The 2020 NFL season is still a few months away but that won’t stop us from looking for value NFL picks. Franchises looked poised to play this year despite the COVID concerns, even if that means games are played without fans in attendance. We know we’ll be betting regardless of whether we’re watching from home or in the stands.
We’ve scoured our favorite betting sites to find the best NFL rookie value bets for the 2020 season. The offseason has led to some clearly improved rosters and others that have us scratching our heads. Now is the time to get the best return with our future picks.
Make sure to let us know what your top rookie over under bets for 2020 are so we can compare our thoughts.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
The NFL draft hasn’t shown a massive valuation of running backs over the last half-decade, but the best offenses have benefitted from upgrading the position with the right back. Clyde Edwards-Helaire wasn’t the pick I’d have made if I were the Chiefs, but he made sense as a fit and will be a terrific producer right away. He’s not only destined to be a fantasy stud, but also someone we can win the over bet on as a rookie.
The Chiefs running game wasn’t great in totality last year thanks to injuries to Patrick Mahomes and both Damien Williams and LeSean McCoy. But enter CEH, who is fresher and reliable between the tackles than both, and he can put up monstrous numbers in the red zone. I expect he’ll average near five yards per carry and seven yards per catch, and that projects to over 1,100 yards with a reasonable workload over 16 weeks and with Williams’ presence.
CeeDee Lamb, WR, Dallas Cowboys
On the opposite spectrum of CEH going over, there’s too much expectation on CeeDee Lamb to be a superstar right away with the Dallas Cowboys. My top receiver in the class, Lamb’s addition was a bonafide home run for the offense but not for Lamb’s production. Being surrounded by two excellent receivers in Michael Gallup and Amari Cooper, plus Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard in the backfield, there’s little chance Lamb hits over 850 yards.
Lamb will bring excitement with his ability to make plays after the catch on slants, screens, and post routes, but his ability to breakout will be difficult since Mike McCarthy will still want closer to a balanced identity than an Air Raid attack. I expect Dak Prescott will be a happy man regardless considering the talent level around him, but don’t lose money just because he’s a big name on an explosive offense.
Chase Young, Edge, Washington Redskins
Simply in terms of talent, Chase Young is as good as any pass rusher as we’ve seen since Von Miller came out of Texas A&M. He’s a freak athlete with great polish already, and he’s a near-lock to be a dominant force in the NFL. But he’s also on a loaded defensive front that has a lot of mouths who can steal sacks from him and history isn’t on his side for getting nine or more sacks.
Could he prove to have a Miller, Aldon Smith or Shawne Merriman-type impact with double digit sacks right out of the gate? Absolutely, the talent is clear. However even DeMarcus Ware, J.J. Watt and Khalil Mack failed to clear this number because rookies have to learn the hard way and sacks are tough to finish.
The Redskins still have Ryan Kerrigan, plus we can expect a jump out of youngsters Montez Sweat, Da’Ron Payne and Jonthan Allen. It’s a tough ask for Young to hit double-digit sacks, even if he’s perfectly capable of it.
Jeff Okudah, CB, Detroit Lions
This line is based on Jeff Okudah’s lack of ball production at Ohio State, but anyone who actually watched Okudah knows he’s plenty talented at finding the ball. Interceptions take luck, but he’ll be in a position to steal the ball away from receivers at a higher rate than most rookie cornerbacks. He’s too sticky and fluid in coverage to not catch at least three birds.
He’s surrounded by quality talent within the Detroit secondary and those veterans should actually benefit Okudah’s transition. Desmond Trufant has a little left in the tank, and Justin Coleman is a very good slot corner. I’m optimistic that youngsters Tracy Walker and Will Harris can round out a unit that’s struggled in recent years.
Joe Burrow, QB, Cincinnati Bengals
The only way Joe Burrow doesn’t break Baker Mayfield’s rookie passing touchdown record is that his offensive line utterly fails (which is possible), Zac Taylor is incompetent (also possible), or Burrow gets hurt. But even still, the offensive weaponry around the talented Burrow should make surpassing 22.5 touchdowns highly likely barring an early injury. The No. 1 overall pick has a tremendous set of playmakers in addition to an offensive system that looks like a nice fit for Burrow’s skill set.
I don’t love the lines on interceptions or yards but touchdowns looks more promising. A.J. Green, Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd, Auden Tate, Joe Mixon and John Ross bring a lot of variety and upside as a unit. Taylor shouldn’t struggle to create a game plan that creates several scoring opportunities each week.
Burrow’s drastically more dangerous than Andy Dalton, and I expect the rookie to create fireworks even as he adjusts to faster defenses and smaller passing windows.
Henry Ruggs III, WR, Las Vegas Raiders
I wasn’t really buying Henry Ruggs’ stock prior to the draft but am certainly selling his Year 1 production in 2020 after seeing him land in Las Vegas. While the Raiders needed his speed and another legitimate receiver, Jon Gruden found a good formula in 2019 on how to be competitive with Derek Carr. That doesn’t include asking him to throw deep balls or hit timing routes to speedy receivers.
Ruggs is a major upside upgrade over every receiver not named Tyrell Williams on the roster and will see a considerable workload, but I’m not convinced he’ll be able to average over 16 yards per catch, which is about what he’d need to hit that total. Only 10 receivers notched that figure last year, with rookies Terry McLaurin and D.K. Metcalf falling short. Both of those two receivers are better talents than Ruggs.
Long-term, I think Ruggs can be a solid starter with explosive moments. It’s just hard to project him to hit a total that even Williams couldn’t in an injury-shortened campaign.