The 2016 NFL Draft is in the books, which opens the door to the time of the NFL offseason when sportsbooks will start to release betting odds for things such as NFL Week 1 lines, projected win totals and division titles. MyBookie has taken things a bit farther on its current NFL offseason betting board with a trio of prop bet odds for some individual awards.
After going through the posted numbers, the following are my early picks for each of these prop bets based on the best value on the board.
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NFL 2016 Coach of the Year
Carolina's head coach, Ron Rivera, has the best odds on the board to win this award at +400, but I would be very leery of this pick given just how much a team that loses a Super Bowl tends to struggle the following season. You would have to go all the way back to the early 1990s when the Buffalo Bills lost four straight Super Bowls to find the last time the losing team made it back to the title game. The bar has been set pretty high for Rivera and the Panthers, so they may only have one way to go, and that is down.
I kind of like Bill Belichick's +500 betting odds to win coach of the year. It looks like he will be without his starting quarterback for the first four games of the season, so if the Patriots can still find a way to post another double-digit win total with Tom Brady out of the lineup for 25 percent of the season, it may play well with the voters for this award.
For my top pick in this prop, I am going with Jacksonville's Gus Bradley at +2800. This is a reach and I know it, but there is something about the Jaguars that tells me they could make a legitimate run to the top of a still fairly week AFC South Division. Indianapolis has been listed as a heavy -135 favorite to bounce back from an 8-8 campaign in 2015 to win the division in 2016 followed by Houston at +240. However, waiting in the wings to make a move is Jacksonville at +450. Blake Bortles is one of the most exciting young quarterbacks in the league, and the team's recent moves in free agency and the draft should help shore up a defense that can only get better.
NFL 2016 Regular Season MVP
Both Carolina's Cam Newton and Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers top this list at +350 to win the 2016 MVP award. Newton won the trophy last year in the Panthers amazing run to the NFC title, but for the same reason why I am discounting Rivera's odds at coach are the same reasons why I am discounting Newton's odds at quarterback.
That being said, I am still going chalk in this prop with Rodgers as my top pick. The Packers are a team that is capable of winning 13 or 14 games. And given that fact that their last Super Bowl run was in 2010, you know that their starting quarterback will come into the new season as hungry as ever. With Rodgers running the show the past eight seasons, Green Bay has won 10 or more games six times. It is coming off an earlier-than-expected exit from last year's playoffs after losing on the road to Arizona, so there will be a heightened sense of urgency to win enough games to secure home-field advantage this time around.
Rodgers already won the MVP trophy in 2011 and 2014, so the other main reason I like the value in his odds is the simple fact that he is due for a third.
NFL 2016 Offensive Rookie of the Year
It is always hard to project value in current odds for the future performance of a rookie. Stepping up to the next level is a hard thing to do for any player no matter how much success they had at the collegiate level. The player with the best odds on the board to win Offensive Rookie of the Year honors is Ezekiel Elliott at +200, and he is about a good a choice as anyone.
He already has the talent to excel in the NFL at a number of different levels with his excellent blocking skills and soft hands catching the ball out of the backfield. This will only complement his ability to run the ball in a Dallas offense that so desperately missed DeMarco Murray last season. Before becoming a bust in Philadelphia, Murray was able to amass an NFL-high 1,845 yards behind one of the best run-blocking offensive lines in the league. You know that Elliott is going to get the touches as the premier addition to the Cowboys' offense, and you also have to think that he is going to make the most of a great situation.
Read more articles by Dave Schwab
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