Would you rather? Breaking down odds for NFL offensive awards

·5-min read

All season long, we've been breaking down weekly betting lines by asking questions through the lens of "Would you rather?" With the regular season winding down, we thought we'd expand to a more general overview of the current market for end of season awards. Let's focus on the two major offensive awards.

Would you rather bet Jonathan Taylor or Cooper Kupp to win offensive player of the year?

Jonathan Taylor and Cooper Kupp have both had tremendous seasons for their respective teams. It's a complete tossup when it comes to the betting odds as to which player will win offensive player of the year. Both Taylor and Kupp currently sit at -110 to win the award. Which player would you rather be holding a betting ticket on?

Frank Schwab: This is a tough one (and not just because I have some Taylor futures). I think the tiebreaker here is that while Taylor has been phenomenal, laps ahead of every other running back this season, Kupp's season will be historic. He needs 136 yards to beat Calvin Johnson's record. He can break Michael Thomas' record for receptions with 12 catches. Even in a 17-game season, records like that will resonate with voters. Kupp is the play for me.

Greg Brainos: I predicted early last season that Taylor was going to be an elite NFL running back. He’s having a terrific year, but it’s not on the verge of being historic like Kupp’s. Through 16 games, Taylor ranks 29th on the single-season rushing yards ladder. Kupp currently ranks fifth for most receiving yards and third for most receptions in a season. Twelve catches and 136 receiving yards against the Niners on Sunday would break both records. Kupp is the clear choice for me.

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - DECEMBER 26: Cooper Kupp #10 of the Los Angeles Rams reacts after fielding a punt in the third quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium on December 26, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
Will Cooper Kupp win offensive player of the year? (David Berding/Getty Images)

Pete Truszkowski: I don't disagree with the Kupp choice, but I'll be different and make a case for Taylor here. While Kupp is definitely the main focus of the Rams offense, there's more there. Matthew Stafford will get credit for elevating this offense. Odell Beckham Jr. is a big name and while his numbers might not be crazy, he's scoring touchdowns with the Rams. Both Sony Michel and Darrell Henderson have run the ball effectively. Even Sean McVay gets a lot of credit for their schemes. When you look at the Colts offensively, it's basically all Taylor. He gets all of the credit from onlookers. Carson Wentz is often criticized, there are no big-name receivers, and Frank Reich isn't heralded as some offensive genius. Kupp's performance might be more impressive from a raw numbers and statistics point of view, but Taylor's might be the most impactful performance for any offense of any team in this league. I think I just talked myself into Taylor.

Would you rather bet Ja'Marr Chase or Mac Jones to win offensive rookie of the year?

The race for offensive rookie of the year flipped completely in Week 17. Despite his team scoring 50 points last week and him being the odds-on favorite to win the award for most of the season, Mac Jones is now a +185 underdog to win offensive rookie of the year. After a video game-esque performance in Week 17, Ja'Marr Chase is now a -225 favorite to win the award. Would you rather lay the juice or take a plus-money shot on a quarterback?

Frank: I've become cynical on awards and the process. Basically, if a quarterback can win, he'll win. That's how it has gone over and over. So while Chase probably should win, I can't get it out of my head that Jones will get votes simply because he had a solid season and he's a quarterback. That bias is why I don't think taking Jones at plus odds is crazy.

Greg: Jones entered Week 17 as the -500 favorite for OROY, threw three touchdowns en route to a 50-10 win, and ended up as a +185 dog after the weekend wrapped. That’s how dominant Ja’Marr Chase’s performance was. He’s out there doing Randy Moss things in an offense that hadn’t really opened up the passing game until two weeks ago. As much as we (deservedly) gushed about Justin Jefferson’s production last season, his former LSU teammate has eclipsed his yardage total and nearly doubled his touchdowns from 2020. Jones has been impressive while leading the Patriots back to the playoffs as a rookie. I own a Big Mac OROY ticket, but this award belongs to Chase.

Pete: I'll echo what both Greg and Frank said in that Chase has certainly been the more dominant rookie and deserves to win this award. Jones has been a very efficient and effective game manager, which is nothing to look down on as a rookie on a playoff team. However, Chase is already one of the better receivers in this league. This question becomes an odds analysis though, as Chase's -225 price suggests that he wins this award 70% of the time. It's close, but I think the quarterback factor makes this closer to a 60-40 proposition. For that reason, I don't mind getting Jones at plus-money right now.

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