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NFL Award Futures Picks: 5 Bets for MVP, Coach of the Year, Defensive Rookie, More

NFL Award Futures Picks: 5 Bets for MVP, Coach of the Year, Defensive Rookie, More article feature image
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Getty Images. Pictured: Patrick Mahomes (left) and Nick Sirianni.

Our NFL experts here at Action Network have converged to give you their best bets on players who have a good shot at taking home some hardware this season.

Offensive Player of the Year, Coach of the Year, Most Valuable Player – you know name it, our staff is probably on it.

Check out their favorite picks below!

Brandon Anderson

Patrick Mahomes — MVP (+900)

The MVP case for Mahomes is so obvious it’s almost easy to forget. He’s the league’s best player on perhaps the best team, with one of the best offensive lines on the league’s best offense playing for the league’s best coaching staff.

Mahomes has started four seasons and won at least 12 games every time. He finished top-three in EPA all four times, and his Chiefs finished top-two in Offensive DVOA all four too. From the moment Mahomes became an NFL starter, his presence guaranteed success, more than any other player.

That’s value, and this year there’s a real narrative. Like Rodgers, Mahomes lost his stud receiver in Tyreek Hill. If the Chiefs just keep whirring even without Cheetah and Kansas City sits near the top of the league yet again, how can voters do anything but give Mahomes supreme credit?

Mahomes is the only one-time MVP over the last 15 years who received votes in another season. Mahomes is so good that he’s always in the mix, he’s absolutely a future multi-time MVP, and he’s “due” after not winning one the last few seasons. Both Rodgers and Brady had a few gap years after their first MVPs too. Voters get tired of what works and turn to new shiny things but eventually always come back to greatness.

It won’t be easy. The Chiefs play the Bills, Rams, 49ers, Bengals, Colts and Cardinals, plus two games each against the Chargers, Broncos and Raiders. MVPs need a lot of wins. But all Mahomes does is win. He’s 58-16 lifetime, a 13.3-win pace — and that includes his sterling 8-3 postseason record and four consecutive AFC Championship Game berths.

Patrick Mahomes is the league’s best player on the best team and should enter every season as the MVP favorite until proven otherwise. He’s my preseason favorite, and I wouldn’t price him any longer than +400 entering the year. He’s the one must-bet MVP candidate entering the 2022 season.

Defensive Player of the Year: T.J. Watt and Aaron Donald (both +900, play together for +400)

Unlike many other awards that feel wide open, DPOY is often a pretty narrow race. Amazing how that works when we just pick the best player rather than pandering to narrative and fleeting stats.

That also gives us a rare spot to grab real value as bettors. Donald and Watt check all the boxes. They’re past winners and recent vote getters. They rack up sacks each year and have reputations as the game’s truly elite defenders.

Watt’s finished top-three DPOY three straight years, and Donald has placed top-three in four of the last six. I’d make them co-favorites and give each at least 20% chance at the award, which would imply odds at +400. Instead, we can bet both together at +900 each for that same implied +400.

These two have won four of the last five DPOYs in an award that loves repeat winners. Betting Donald and Watt together likely gives us one and maybe two top-three contenders. We may need to add to our position later if a top contender emerges, but we’ll be in a tremendous hedge position.

The best awards bet you can make entering this season is stacking Aaron Donald and T.J. Watt at +900 each to win Defensive Player of the Year.

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Aidan Hutchinson — +600

You already know Hutchinson as the Hard Knocks “Billie Jean” singer from the season premiere, and don’t think that won’t help our case here since we’re betting on the No. 2 pick staying home in Michigan for a public Hard Knocks team looking to bite some kneecaps under Dan Campbell.

Hutchinson recorded 14 sacks last year alone and should get quick playing time for a bad Lions defense. A Big Ten player has won five of the last six DROY awards, and Hutchinson could add to the list.

Even as the +600 favorite at FanDuel, those implied odds are too low for a player who so perfectly fits the typical DROY profile. Hutchinson is a high-pick prolific pass rusher everyone knows, and favorites win this award.

Aidan Hutchinson is the favorite — and he’s the right pick to make. Let’s hope Billie Jean is right and Hutchinson is the one.

Gallant: Ja’Marr Chase Offensive Player of the Year (+3000)

Trying to catch the tail of a comet. The NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year had 81 catches, 1,455 receiving yards (fourth in NFL) and 13 touchdowns (third) while helping the Bengals win the AFC North.

If Cooper Kupp didn’t have such a historic season, you could argue Chase had a legit chance to win Offensive Player of the Year last year. Part of the strategy with this bet is trying to get ahead of the market for the best odds and value.

The Bengals face the Steelers and Cowboys to start the 2022 season. If Chase comes out strong with at least 200 receiving yards and two touchdowns, the +3000 odds will drop significantly and most of the betting value is lost. Last season, he scored four times with 220 receiving yards in his first three games. The connection he has with Joe Burrow is undeniable.

Dabbundo: Nick Sirianni Coach of the Year (+2000)

Brandon Anderson wrote about why he likes Sirianni and I will echo his sentiments. The Coach of the Year award is narrative-driven and the entire country watched his Eagles get embarrassed in the playoffs by Tampa Bay last year. A lot of this is contingent upon Jalen Hurts taking a step forward at quarterback, but Sirianni is set to reap the rewards of what was an excellent offseason by general manager Howie Roseman. Philadelphia added much-needed linebacker help, both in the run stopping and pass departments to better fit the scheme of second-year defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon.

Gannon’s extreme bend-but-don’t-break defensive style angered many Eagles fans when they were picked apart by good quarterbacks, but it was effective against lower-tiered ones. And look at some of the projected quarterbacks Philadelphia will face in 2022: Jared Goff, Carson Wentz (twice), Daniel Jones (twice), Trevor Lawrence, Mitchell Trubisky, Davis Mills and Justin Fields. That’s more than half of the schedule.

Sirianni has a dominant offensive line to help him remain aggressive in fourth-and-short situations. Philly has a high-upside path to one of the top seeds in the NFC while the Rams, 49ers, Saints and Bucs beat up on one another.

I don’t think the Eagles are the best team in the conference. But similar to Mike Vrabel last year, they have a path to a great record on paper and Sirianni is no worse than one of the three favorites if Philly wins the NFC East.

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