NFL Defensive ROY Betting Insights: Feed the Lion

The Detroit Lions had Michigan standout Aidan Hutchinson fall into their laps at number two overall in the 2022 NFL draft, and he’s already attracting bettors.

Multiple high-end defensive players entered the NFL in this draft class, and there’s a lot to be excited about with this group of players. 

After being selected first overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars, Travon Walker out of Georgia isn’t being backed by bettors to win defensive rookie of the year, despite having the third highest odds to win the award at +1000 on the BetMGM Sportsbook. Walker has seen just 1.4% of tickets and 1.2% of the handle go in his direction, with other players clearly more suited to make an immediate impact on their respective defense units. 

Much of that action has gravitated towards Hutchinson (+650) with the Detroit Lions, and it’s hard to say that attention isn’t warranted. The 22-year-old defensive end adds a pass rush element to a Lions team that desperately needs it, and bettors have seen through Jacksonville’s potential mistake of passing on this player.

Defensive Rookie of the Year Insights @BetMGM

  • Highest Ticket%: Aidan Hutchinson 45.3%
  • Highest Handle%: Aidan Hutchinson 44.4%
  • Biggest Liability: Aidan Hutchinson

Hutchinson is the only player with more than 10% of tickets, seeing a whopping 45.3% headed in his direction. In addition, the former Wolverine also boasts an impressive 44.4% of the handle. Despite playing only 11 snaps in his preseason debut for the Lions, you can already see the makings of a special player here, which correlates with the money and tickets flowing in his direction. As a result, though, Hutchinson is the biggest liability for the book to take home the award. 

Another player that should be highlighted here is Kayvon Thibodeaux, who was selected fifth overall by the New York Giants. There’s never been a question about his freaky skillset, more so his desire to play the game and his commitment to it.

Even with Hutchinson owning such a high percentage of bets, the Oregon product has seen some big bets placed in his direction, holding 14.5% of the handle, compared to just 7.7% of tickets. Thibodeaux currently has odds of +650 to win the award, and the Giants will need every ounce of help they can get from him on defense to disrupt opposing quarterbacks. This feels like a boom or bust decision, with the boom giving him potential to wreak havoc on the league, while the bust could see him struggle in his rookie campaign. 

Hutchinson and Thibodeaux are the two players that have stuck out to bettors, and there’s reason to believe they’re on the right track with the upside potential both present.