While chants of "Zappe! Zappe! Zappe!" were ringing at Gillette Stadium, a flurry of big bets on New England Patriots quarterback Bailey Zappe hit Caesars Sportsbook, causing the first-year signal-caller's Rookie of the Year odds to move from 50-1 to 5-1 in approximately 30 minutes during the first half of Monday's game against the Chicago Bears.
Caesars Sportsbook reported taking six bets of $1,000 or more on Zappe to win Offensive Rookie of the Year, after he replaced starter Mac Jones late in the first quarter and promptly led the Patriots to back-to-back touchdown drives. The largest wager of the flurry of bets was $3,000 at 16-1. The six four-figure wagers are the most of that size on any player offered by Caesars in its Rookie of the Year odds. "All it took was one possession with him throwing a touchdown to a guy who was wide open," Adam Pullen, assistant director of trading at Caesars Sportsbook, said in a company release. "When you leave those markets open, people are going to be jumping on. That's how it is nowadays. You can't rest because all it takes is one series or one half for people to form an opinion on things. It's not waiting to see how he does next game. It's the thinking that the value is there now so you have to take it."
Zappe's odds had settled at 13-2 by Tuesday morning at Caesars, making him the third-favorite to win the Associated Press's Offensive Rookie of the Year award. Seattle Seahawks running back Kenneth Walker III is the favorite at 2-1, followed by Houston Texans running back Dameon Pierce at 3-1. Zappe's odds were as long as 20-1 at other sportsbooks. A rookie from Western Kentucky, Zappe played the remainder of the game but cooled off after his hot start. He finished 14-of-22 for 185 yards with a touchdown and an interception in a 33-14 loss to the Bears.
Zappe was 60-1 to win the award at DraftKings before Monday's game and got as short at 15-2 at one point, before settling at 12-1. His odds were as long as 20-1 at some books Tuesday.
When odds to win the award were posted at Caesars Sportsbook on May 1, Zappe opened at 100-1 odds. He grew to as long as 200-1 early in the season, before he moved into the lineup after Jones suffered a high ankle sprain on Sept. 25.
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Zappe led New England to wins against the Detroit Lions and Cleveland Browns in the previous two weeks, and Patriots coach Bill Belichick told reporters that he planned to play both quarterbacks against the Bears. Belichick said Jones would have been reinserted into the game if the score had been closer. Belichick was noncommittal on which quarterback would start Sunday against the New York Jets.