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Which former Buckeyes have the best odds of bringing home an individual award for the 2022 NFL season?

Despite stiff competition, a former Buckeye has won a prestigious NFL award three years in a row, and there are plenty of candidates to do so again in 2022.

Could both “Brosas” be in the running for this year’s NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award?
Photo by Kiyoshi Mio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Last week, I laid out current team odds for Super Bowl LVII. Excluding the top three favorites (Buffalo, Tampa Bay, Kansas City) – all of whom I would argue against – there are dozens of former Buckeyes on teams projected to compete and potentially make a run at the NFL’s Lombardi Trophy. A few of those scarlet and grey-tinted favorites include the Los Angeles Rams (Jordan Fuller) at +1100, the Green Bay Packers (Josh Myers) at +1140, and the Joey Bosa/Corey Linsley-led Los Angeles Chargers at +1500.

I would be remiss if I did not mention my personal betting favorite: the defending AFC champs, and a future NFL dynasty loaded with former Buckeyes... the Cincinnati Bengals at +2120.

With team odds out of the way, I thought it would also be fun to take a peek at current odds for the NFL’s individual awards. Only one team can win it all, but with Ohio State talent scattered throughout the league, there is a chance we could see a former Buckeye (or two, or three) take home hardware as the most valuable player (MVP), player of the year on offense or defense, or rookie of the year, among other awards.

Recent individual winners include Joe Burrow for 2021 Comeback Player of the Year, Michael Thomas for 2019 Offensive Player of the Year, and Nick Bosa and Chase Young taking home back-to-back Defensive Rookie of the Year awards in 2019 and 2020 respectively. Special shoutout to Mike Vrabel as well, who is obviously not a player, but was recognized as Coach of the Year after the 2021 season.

Disclaimer: Once again, I will be using Vegas Insider odds. Additionally, while there are certain awards for which a former Buckeye is named further down the list, I am choosing to focus on “favorites” — players who currently possess top-5 or top-10 betting odds. Lay your money down at your own risk, but know that you can’t take it with you in the end. Here are the most notable scarlet and gray candidates and their various award odds:


Joe Burrow — QB, Cincinnati Bengals (+1200): This award should just be renamed Quarterback of the Year, but I’ll save that rant for another day. Burrow (who is indeed a former Buckeye) currently owns the sixth-best MVP odds, behind usual suspects Allen, Mahomes, Brady, and Rodgers. Justin Herbert is also in the running, as he owns the fifth-best odds — which I find odd for a player with zero playoff appearances.

But Old Man Brady and Immunized Psychedelic Rodgers will not be around forever, so if Burrow continues his upward trajectory – and most importantly his winning ways – I absolutely believe he will become a perennial top-5 or top-10 guy in the MVP voting. From here on out, if I see Joe Cool at or above 10:1, I am definitely playing those odds.

To show how QB-driven this award is, I will also point out that Justin Fields is +12500 to win. He has better odds than Aaron Donald, Alvin Kamara, and Austin Ekeler... and those are just a few of the names beginning with the letter A.

NFL Offensive Player of the Year

Burrow (+3300), Ezekiel Elliott — RB, Dallas Cowboys & Michael Thomas — WR, New Orleans Saints (both +6000)

They might not look favorable, but these odds are better than you think. Burrow has top-20 odds at +3300, while both Thomas and Elliott are just outside the top-30. And this award is actually open to non-quarterbacks, whereas the MVP has not been won by a skill player since Adrian Peterson in 2012. Bettors have a legitimate shot if/when choosing their favorite RB or WR.

Thomas won this award in 2019 — the last year during which he played at a superstar level/if he played at all. Elliott has been a workhorse, but as a RB, his best years could already be behind him. And Burrow, of course, is the young gun who just led his team to a Super Bowl. If I am making a big bet on OPOTY, I would avoid these former Buckeyes. A QB rarely wins this award, and both Thomas and Elliott need to prove their “eliteness” again before I put money on them. I hope all three play out of their absolute mind(s), but this award is a stay-away.

Ohio State fans are hoping for a return to form by Thomas, who was one of the best players in the NFL when last healthy
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Defensive Player of the Year

Nick Bosa — DE, San Francisco 49ers (+1200): Yes, please. Great odds. The youngest “Brosa” won DROTY in 2019, and has dominated whenever healthy. In his two full seasons, Nick totaled 24.5 sacks, 37 TFL, and 58 QB hits. He has been unreal, and is poised to be even better in 2022, due to his new regimen of eating like the Liver King and squatting Buicks. Nick owns the fifth-best odds for DPOTY, which feels about right for the young star.

Joey Bosa — DE/OLB, Los Angeles Chargers (+2500): This is a situation I will be monitoring closely. Joey Bosa has 58 sacks in 79 career games, and is one of the best run-stoppers in the league at his position. He also set a career-high with seven forced fumbles last season with seven, and was named to his fourth Pro Bowl. He is barely 27 years old. Although it feels like the older Bosa Smash Brother has been in the NFL forever, there is a chance he is still in the beginning stages of his prime. The Chargers added Khalil Mack to work opposite of Bosa, meaning this former Buckeye could see fewer double teams. If he remains healthy throughout the duration of August, I would not mind dropping a few pennies on Joey at 25:1.

Chase Young — DE, Washington Commanders (+2800): Similar to Nick Bosa, Chase Young won DROTY before suffering a significant injury the following season. However, Young was injured mid-season, putting the early portion of his third year at risk. He is not practicing with the team, and the Commanders have acknowledged that he could ultimately miss a few games. For that reason, I am out on Young as DPOTY... in 2022. But I think he’ll get one eventually.

NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year

Chris Olave — WR, New Orleans Saints (+800): New Orleans traded up in the 2022 NFL Draft to get Olave, so he should absolutely have a role. But with Michael Thomas now practicing and Jarvis Landry in the picture, will it be as a first, second, or third option? I think there is room for all three, in addition to Alvin Kamara. I expect the Saints’ offense to have a bounceback season, with the rookie heavily involved. A safe(r) bet here, as Olave has the third-best odds.

Garrett Wilson — WR, New York Jets (+1100): Drafted to be a primary weapon for the New York Jets, I do believe Wilson will develop into their best overall WR. However, the Jets also have Elijah Moore, Cory Davis, a solid pass-catching RB, and half a dozen tight ends to throw to. Wilson should not have to shine right away, which I think eats into his chances at winning ROTY. I’ll be checking back on these odds a month into the season.

Special mention: Jameson Williams — WR, Detroit Lions (+1400)

NFL Comeback Player of the Year

Michael Thomas (+1200), Chase Young (+1400) J.K. Dobbins — RB, Baltimore Ravens (+2000): Three supremely talented players all listed behind Jameis Winston, Daniel Jones, and Baker Mayfield. Mitchell Trubisky and Marcus Mariota are also sandwiched between Young and Dobbins. This is just tremendous value, so I could see placing a wager on any or all of these former Buckeyes.