There is usually value to be had in betting on the major awards in the NFL.
Patrick Mahomes opened up at +800 odds to win MVP at BetMGM. Justin Jefferson was 20-to-1 to win Offensive Player of the Year. Nick Bosa was 12-to-1 for Defensive Player of the Year. For Coach of the Year, Brian Daboll opened with 14-to-1 odds. Cashing any of those would have been nice at the end of the NFL season.
Over the next few weeks we're going to build our NFL futures portfolio for the season, and we'll start with our best bets for MVP and the other major awards. Here are the best bets from Yahoo Sports' Nick Bromberg, Frank Schwab and Scott Pianowski:
Who’s your MVP pick?
NIck Bromberg: Patrick Mahomes is the most valuable player in the NFL and if he has a season like he did a year ago, he should win it for the third time. But this is the NFL. Back-to-back MVPs don’t happen often. Joe Burrow’s calf injury makes me wary and Justin Herbert at +1100 is too low for a player whose team hasn’t won its own division yet. If I had to pick the best value among the favorites, I’d go with Lamar Jackson at +1400. The Baltimore Ravens could be poised to pounce in the AFC North.
Frank Schwab: I’m torn. I feel like Jalen Hurts could get the “Well, it’s his turn” MVP this season. I’m surprised he’s +1100 odds; I figured it would be shorter than that. I also love Trevor Lawrence at +1600. He made a star turn last season, should throw for a ton of yards and also should be on a division winner (every MVP since 1973 has been on a playoff team). I’ll have bets on both players, but if I had to take one it would be Lawrence.
Scott Pianowski: I’m shocked Jalen Hurts is at +1100. The Eagles probably have the best roster in football, and if anyone without an MVP is close to Patrick Mahomes at the end of the year, they’ll probably win — voting fatigue will likely hurt Mahomes. Hurts could have won last year if he hasn’t had such a mediocre finish (two so-so games, two games lost to injury).
Do you have a long-shot MVP bet? (+2500 or longer odds)
NB: If you believe that the Denver Broncos are an immediate turnaround candidate under Sean Payton, why wouldn’t you also bet Russell Wilson at +4000? A Wilson MVP would require toppling both the Chargers and Chiefs in the AFC West, but again, this is a no-brainer if you agree wholeheartedly with Payton’s assessment of the Broncos under Nathaniel Hackett in 2022.
FS: I can make a case for Geno Smith at +3000. He had a season that looked MVP-ish last year. With his offensive line being another year older and the addition of first-round receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba, the situation is set up well for Smith to have a big season. And I think the Seattle Seahawks make the playoffs. There are only 14 realistic MVP possibilities — the quarterbacks on the playoff teams — and I think you can get this one at 30-to-1 odds.
SP: Geno Smith at +3000 is the only long shot that interests me. Frank speaks the truth, you have to ignore all the non-quarterbacks. They’ve got almost zero shot to win. I might pick Deshaun Watson in a different world, but his personal narrative will make it very difficult to win a contested race. I view Smith as having very little pumpkin risk, and he’s throwing to three dynamic receivers. Keep gobbling up those Tyler Lockett shares, my friends.
Who will be Offensive Rookie of the Year?
NB: It’s important to remember that Tyler Allgeier was very good in 2022. He will have a say in any Bijan Robinson takeover of the backfield for the Atlanta Falcons. It’s hard to go against a quarterback for this award, and I like Bryce Young at +450 in a wide-open NFC South. Jordan Addison is also a fun play at +1600 opposite Justin Jefferson.
FS: It’s a fun field. Unlike MVP, voters will consider other positions for OROY (and Offensive Player of the Year too). But voters do like their QBs, so I’ll look to the three rookies who will start. Among them, I like Anthony Richardson at +700. The Indianapolis Colts already named him the Week 1 starter, which eliminates any concern about him sitting for a few weeks. He has the chance to put up ridiculous rushing numbers right away, and just needs to be solid as a passer.
SP: Frank’s case for Richardson is sound and I might punch that ticket before the market adjusts. And if you want to go with C.J. Stroud because he’s starting and he’s the longest of the three QB starters at +850, I won’t try to talk you out of it. I also think Bijan Robinson is a horrible value at +250; Falcons coach Arthur Smith hasn’t earned my confidence over the last two years.
What other awards bets do you like?
NB: It doesn’t make sense to me how Shane Steichen (+2200) or DeMeco Ryans (+2000) are both ahead of Frank Reich (+2500) for Coach of the Year. Both first-year coaches have rosters near the bottom of the league and are in much tougher divisions than Reich’s Carolina Panthers.
FS: I liked Ja’Marr Chase for Offensive Player of the Year, but not quite as much with the odds moving down to +1000. One bet I really like is Tua Tagovailoa at +2000 for Comeback Player of the Year. Damar Hamlin being a heavy -300 favorite opens up value on everyone else. Tua’s concussion issues are well known, and if he stays healthy he’ll put up a good season. It would be a good story, and he’s a QB so he’ll catch the eye of voters. I also have a Matt LaFleur ticket for Coach of the Year. If the Green Bay Packers make the playoffs, you can picture how the narrative will shift LaFleur's way. He's +1800 to win it.
SP: The New York Jets are +250 to win the AFC East (not touching that), but Robert Saleh is +1600 to win Coach of the Year. If you think the former is in play, bet the latter.