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The NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year race is already off to a hot start, with two running backs jockeying for the early lead and the top overall pick showing signs of greatness. Here are the updated odds after Week 1 with five of our favorite bets.
|Michael Pittman Jr.||+6000|
|Laviska Shenault Jr.||+10000|
I probably don't need to sell you on Edwards-Helaire. The Kansas City Chiefs back totaled 138 yards and a score on Thursday and didn't even see a target in the passing game, a situation that surely won't last for long given his skill set as a pass-catcher.
His usage on the ground is encouraging, though. His 25 carries were easily the most by a Kansas City back in almost two years, and it marked the first time the Chiefs attempted more rushes than passes since Patrick Mahomes became the starter. If Andy Reid keeps using the LSU product like a workhorse back, even a price this short will be hard to fade.
Quarterbacks will always have a slight advantage in the Rookie of the Year race, and Burrow's performance Sunday shouldn't dissuade bettors. He engineered a nearly picturesque game-winning drive before his teammates let him down late, teasing the type of "franchise QB" upside the Cincinnati Bengals were counting on when they drafted him. A few more instances of late-game heroics could put him in the driver's seat to win this award.
If you're targeting one clear contender at decent odds, make it Taylor. We know he's a threat on the ground, but the Indianapolis Colts back flashed his pass-catching chops with six catches for 67 yards on Sunday - a valuable skill to have with Philip Rivers at QB. The bigger news was the season-ending injury to Marlon Mack, which could free up Taylor to run away with this award behind a stout O-line.
Dobbins doesn't have the same yardage ceiling as the other two running backs on this list, but he'll have plenty of chances to score. The Baltimore Ravens rookie scored twice Sunday and was the only Ravens back to reach the end zone, which signals a potential goal-line role for the former Ohio State star. Considering how often this team is in the red zone, Dobbins could post double-digit touchdowns as a long shot.
Wide receivers never win this award, so I don't fault oddsmakers for being a little pessimistic about Shenault's chances. But 100-1? The Jacksonville Jaguars rookie entered the season with promise as a creative offensive weapon, and he flashed it Sunday with two rushes for 10 yards and three catches for 37 yards and a score.
The best case for Shenault is that, unlike most receivers before him, he can impact the game rushing and receiving. That could make him a compelling choice in voters' eyes. It's unlikely, but at this price, it's an easy play.
C Jackson Cowart is a betting writer for theScore. He's an award-winning journalist with stops at The Charlotte Observer, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Times Herald-Record, and BetChicago. He's also a proud graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, and his love of sweet tea is rivaled only by that of a juicy prop bet. Find him on Twitter @CJacksonCowart.