NFL OROY Odds Race: Ja’Marr Chase or Mac Jones?

After a monster Week 17 showing, does Ja’Marr Chase have a shot at running down Mac Jones to win the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award?
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NFL OROY Odds Race: Ja’Marr Chase or Mac Jones?

Prior to Week 17 in the NFL, many betting analysts viewed the Offensive Rookie of the Year race as a done deal. Most oddsmakers did as well, as New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones was a -500 favorite. Jones did nothing to hurt his stock on Sunday, but Cincinnati Bengals wideout Ja’Marr Chase certainly boosted his. Bettors now must determine whether Chase’s massive Week 17 performance was enough to upset the OROY odds race.

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Ja’Marr Chase Delivers Elite Single-Game Receiving Performance

No one could have imagined Ja’Marr Chase making such an incredible impact in his very first NFL season. Many felt that the Bengals would opt to beef up a suspect offensive line with the No. 6 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Instead, they added to an already rich receiving corps by selecting Joe Burrow’s former LSU teammate in Chase. The two have hardly missed a beat from their national championship season two years ago.

After taking the league by storm and being the odds-on favorite to win OROY, Chase hit a bit of a lull starting in Week 9. Over the next six games, he only topped 52 receiving yards one time. Week 15 was by far his worst outing of the season. A stingy Denver Broncos defense held the rookie to just three yards on one reception.

Rather than hang his head, Chase got back to work. His 125-yard effort last Sunday proved to simply be the table-setter for a historic Week 17 performance. Chase caught 11 of 12 targets for a whopping 266 yards and three touchdowns in the Bengals’ upset win over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Just one week after Joe Burrow etched his name among the top-five passing yardage games in NFL history, Chase delivered a top-15 receiving yardage performance. His 266 yards rank 14th all-time among the greatest single-game efforts.

Can Ja’Marr Chase Catch Mac Jones in OROY Odds Race?

Not only did Chase’s big day help Cincinnati clinch the AFC North Division title, but Chase also undoubtedly won numerous fantasy football managers their league championships. Knowing the impact that fantasy has on how fans and the media view today’s NFL, one has to believe that the 21-year-old gained ground on Mac Jones in the OROY race. The table below lists the Offensive Rookie of the Year betting odds prior to Week 17 action.

PlayerOROY Odds
Mac Jones-500
Ja'Marr Chase+300
Jaylen Waddle+5000

While one has to believe that the gap between Jones and Chase will shrink after the latter’s record-setting day, the Patriots young signal-caller had a pretty phenomenal Week 17 effort of his own. Yes, Jones notched his 227 passing yards and three touchdowns against the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars. That said, it was a nice bounceback after one of his worst games of the season a week ago. New England also clinched a playoff berth as a result of the blowout win.

With just one week remaining in the regular season, this year’s NFL OROY race is still very much up in the air. Expect Jones to remain the odds-on favorite given the quarterback-centric nature of the game. Assuming Chase still carries a plus-money price when the OROY odds reopen, bettors may want to consider a wager on the star Bengals wideout. After all, the Bengals would almost certainly not be AFC North Division champs without him. 

The fact that Jones has served as more of a game-manager QB at times for the run-heavy Patriots offense could turn some voters off. Then again, what the former Alabama signal-caller has done as a rookie at the hardest position in football has been quite impressive. When it comes down to it, the Week 18 performance of both Jones and Chase could ultimately sway the OROY voters.

Bettors can comfortably rule out Miami Dolphins wideout Jaylen Waddle after Week 17. While Waddle has been phenomenal in serving as the top target for Tua Tagovailoa, a quiet game in Sunday’s loss to the Tennessee Titans was the final blow to what was already a longshot OROY case.

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Henry has had a passion for sports that few can match for as long as he can remember. What started out as a five-year-old taking interest in the New York Jets and their green jerseys has since become a full-fledged career as a writer and sports betting analyst. His coverage primarily includes the NFL, MLB, NBA, NASCAR, college football, and college basketball. In 2020, he ranked among the top-10 most accurate experts ATS in the BettingPros NFL season contest. You can follow Henry’s sports work on Twitter and other social media platforms @HankTimeSports.

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