He was one of the riskier NFL picks on the props market, but Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston is in the driver's seat for Offensive Rookie of the Year honors.
Jason's 2015 record as of Dec. 16: 48-45-2 ATS; 0-1 ML (-1.00 units); 25-31 Total
There's no reward without risk. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers took a big risk this summer when they used their No. 1 draft pick to take QB Jameis Winston. And the Buccaneers have been rewarded thus far: Winston is three games away from taking down Offensive Rookie of the Year honors, as voted on by members of the Associated Press.
Okay, maybe we're jumping the gun a bit. Looking at some of the scattered NFL odds still available on this prop in those nebulous “overseas” markets, Winston is around even money to win the Offensive ROY vote, after going into the regular season as the +500 favorite. However, there are only four other guys in the race – three, depending on where you shop – and it's going to be tough for any of them to overtake Winston.
He's a Gurley Man
The second favorite, and apparently a very popular bet in the marketplace, is St. Louis Rams RB Todd Gurley. The No. 10 overall pick in the draft opened at +800 and is now available as short as +180; Gurley didn't become their cowbell back until Week 4, but the Rams have fed him the ball ever since, and he's close to breaking the 1,000-yard mark at 975 rushing yards (5.2 yards per carry).
Things get pretty dicey after that. Our preseason NFL pick, Tennessee Titans QB Marcus Mariota, is still in the running at around +500. Mariota was a bit of a value pick when we got him at +1200, and he's certainly been valuable to the Titans, but both Mariota's stats and the performance of his team haven't been as good as Winston's. Trailing the Offensive ROY pack: Oakland Raiders WR Amari Cooper (+700) and, where available, Arizona Cardinals RB David Johnson (+1400).
Things could still go wrong for Winston, of course. He's been pretty quiet the last three games after throwing five TD passes in Week 11 against the Philadelphia Eagles. Tampa Bay went 1-2 SU and ATS to fall two games out of a Wild Card spot in the NFC; a stronger playoff push would no doubt have cemented the ROY award for Winston.
We're still inclined to recommend a cheeky little bet on Winston if you can find him. This situation reminds us a bit about how Winston was priced at –400 to be the No. 1 pick in the draft, at a time when it was basically an open secret that Tampa Bay wanted him to be their quarterback of the future. In this case, there's more risk because of what may happen with Winston over the next three games, but there's also more reward at even money. I seem to recall something someone said about that sometime ago.