QB will throw the most touchdowns (Flacco is at 21-20 odds there) and which rookie QB will start a game first between Brian Brohm (-110) and John David Booty (-130).
All of this is interesting to look at and helps to give another, possibly more unbiased, look at the NFL season ahead. Should be a fun year, is it training camp time already?
All odds from Bodog.com