NFL Awards Finalists List Is Full Of Preseason Betting Longshots

The NFL announced the finalists for seven of its year-end awards on Wednesday morning, narrowing the field in each of these categories for betting purposes.

The finalists were selected through the new voting system implemented by the Associated Press, which which asks voters to rank their top five picks for MVP and top three for the other awards. Winners of the awards will be announced just prior to the Super Bowl on Feb. 9.

There are several surprise players across the seven award categories that didn’t even have odds posted at sportsbooks prior to the start to the season, such as San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy (Offensive Rookie of the Year), and Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith (Comeback Player of the Year), among others.

Here’s a look at the odds, and how they’ve moved since the start of the season, for each of the finalists across the seven award categories:

(All odds in this article courtesy of BetMGM)


PlayerOpening oddsEnd of regular season odds
Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs QB)+700-600
Josh Allen (Bills QB)+900+1200
Joe Burrow (Bengals QB)+1200+700
Jalen Hurts (Eagles QB)+4000+1200
Justin Jefferson (Vikings WR)+12500+15000

Mahomes, the 2018 NFL MVP, lifted the Kansas City Chiefs to 14-3 record to earn the No. 1 seed in the AFC. He also led the NFL with 5,250 passing yards and 41 touchdowns.

The Chiefs quarterback appears to be the clear frontrunner for the award with -600 odds, but Jalen Hurts also had a monster year for the Philadelphia Eagles, who went 14-1 (he missed a few games due to a shoulder injury) with him under centre during the regular season. He passed for 3,701 yards with 22 touchdowns and six interceptions while also rushing for 760 yards with 13 touchdowns.

Defensive Player of the Year

PlayerOpening oddsEnd of regular season odds
Micah Parsons (Cowboys LB)+900+600
Nick Bosa (49ers DE)+1200-1100
Chris Jones (Chiefs DT)+8000+10000

Myles Garrett (+600) and T.J. Watt (+650) were the preseason favourites for this award, but Nick Bosa is now the runaway favourite to earn the honour. The 49ers defensive end led the league with 18.5 sacks for the NFL’s best defence (held opponents to just 16.3 points per game). The fourth-year edge rusher also put up 48 quarterback hits, 19 tackles for loss, and a pair of forced fumbles.

Offensive Player of the Year

PlayerOpening oddsEnd of regular season odds
Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs QB)+1800+1600
Justin Jefferson (Vikings WR)+2000-800
Jalen Hurts (Eagles QB)+4000+1800
Tyreek Hill (Dolphins WR)+4000+1400

Jonathan Taylor and Cooper Kupp (both +800) were the preseason favourites in this category, but those that wagered on Jefferson having a big year at +2000 are licking their lips at the prospects of the Minnesota Vikings receiver capturing this award. He led the league with 128 receptions and 1,809 receiving yards this season and also caught eight touchdowns.

Offensive Rookie of the Year

PlayerOpening oddsEnd of regular season odds
Garrett Wilson (Jets WR)+1000+160
Kenneth Walker III (Seahawks RB)+1100-110
Brock Purdy (49ers QB)Not Listed+450

According to oddsmakers, this award category could go to any of the three finalists. Kenneth Walker III is the slight -110 favourite to be recognized as the league’s top offensive rookie this year, but everyone is talking about Purdy, who has been named a finalist despite making just five regular-season starts.

Purdy, who was buried on the team’s quarterback depth chart prior to injuries to Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo, didn’t have any preseason odds posted at BetMGM, but he was as long as +20000 to win this award in early December.

Defensive Rookie of the Year

PlayerOpening oddsEnd of regular season odds
Aidan Hutchinson (Lions DE)+500+800
Sauce Gardner (Jets CB)+1000-1200
Tariq Woolen (Seahawks CB)+10000+1600

New York Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner allowed just two touchdowns this season, per Next Gen Stats, while intercepting two passes and generating a -28.8 target EPA, which ranked second-best among corners this year. His lockdown stats have him as the clear favourite to be named the league’s top rookie.

Comeback Player of the Year

PlayerOpening oddsEnd of regular season odds
Christian McCaffrey (49ers RB)+1000+175
Saquon Barkley (Giants RB)Not listed+225
Geno Smith (Seahawks QB)Not listed+175

Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry was the preseason favourite (+350) in this category, which really is a three-horse race this year. All three of the finalists have relatively the same closing odds to capture the award, with Christian McCaffrey and Smith (+175) holding a slight advantage over Saquon Barkley (+225).

Coach of the Year

CoachOpening oddsEnd of regular season odds
Brian Daboll (Giants)+1400+350
Doug Pederson (Jaguars)+1400+1000
Nick Sirianni (Eagles)+1600+125
Kyle Shanahan (49ers)+1600+200
Sean McDermott (Bills)+2500+10000

Like the Comeback Player of the Year category, Coach of the Year will also be a tough category to determine. Both Brian Daboll and Doug Pederson did exceptional jobs taking their respective teams from perennial losers to contenders this year, while Kyle Shanahan has done a masterful job of navigating major injuries to his roster to lead the 49ers to the NFC West Division title and a second consecutive NFC Championship Game.