Johnny Manziel Getting Plenty Of Rookie Of The Year Love, But Mike Evans Isn’t
by Bovada Sportsbook Staff | August 8, 2014
Are you tired of hearing about Johnny Manziel yet? Johnny Football seems to be in the headlines every day, and it’s about to get worse because Manziel will make his NFL debut in Saturday night’s Browns at Lions exhibition game. At least we will finally know if Manziel has the game to back up all this hype.
Manziel is currently No. 2 on Cleveland’s depth chart behind Brian Hoyer, who will start Saturday. However, Manziel could start next week at Washington. First-year head coach Mike Pettine wants to name a starter by the team’s third preseason game, which will happen on August 23 at home against St. Louis. Think the Cleveland fans might make their opinions known that night?
Bettors on Bovada’s NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year prop are certainly on the Manziel bandwagon as the book focuses on him. When this prop opened right after May’s draft, Manziel was the third-favorite at +750 after being selected No. 22 overall. If he had gone in the Top 10 in the draft, he would have been the OROY favorite because Top-10 rookie quarterbacks are usually assured of starting right away. Manziel has dropped to the +600 second-favorite on the prop. Somehow, Cleveland has never managed to have an OROY winner.
The Bills gave up a first- and fourth-round pick in next year’s draft to move up five spots to Cleveland’s No. 4 overall draft position in May, and Buffalo took Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins. He was the most electric player in the draft, but that was a very heavy price to pay. If Buffalo keeps losing like it has, the Browns are going to be in business in the 2015 draft. Watkins opened as +400 to win OROY and has risen to +450. He is now the favorite. While we don’t know if Manziel will start Week 1, there’s no question Watkins will.
The second receiver to go in the draft was Texas A&M’s Mike Evans at No. 7 to Tampa Bay. Evans was on the end of many of those big passing plays from Manziel with the Aggies. Evans is not drawing much action from bettors. The book opened him as the +300 favorite as Evans was going to a presumably better team than Watkins was, plus the Bucs have veteran quarterback, Josh McCown, while Watkins has inexperienced EJ Manuel throwing to him. Evans has risen to +900, the sixth-favorite on the prop.
The final pick of the first round was Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, with Minnesota trading back into the round to get him. Coach Mike Zimmer stated that Bridgewater has a legitimate shot to beat out incumbent Matt Cassel for the Vikings’ starting job. That has piqued bettors’ interest. Bridgewater opened at +1200 for OROY and is now the +750 third-favorite. A quarterback had won the award three years in a row until Green Bay running back Eddie Lacy stopped that in 2013.
The current favorites are rounded out by Tennessee running back Bishop Sankey and New Orleans receiver Brandin Cooks, each +800. Sankey went No. 54 overall in May, the latest the first running back has ever come off the board in the draft. He could win the starting job in camp over Shonn Greene. Sankey opened at +1500. Cooks has dropped from an opening of +1000, and he figures to catch plenty of Drew Brees passes. A receiver hasn’t won this award since 2003.
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