NFL OPOY Betting Insights: Viking Quest

Outside of Most Valuable Player, is there a better NFL award for fantasy junkies, stat seekers, and fans of points on the board? This year’s top crop features two Comeback Player of the Year candidates, the 2021 OPOY, a four horsemen of signal callers, and last year’s rushing king as the odds-on favorite.

Top-10 Offensive Player of the Year Odds                                                                                                 

Jonathan Taylor: +1000
Derrick Henry: +1200
Cooper Kupp: +1300
Deebo Samuel: +1500
Davante Adams: +2100
Nick Chubb: +2100
Lamar Jackson: +2100
Justin Jefferson: +2100
Patrick Mahomes: +2100
Christian McCaffrey, Josh Allen, Justin Herbert, Kyler Murray: +2600                                                                           

Despite the above list of accomplishments and compliments, the 2019 Sporting News Rookie of the Year is burning up BetMGM faster than he burns cornerbacks. While Justin Jefferson is tied as the fifth favorite on the board but has the highest ticket percentage (9.2), handle percentage (13.2), and the book’s most significant liability.

Offensive Player of the Year BetMGM Insights

Highest Ticket %: Justin Jefferson
Highest Handle %: Justin Jefferson
Highest Liability: Justin Jefferson

At 21-to-1, both the public and the sharps obviously see value here. There is a four percent difference between the number of bets cast on the Vikings wideout as money wagered. The discrepancy suggests sharp dollars are pushing the total amount of money spent on Jefferson. 

There’s only been minimal line movement as Double J opened at +2000, which is a little surprising seeing the gap between ticket and handle.

For Jefferson to pull off the OPOY trick, he would join some elite company. There have only been three wide receivers to win the award, with two coming in the past three seasons.

Cooper Kupp won it last year after taking the triple crown, leading the league in receiving yards, receptions, and touchdown catches. He set franchise records with 145 receptions and 1,947 REC yards. The Rams wideout was just 18 yards shy of breaking Calvin Johnson’s NFL single-season record.

Michael Thomas took home the award for the New Orleans Saints following a record-breaking 2019 campaign. Thomas broke the NFL’s single-season mark with 149 catches while adding 1725 yards and nine touchdowns. The Ohio State standout was the first receiver to win the award in more than a quarter century. Before Thomas came the man who set the standard for the position.

The only two-time recipient is widely regarded as the best wide receiver of all time. Jerry Rice rewrote the NFL record book during his career, and 1993 was just another of many dominant seasons. The Hall of Famer has 98 catches, over 1500 yards, and 15 touchdowns. While the 15 scores are impressive, they pale in comparison to his career-high 22 when he won the 1987 award.

Jefferson has all the tools to pull it off following a 2021 campaign that topped some of Rice’s numbers from ’93. The 2020 second overall pick came down with 108 balls for over 1,600 yards. Granted, it’s a much pass heavier league than in the San Fran legend’s heyday, but Jefferson is doing these things at an age two years younger than when Rice won the ’87 hardware.

If he can pull it off, Jefferson would become the youngest receiver to ever win the award at 23. Judging by the number of tickets and money coming in on Kirk Cousins’s favorite target, the believers are certainly out there.