With hundreds of NFL futures markets now available at the BetMGM online sportsbook, I’m sketching out dozens of potential bets for this summer.
One of the ones I’m thinking about today involves the anticipated stats and early success of rookie Bills tight end Dalton Kincaid.
The Bills are considered AFC royalty at the moment, with lofty prices in both the NFL playoff odds and the NFL win totals market. Prolific Bills quarterback Josh Allen should quickly transform Kincaid into a ready-made star.
But even if Kincaid has a great rookie season, what are the actionable bets on the NFL odds board? Here are a few details to consider first:
Has a Tight End Ever Led the NFL in Receiving Yards?
No, a tight end has never led the NFL in receiving yards, though there have been some close calls.
Travis Kelce, for instance, led all tight ends in 2020 with 1,416 receiving yards. The leading receiver in the league that year, Stefon Diggs, finished with 1,535 receiving yards.
Has a Rookie Ever Led the NFL in Receiving Yards?
Yes, but it’s been a while. Bill Groman had the greatest rookie receiving season of all time when he led the league with 1,473 receiving yards … in 1960.
Billy Howton (1,231 yards) did something similar in 1952.
In the modern NFL, the depth of receiver talent in the NFL is so great that it would be very difficult for a rookie to lead the league.
Has a Tight End Ever Led Rookies in Receiving Yards?
Yes, this has definitely happened before. Mike Ditka, for instance, led all rookies (and was fifth in the entire NFL) as a 22-year-old rookie tight end in 1961. In 14 games, he racked up 1,076 receiving yards.
More recently, Giants rookie Jeremy Shockey finished the 2002 season with 894 receiving yards. That was 29th in the NFL overall but first among rookie pass-catchers.
But again, modern competition for such accolades is much stiffer. In 2021, Falcons rookie Kyle Pitts became just the second-ever tight end to record 1,000 receiving yards in his first NFL campaign. Yet he still didn’t lead all rookies in receiving yards, thanks to Ja’Marr Chase’s 1,455 receiving yards.
— Matt Parrino (@MattParrino) May 23, 2023
Dalton Kincaid Odds for AP Offensive Rookie of the Year
Bills rookie Dalton Kincaid is currently +3000, or 30-to-1, at the BetMGM online sportsbook.
Kincaid’s odds for such an award are, if anything, overpriced. The +3000 seems like a good number, until you realize that a tight end has never actually won the award.
Most commonly, the award goes to a quarterback on a team that transforms from bad to good very quickly. If Bryce Young’s Panthers win the NFC South — or even come close — he will almost certainly win the award.
In the absence of a franchise-changing quarterback, a skill player who racks up huge yardage is the most common modern choice. Chase won the award in 2021; Saquon Barkley, 2018; Alvin Kamara, 2017; Todd Gurley, 2015; Odell Beckham Jr., 2014.
Dalton Kincaid Could Thrive in Buffalo’s Offense, But Awards Are Unlikely
Even if Kincaid immediately flourishes in Buffalo’s offense, he’s unlikely to ever win an award like Offensive Rookie of the year.
Fortunately, BetMGM offers a slightly different market that’s much more interesting. Currently available on BetMGM’s NFL futures page is a market specifically centered around which rookie finishes the regular season with the most receiving yards.
Jordan Addison and Jaxon Smith-Njigba are +275 co-favorites, but both guys were drafted by teams with elite WR1 talent.
Kincaid, on the other hand, enters a powerful, pass-first offense with a deemphasized run game. There are a lot of yards in the middle portion of the field that a weapon as talented as Kincaid could account for.
Kincaid is sixth in the table at +1400, which is a clear upgrade from the +3000 he is priced at in the OROY market. He doesn’t have quarterbacks or running backs to contend with here; he also doesn’t have any voting or narrative bias to constrain him. This is a market purely centered around statistical results.
Because of Kincaid’s excellent return, I think he presents a really interesting case to lead all rookies in yardage this year. Because of the natural challenges that the two co-favorites will face, this market encourages a bit of a dart throw. Kincaid is as good a target as any.
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