To start with these are generally mug bets. I doesn’t mean I won’t partake, just that they’re not very sensible if you are trying to make money in the long run. Fun? Yeah it’s always good to have some skin in the game on season long markets, but clever? Not at all.
As always make sure you look around the books for the best price, they vary wildly on award markets. This year for example someone like Jalen Hurts for Offensive rookie of the year (OROY) is as low as 22/1 on Skybet, while he’s priced at 100/1 on 10bet and 80/1 in most other places. Rookie Markets
Let’s start with the most public of awards the Most valuable player award. It usually goes to a QB (AP was the last non-QB to win in 2012 and he had to rush for over 2,000 yards to grab it) – 16 of the last 20 years it’s been a QB, the other 4 have been running backs.
You realistically need to play on a team with double digit wins to take this award, so that rules out over half of the league already. Having a look at the SB odds for teams should help quickly narrow that down. Take the top 10 or so in the betting there.
I’ll rule out the 49ers, Buccs, Patriots, Colts – I don’t think Jimmy G will improve enough, I’m lower than most on the Bucs, no way Stidham is good enough for this and while I love Rivers, I just don’t see it happening.
Mahomes won two years ago, Jackson last year, Drew Brees has still never won it despite multiple 5,000 yards seasons. Dak should put up the numbers, Russell Wilson has never had a nomination for the award and Carson Wentz was the shoe-in a couple of years back before injury curtailed his season.
This is all a lot of blustering for me to say that I think Mahomes (4/1 – Betfred) will win it with Dak (18/1 – Boylesport) as an outsider, he’s got the weapons, the defense won’t be stellar, they led the league in yards per game last year and they should win the NFC East. Wilson and Brees are narrative driven possibilities as they’ve never been nominated/won but I don’t think either will get enough work to put themselves out there. Seahawks are run first and Brees just doesn’t do anything impressive any more.
Defensive player of the year (DPOY)
As it’s incredibly unlikely for a defensive player to win the MVP this is basically the only award they’ve got a chance of winning. Aaron Donald is the favourite as always. He won two in a row before Stephon Gilmore took the crown last year in that standout Patriots defense.
It’s a tough one to call as honestly I pay more attention to the offensive side of the ball. I don’t think it’ll be Gilmore again, that defense is likely to be on the field a lot more this year and they’ll tire more. The Rams division has got tougher, but they’ve got Ramsey back there causing issues, so Donald may get a decent amount of pass rush attempts which will help his stats.
I think I’m going to concentrate on a few priced higher than I’d have expected – Darius Leonard (66/1) at the Colts, he followed up his DROY award two years ago with another solid year for the Colts, and with me expecting them to be better offensively this year I think they should be more rested for each play allowing him to get about quicker.
Minkah Fitzpatrick (40/1) took the AFC North by storm after joining the Steelers last year, helping make them one of the best defense, that offense can’t be any worse and with TJ Watt and co. providing pressure up front he’ll have chances to capitalise on QBs rushing their throws. Talking of that defense – TJ Watt is probably decent value at his price (15/1 on Sportingbet), he’s got the name, the talent and plays on a media darling.
Comeback player of the year
I hate this award. I don’t get the criteria. On one end of the scale you’ve got Alex Smith, on the other end of it… Andy Dalton, OJ Howard, Joe Mixon are all listed at one book. What the fuck? Coming back from what exactly? Ridiculous.
Matthew Stafford (14/1 on SportingBet), Big Ben (5/1) on Skybet the most likely for me, but it’s not one I’ll be touching.
Coach of the year
Not one I generally look at, but after listening to the fantastic Deep Dive podcast this week they made some good points on the value of certain coaches as opposed to their team win totals or division win odds.
It was suggested on said pod that you want to look for a team who will greatly improve on their previous season wins. So you want to avoid the top teams, it’s unlikely that the Chiefs or Ravens for example will improve on last season and voter lethargy is definitely a thing in this award hence Belichick not winning it every year for a decade.
Someone like Frank Reich for example. The Colts won 6 games last year, they’re around even money to win the AFC South, but if things go right for them they could easily do that after upgrading at QB. So you could take the risk on Reich at 22/1 rather than them just winning the division.
Brian Flores is another who draws the eye. He coached miracles out of his team last year who many thought wouldn’t win a game. Their division has got easier, they drafted pretty well and if Tua gets in early and looks good then who knows what could happen down there. He’s available at 25/1 on Will Hill.
Matt Patricia is the rank outsider of the field, embarrassingly grouped in with the likes of Doug Marrone and Adam Gase. He’s got a better team than that and if Matthew Stafford stays healthy they have a chance to have a winning season. He’s not one I’d bet on, and frankly I don’t rate him too highly, but 50/1 and grouped with those bums is an insult to him.