Burrow vs. Herbert: Which 4th-year QB do odds favor in 2023?
Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert are heading into their fourth NFL season since entering the league as two of the top three quarterbacks selected in the 2020 draft.
Burrow tore his ACL in his rookie season but has since led the Bengals to back-to-back AFC North titles and a Super Bowl appearance in 2021.
These two immensely talented quarterbacks have been - and will continue to be - compared to each other for the duration of their careers. So far, the edge has to go to Burrow as the better performer through three seasons, but oddsmakers suggest Herbert has a chance to close the gap in 2023.
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Odds via theScore Bet
Burrow is the second betting favorite behind only Patrick Mahomes to win the MVP. The Bengals quarterback finished fourth in MVP voting last season after passing for nearly 4,500 yards and tossing 35 touchdowns. Burrow led the Bengals to a 12-4 record and an AFC Championship Game to prove their Super Bowl appearance the year prior wasn't a fluke.
Herbert is a tad longer than Burrow at +1000, which puts him fifth on the betting board. He was ninth in MVP voting last year with 4,739 passing yards but threw 10 fewer touchdowns than Burrow and only led the Chargers to a 10-7 record.
The only edge Herbert has over Burrow is in the market for the NFL's passing yard leader. Herbert has been the runner-up in this stat category for the last two seasons but will likely have to set a career high if he's to beat Mahomes, the +280 favorite. Herbert's career high is 5,014, which he set in 2021.
The props for both quarterbacks appear rather juicy.
Burrow has gone over 4,450.5 yards and over 33.5 touchdowns in each of the two seasons he played 16 games. He has arguably the best wide receiver duo in the NFL with Ja'Marr Chase and Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd provides a nice safety blanket out of the slot to make Burrow's life easier.
The cohesion of the Bengals' offensive unit should help this group take another step forward and allow Burrow to hit both of his season-long props at plus money.
However, Burrow's health status has to be monitored. He suffered a calf injury early in preseason and only returned to practice this week. He could suit up for Week 1 against the Browns, but if he doesn't, all bets are off.
Herbert has cleared his current passing yard prop of 4,400.5 yards the past two seasons by a substantial margin and was only 65 yards short in his rookie campaign when he played only 15 games.
Additionally, there's more excitement around the Chargers' passing attack than usual this season under new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, who spent the previous three years with the Cowboys.
If they can stay healthy - and that's a big if given the Chargers' history - Herbert and Moore will have a ton of weapons at their disposal. Austin Ekeler, Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, and rookie wideout Quentin Johnston could give the Chargers the most explosive passing offense in the NFL.
If Burrow and Herbert outperform expectations this year, perhaps the pair will add another chapter to the ongoing debate in what would be an epic AFC Championship Game.