NFL futures betting: Let's find some value in the Coach of the Year market

·Betting analyst
·4 min read

With nine weeks of the NFL season done and dusted, we have a pretty good sense of what teams are and aren’t. Except for the Buffalo Bills. After losing 9-6 to the Jacksonville Jaguars, I have no idea who the Bills are.

Aside from that, though, we have a general sense, which has me interested in some NFL futures. Looking at the current odds for 2021 AP NFL Coach of the Year, Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury is the current frontrunner at +400 with the next favorite is the L.A. Chargers’ Brandon Staley at +700.

All odds via BetMGM.

The top 10 for NFL Coach of the Year:

Kliff Kingsbury, Arizona Cardinals: +400

Brandon Staley Los Angeles Chargers: +700

Sean McVay, Los Angeles Rams: +900

Mike Vrabel, Tennessee Titans: +900

Sean McDermott, Buffalo Bills: +1200

Bill Belichick, New England Patriots: +1400

Mike McCarthy, Dallas Cowboys: +1400

Zac Taylor, Cincinnati Bengals: +1600

Matt Lafleur, Green Bay Packers: +1800

John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens: +2200

I’m not interested in the betting favorite in Kingsbury. Instead, here are two coaches worth consideration at the current prices.

Mike Vrabel, Tennessee Titans: +900

The Titans are one of four teams with a 7-2 record or better headed into Week 10. The three other teams are the Packers, Cardinals, and Rams. The difference between them and Tennessee are the changes the Titans have faced.

QB Ryan Tannehill lost his offensive coordinator in Arthur Smith, who was largely credited for transforming this offense into a juggernaut. After losing 38-13 to the Cardinals in their season opener while producing less than 250 yards of total offense, the Titans got back on track defeating the Bills, Chiefs and Colts over a three-week stretch. Then bam! They lose their biggest offensive weapon in RB Derrick Henry.

Thinking it was over for the Titans, they walked into SoFi Stadium and defeated the Rams 28-16 but it wasn’t because of the offense. Tannehill and Co. only produced 194 yards of total offense at 3.5 yards per play, and with no assist from Henry they posted 2.7 yards per carry from RBs D’Onta Foreman, Jeremy McNichols, and Adrian Peterson. It’s clear the offense struggled, but it was the defense that produced, generating five sacks on Rams QB Matthew Stafford and forcing two interceptions.

Vrabel is finding ways to win with an improving defense. On deck for the Titans: the Saints, 49ers and Dolphins at home, the Texans twice, plus the Jaguars and a mediocre offense in the Steelers. Winning the AFC South and making a playoff run is very much on the table. If it happens, it would be without two key components. Perhaps Vrabel had as much to do with the Titans' success as Smith.

Bill Belichick, New England Patriots: +1400

Remember when we all thought Billy B was a bit bananas for some of his offseason trades and draft picks, namely trading up for a defensive lineman? It’s all part of the Belichick plan to showcase his genius with none of us understanding. Belichick doesn’t need rhyme or reason for his actions, he just does and so far it's working out.

The AFC East is suddenly looking enticing with a race between the Bills and Patriots. After competitive losses to the Buccaneers and Cowboys, New England is now on a three-game winning streak that includes a 27-24 win over the Chargers. With games remaining against the Falcons, Jaguars, and Dolphins, the key matchups will be facing the Bills twice, Colts, Titans, and at home against the Browns in Week 10. I’m not quite convinced this offense led by rookie quarterback Mac Jones is legit, but I am impressed with the defense. It's top 10 in opponent yards per play, fourth in takeaways, and fourth in opponent points per game.

If Belichick can get his rookie quarterback to the playoffs, and maybe even win the AFC East, you’ve got to think Coach of the Year is a possibility. It’s not the easiest of schedules to close out the season, but both this offense and defense continue to improve.

Here’s the thing: Both the Titans and Patriots face challenging opponents in Week 10. The Titans (-3) are at home against the Saints, and the Patriots (-1.5) are at home against the Browns. If either loses, these Coach of the Year odds may just get a little better. If either wins, these current odds could certainly lose value. That’s the struggle of futures betting: finding the right time to buy. In any case, these are the two coaches worth a second look.

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