NFL Futures, Awards Odds, Picks: Using Narratives To Build Parlays
Scott Taetsch/Getty Images. Pictured: Jalen Hurts.
With a month left in the NFL season, the awards picture is coming into focus.
Some awards have clear favorites. Sauce Gardner for Defensive Rookie of the Year (DROY), Geno Smith for Comeback Player of the Year (CPOY), and Nick Sirianni for Coach of the Year (COY) have led for months. Jalen Hurts is now the odds-on MVP favorite, and awards like Offensive Rookie of the Year (OROY) and Offensive Player of the Year (OPOY) still look up for grabs.
We can’t parlay outcomes for the same player or team — no Jalen Hurts to sweep MVP and OPOY, nor Hurts MVP + Sirianni COY, for example — because these are obviously correlated events. But if we tell a narrative, we can string together other correlated events that we can parlay, creating an advantage on the number that makes an awards parlay worth playing.
Need an example?
Say you think voters will be underwhelmed by Jalen Hurts and leave him short of winning a major award. That leaves MVP up for grabs and takes one of the four major OPOY contenders off the board. What if Patrick Mahomes wins MVP (+190) and Justin Jefferson takes OPOY (+125)? FanDuel gives us +552 on that parlay, treating them as fully independent events, but our No Hurts Votes narrative has created a potential story that give us value on the number.
So what NFL awards parlays should we bet?
I’ve got six narrative ideas below and a FanDuel QuickSlip for each. These are all long shots, of course, and you don’t need to bet them all. Pick a couple you like, sprinkle a fraction of a unit on each, and have some fun.
Narrative No. 1 — Jalen Hurts wins OPOY as a consolation prize for missing out on MVP.
Think of this as the Drew Brees corollary. For years, Brees came up short for MVP but won OPOY for his gaudy numbers. OPOY hasn’t been a consolation prize for MVP in recent years, but voters could always go back to their old ways. Hurts OPOY with Mahomes as the default MVP parlays at +1060.
But let’s dig a little deeper down the MVP board. If Hurts wins OPOY, maybe the AFC 1-seed becomes the MVP kingmaker. Mahomes has a soft closing schedule, but that means no real chance for an MVP moment. Josh Allen is the current 1-seed, beat Mahomes in October, and the Bills control their destiny. Allen could have a chance to effectively clinch the bye in Cincinnati Week 17 against another MVP hopeful. Could that be an MVP moment?
Allen MVP and Hurts OPOY parlays to +8300.
Narrative No. 2 — Fly Eagles Fly! The Eagles crush the Cowboys on Christmas Eve and Jalen Hurts runs away with the big awards.
Five of the last 10 OPOYs also won MVP. If the Eagles finish a couple games ahead of the entire NFL field and Hurts looks undeniable, maybe he wins both MVP and OPOY. We can’t play those together, but +300 OPOY pays out much better than -160 MVP.
But as part of our narrative, the Eagles have to beat up on the Cowboys to put Philly over the top. If that’s the case, Dallas could continue its recent fade and San Francisco might look like the top NFC contender to the crown. That could push Micah Parsons out of DPOY and give it to Nick Bosa.
Hurts and Bosa win Player of the Year honors together at +940.
Narrative No. 3 — The Eagles collapse down the stretch and fall out of the 1-seed entirely.
This one’s the opposite of the last outcome. Philadelphia loses that Christmas Eve game to Dallas, and the Eagles lose at least one more game, blowing the division, and dropping all the way to the 5-seed.
So what’s the story? Dallas wins the division so Parsons is a DPOY lock. Hurts is out of the MVP race, so give that to Mahomes. OPOY and COY both look open too, but there’s no clear backup pick. Dan Campbell has picked up momentum as COY and he’s second in odds. If you go with Mahomes MVP, Parsons DPOY, and Campbell COY, you’re at +5178. Add in Justin Jefferson OPOY and you hit +11775.
But let’s correlate a little further. We need a second Eagles loss, right? What if it comes in dramatic fashion? Philly beats the Bears and Saints but loses to Dallas, and the Cowboys win out. That means the Eagles would need a win in the finale to win the division and secure the 1-seed.
What if they lose instead, at home, against a desperate Giants team that has to win to make the playoffs? New York sneaks into the postseason, Dallas steals the 1-seed, Philly crumbles on the eve of the playoffs — and Brian Daboll wins Coach of the Year.
The Eagles collapse leaves Parsons DPOY and Mahomes MVP, and Daboll steals COY late, all parlayed at +10456.
Parlay: Parsons Defensive Player & Mahomes MVP & Daboll Coach (+10456)
Narrative No. 4 — The Seahawks collapse and miss the playoffs.
Enough Eagles talk. How about another bird collapse? Seattle is fading fast, now +108 to miss the playoffs. If the Seahawks lose to the 49ers tonight then in Kansas City, they could implode and fall out of the playoff picture.
Geno Smith has led the Comeback Player of the Year race for a while now, but if Seattle falls apart, he probably loses that. Here comes Christian McCaffrey, especially if he carries San Francisco’s offense down the stretch without Jimmy Garoppolo or Deebo Samuel.
Kenneth Walker was the OROY favorite before leaving hurt two weeks ago. He probably falls out of the race if Seattle fades. Garrett Wilson is the current favorite and could help his cause with a big Week 17 game against the Seahawks pushing the Jets toward the playoffs and knocking Seattle out.
Christian McCaffrey and Garrett Wilson steal awards together with late pushes at +1520.
Narrative No. 5 — The Jets collapse and miss the playoffs.
The Jets are more likely than not to miss the playoffs at -215 to miss, but New York has the favorite right now for both Rookie of the Year awards. Historically you don’t have to make the playoffs to win ROY, but if the Jets collapse and Wilson and Gardner fall off voters’ radar, who would profit?
The Jets play the Lions this weekend. A Jets collapse probably means a Lions win, and it likely means a Seattle win in Week 17. Maybe that leaves Kenneth Walker as the default OROY, and Aidan Hutchinson steps in at DROY with a few sacks head-to-head with Sauce’s Jets and a hot closing stretch.
Bet Walker and Hutchinson to win Rookie of the Year honors at +2300.
Narrative No. 6 — The 49ers don’t miss a beat without Jimmy Garoppolo, winning out and entering the playoffs as the team to beat.
San Francisco is running out of bodies. Garoppolo and Trey Lance are gone, and now Deebo Samuel looks like he’ll be sidelined until the playoffs too.
But San Francisco is the hottest team in football and has won six in a row. What if the 49ers go to Seattle and crush the Seahawks, then keep winning right into the playoffs, finishing 13-4 and the 2-seed thanks to sizzling hot defense and some creative play calling that elevates Brock Purdy and Christian McCaffrey?
How do we go all-in on 49ers awards? McCaffrey CPOY and Bosa DPOY parlay at +1460 but doesn’t seem aggressive enough. Could Purdy steal Rookie of the Year this late in the season with a big finish and now clear OROY front runner? Purdy plus McCaffrey is a wild +12500, but a Purdy vote would be unprecedented in just five starts.
What about the guy pulling all the strings? The 49ers have been ravaged by injuries all year, and they’re on their third-string seventh-round QB. If they just keep winning anyway and finish with the league’s second-best record, could Kyle Shanahan finally win Coach of the Year?
Shanahan COY and McCaffrey CPOY would be a heck of a hit if you’re all-in on the 49ers. It’s +24500 at FanDuel. Let’s have some fun.