Preseason Hype Boosts Ravens’ Isaiah Likely’s Rookie Of The Year Odds

Likely is a Everett High School graduate

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August 23, 2022

The talk for the Ravens this preseason has been how will Baltimore replace Marquise Brown’s production, and that answer may come in a fourth-round rookie.

The Ravens traded a third-round pick and the 25-year-old wide receiver to the Cardinals for Arizona’s first-round pick of the 2022 NFL Draft on April 28. This left Baltimore’s offense relying mostly on second-year pass-catcher Rashod Bateman and star tight end Mark Andrews.

Many around the league felt the Ravens were not doing enough to help quarterback Lamar Jackson, and others believed Baltimore would lean more heavily into the run.

Well, the first two games of the preseason have introduced fans to a new target in the offense in the form of fourth-round rookie Isaiah Likely. The Cambridge, Mass. native went to Coastal Carolina and was taken with the No. 139 pick in the NFL draft.

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In just two preseason games, the 6-foot-4 tight end has caught 12 passes for 144 yards and one touchdown, including eight catches and 100 yards against the Cardinals on Sunday. While most of his production hasn’t come with the first-team offense, Likely has shown to be a potential contributor in the regular season.

His NFL Rookie of the Year odds have caught up to the preseason hype. Likely opened at 150-to-1 and dropped to 200-to-1 before preseason kicked off on Aug. 10 on BetMGM. After his two preseason games, his odds are now at 100-to-1. Likely’s odds are even shorter on other sportsbooks — DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook have the Ravens rookie at 60-to-1 to win Rookie of the Year.

Those odds are still long shots — a $100 bet at BetMGM would pay out $10,100 — but it shows the market is responding to the preseason hype around Likely.

Now, preseason hype can be a mirage. Production against back-up defenders doesn’t always translate to production in the regular season.

It’s why George Pickens is the favorite to win Rookie of the Year at BetMGM (+850), and New York Jets running back Breece Hall is the favorite on DraftKings (+850). The Pittsburgh Steelers rookie is BetMGM’s biggest liability with 12.9% of tickets and 15.8% of the handle, according to BetMGM data specialist Drew O?Dell.

But if Jackson and the Ravens are looking for a bounce-back season, they may lean more on Likely rather than hope for the combination of Devin Duvernay, James Proche II, Tylan Wallace and the recently signed Demarcus Robinson.

Thumbnail photo via Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports Images

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