The 2021 NFL season has officially passed its midway point and the award scene is beginning to take shape. Several offensive rookies have made significant impacts on their new teams. Rookie quarterbacks Justin Fields and Mac Jones are taking progressive steps forward on a weekly basis and skill players such as Najee Harris and Kyle Pitts are comfortably growing into their roles.
With that said, the NFL futures prop betting landscape for the 2021 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year is looking more decisive with each passing day. BetOnline recently updated their odds, and the top six shakes out as follows:
- JA’MARR CHASE (-160)
- MAC JONES (+200)
- NAJEE HARRIS (+500)
- JUSTIN FIELDS (+2500)
- TREVOR LAWRENCE (+2800)
- KYLE PITTS (+3300)
The list has gotten considerably shorter since we last took a look at these here. It makes sense, seeing that the top-end players have begun to separate themselves from the pack. This is how we see things shaking out currently.
THE FAVORITE AND MY PICK: JA’MARR CHASE
It’s easy to understand why Chase is considered the current favorite by oddsmakers. Quarterbacks almost always take home this honor, but Chase appears set to serve as the exception to the rule. The former LSU standout has absolutely taken the league by storm while terrorizing opposing secondaries on what feels like a weekly basis.
Chase has surpassed his lofty expectations and currently ranks third in the NFL in receiving yards (835), trailing just Deebo Samuel (882) and Cooper Kupp (1,019) for the league lead in the ever-important metric. Chase is also threatening to shatter the league’s all-time NFL rookie record for receiving yards, which was set by his former collegiate teammate Justin Jefferson (1,379) just a year ago.
Chase has more than lived up to his draft billing. He’s quickly establishing himself as an elite receiver in the NFL and it would be shocking if he fails to take home this award at this point.
IN THE HUNT: MAC JONES
Jones was considered the favorite in October but has now fallen behind Chase due to the receiver's incredible showings in Cincinnati's high-flying passing attack. Since beginning the campaign in a disappointing 1-3 fashion, the New England Patriots have reigned victorious in four of their last five contests and are shockingly nipping at Buffalo's heels for the divisional lead in the AFC East.
Jones' clear progression has served as a big reason why New England has found their competitive juices as of late. The former Alabama signal-caller has thrown six touchdown passes in his last five appearances and the Patriots are scoring 35 points per contest during an active three-game winning streak. The defense and multi-faceted rushing attack has helped immensely, but Jones is a better quarterback now than he was in Weeks 1-3.
If New England does indeed qualify for the playoffs, it would be a grave error to write off Jones’ chances of capturing the ultimate rookie honor.
DARK HORSE: KYLE PITTS
Pitts was absent from this list altogether midway through October, but the unicorn pass-catcher has exploded in recent weeks and now makes a triumphant debut. Pitts has totaled an astonishing 357 receiving yards in his last four appearances, including a pair of dominant performances against the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins.
Pitts isn’t simply filling the stat sheet in forgettable showings. He’s actively pushing the Atlanta Falcons in the right direction. Since Pitts broke out of his rookie shell in Week 5, the Falcons have compiled an impressive 3-1 record, and now own the final playoff spot in the ever-competitive NFC. General manager Terry Fontenot received a fair bit of criticism for selecting a tight end in the top five of the 2021 NFL Draft, but Pitts has more than proven his worth thus far.