NFL Betting: Defensive Rookie of the Year Value Pick
Before we know it, another season will pass, and in its place will be a shining, new NFL season, with shining, new players amidst the accomplished ones. While anticipation grows, Bodog’s eyes are firmly fixed on finding the finest value picks in all the biggest football betting markets, and no serious list could overlook this particularly exciting and popular futures category: NFL rookie betting.
Each season, two new players receive the honour that their peers have only imagined; one from an offensive position and one who plays defence. In recent years, we’ve seen recipients of the award, including Justin Herbert, Nick Bosa, and Odell Beckham Jr., go on to achieve the biggest of big things.
2022 Rookie of the Year Favourites
Some of the most promising players from the college level begin as the favourites to win one of the two prestigious Rookie of the Year Awards. 2022 is no exception, and Bodog already has a strong list of favourites with decent NFL odds in the running.
- Kenny Pickett (+500) – A quarterback who played for the Pittsburgh Panthers, 20th overall pick in the NFL Draft this year, and the ACC Player of the Year.
- Christian Watson (+600) – The 34th overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft, a wide receiver who made 801 receiving yards from 12 games in 2021 while playing for North Dakota State.
- Treylon Burks (+700) – Another wide receiver, Burks was the 18th overall pick in this year’s Draft after making an impressive 1,104 receiving yards from 12 games at Arkansas.
- Aidan Hutchinson (+424) – A defensive end from Michigan who stayed close to home for college. The second overall pick in the Draft and winner of several prestigious awards, including the Ted Hendricks Award, Lombardi Award, and Lott Trophy.
- Kayvon Thibodeaux (+500) – Achieved 35 solo tackles in 10 games as the outside linebacker for the Oregon Ducks in 2021. He became the fifth overall pick in the Draft after winning the Morris Trophy for being the best lineman in the Pac-12 Conference during the 2021 college season.
- Travon Walker (+600) The overall first pick in this year’s Draft after the Jacksonville Jaguars decided they needed an outside linebacker.
While sheer performance and on-paper achievement makes each of these favourites obvious bet slip choices at the get-go, the savviest of punters know that betting on football often requires a nuanced, even analytical approach. There are other players with longer odds that could offer more value and a higher payout even as they continue to prove their valuable rookie status in the league as a new season gets underway.
Bodog’s Value Pick: Drake London (+900)
One of those players is Drake London. At +900 odds to win the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award, Drake London offers an excellent balance of elevated potential return for a contender with a very real chance of success.
London, a wide receiver, will turn 21 in July, just a few weeks before he’ll be called into battle and asked to give it all he’s got. The rookie began his football career in his hometown of Moorpark in California, where he scored 12 touchdowns from 62 receptions and racked up 1,089 yards as a high school senior.
Because London’s athleticism went beyond the field, he hedged his bets and continued to play basketball until college rolled around. After deciding to attend USC, London committed to playing both football and basketball, but he found more success in the former and accordingly focussed on that talent.
He spent three years at USC where he managed 1,084 yards from 88 receptions, which he converted into seven touchdowns in just eight games. He had to sit out the remainder of the season due to a fractured ankle, but that performance still earned him the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year.
London also made it onto the All-Pac-12 first team for 2021, a step up from the second team in 2020.
Opting to forego his fourth year in college, London declared for the 2022 NFL Draft where he was snapped up by the Atlanta Falcons in the first round.
Drake London and The Atlanta Falcons’ Chances in 2022
As a wide receiver, London may not necessarily be your go-to pick for Offensive Rookie of the Year. The award, like Most Valuable Player, is often dominated by quarterbacks, but non-QBs stand a much better chance for this accolade.
It’s also important to remember what the award is supposed to recognize. It is intended to go to the first-year player that makes the biggest contribution to their team, so a player with more talent can be beaten by one with less ability but more chances to shine on the field.
London is a player who fits this description perfectly. Of course, that’s not to say he’s not talented, he oozes it. After all, he was the first wide receiver to be picked in the 2022 NFL Draft and the 8th overall player.
The Atlanta Falcons are, let’s be honest, not going to be challenging for any trophies this season. They have +2200 odds to win the NFC South, +8000 to win the NFC Conference Championship, and second-to-worst Super Bowl odds of +15000, but London will slip in as a starting WR.
This gives him an opportunity to perform right out of the gate. He’ll be catching the throws of Marcus Mariota who is joining the team from the Raiders. The QB is a decent player, though he hasn’t had much opportunity to prove himself in recent years, so the two could become a strong pairing.
London has a lot going for him. At 6 ft 4 in and 219 lbs, his physique certainly works in his favour, but there’s more to him than that. He’s an incredible jumper, with impeccable leap timing and a wide catch radius. Even though he’s not the fastest runner, he more than makes up for it with his strong ball skills.
Every player has their weaknesses, and for London, it’s that he’s a little lethargic out of release, and we’ve seen him struggle to find downfield routes. That said, these are all areas that can be worked on and are not anything to be too worried about.
Overall, Drake London looks like a promising player for NFL rookie betting at Bodog. It’s unlikely we’ll be seeing him challenging for the Super Bowl next February, but as an individual player, London has a huge opportunity to make a difference at the Falcons. If you lock in London’s NFL odds now and he wins the award, then it’ll be you who’s living in glory at the end of the season.