NFL training camps have begun, so we’ve started checking in on popular NFL Futures bets to see if there are any enticing opportunities to make some money.
Earlier this offseason, we covered the Offensive Rookie of the Year and Defensive Rookie of the Year, Offensive Player of the Year, and Defensive Player of the Year, but now we’re going to move onto the sidelines with the NFL Coach of the Year.
Below, we’ll go through the typical qualifications for Coach of the Year plus some of the names to watch for this season. If you like any of the bets we discuss and feel like making a bet of your own, make sure to check out our sportsbook sign-up offers for free money.
First, let’s tackle what it usually takes to win Coach of the Year. While the award claims to be given to the coach who had the “most outstanding season,” it usually goes to a coach that led his team to the biggest improvement over last season. That can be taking a team who previously failed to deliver into the playoffs, like Kevin Stefanski did in 2020, or taking a good team and leading them to a great season, as John Harbaugh did in 2019.
Coaches can also win Coach of the Year for overcoming out-of-the-ordinary obstacles as Bruce Arians did in 2014 after he was thrust into the role when Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia.
Given the subjective nature of having a team “improve the most,” Coach of the Year tends to be more hotly contested than a lot of the other end-of-year awards in the NFL. Last year, Mike Vrabel won Coach of the Year for taking the Titans to a 12-6 record despite losing Derrick Henry, A.J. Brown, and Julio Jones for large chunks of the season. However, five total coaches received votes.
It’s also important to note that first-year coaches have won 12 of the last 31 Coach of the Year awards, which is 39% of the time. Also, a Coach of the Year essentially has to lead his team to the playoffs. Every single winner since 1999 has won at least ten games.
So when deciding who to bet on for the 2022 NFL Coach of the Year, we should really be looking for a coach that can lead his team to at least ten wins, makes a noticeable improvement over last season, and/or is new to his team. If you like any of the bets we discuss, use one of these sign-up offers.
Brandon Staley, Los Angeles Chargers (+1400)
Despite having a rising star quarterback in Justin Herbert, the Chargers went just 9-8 last season and missed the playoffs in pretty dramatic fashion. Given the talent on this team, it’s easy to see them winning three more games and making a strong run towards the postseason, which should help make up for the fact that Staley is not a first-year coach. He also received tons of criticism about his fourth-down decisions last year, so if the voters can argue that he “improved” as a coach as well, he’s a strong bet to win the Coach of the Year in 2022.
Brian Daboll, New York Jets (+1400)
Daboll has been a hot name on the coaching circuit for the last few years due to his work with Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills offense. There are many that believe he is the main person to be credited for turning Allen from a raw and divisive prospect into an MVP candidate.
Daboll now takes over a Giants team that dealt with myriad injuries last year and finished just 4-13. With Saquon Barkley now two years removed from ACL surgery and a revamped offensive line, this Giants offense should be much better, but can Daboll get to that elusive ten-win total? Can the Giants get into the playoffs?
If you think the answer is “Yes,” then Daboll makes a great bet because he’d both lead his team to tremendous improvement and be a first-year coach. Since his odds are +1400 that means that a $100 bet on Daboll would bet you a $1,400 profit if he wins. Not a bad gamble.
Nathaniel Hackett, Denver Broncos (+1600)
Nathaniel Hackett is another guy who checks a few boxes as a first-year coach who could lead a much-improved team. Last year, the Denver Broncos finished 7-10, but are now contenders in the AFC West thanks to the addition of Russell Wilson in the offseason. With Wilson throwing to Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton, and Tim Patrick, plus Javonte Williams in the backfield, the Broncos have a good chance to win 10+ games and get into the playoffs. With that and Hackett’s status as a first-year coach, he could be a decent bet to steal Coach of the Year.
Mike McDaniel, Miami Dolphins (+1600)
Mike McDaniel is another first-year coach on a trendy team. The Dolphins went 9-8 last year, and while that was a step back from 2020, the Dolphins had been 1-7 at one point in the 2021 season. Going 8-1 to end the year has people optimistic about the Dolphins this season. That was even before they went out and traded for Tyreek Hill and signed Chase Edmonds in the offseason.
Since the Dolphins are unlikely to improve more than two or three wins, it’s likely that Hackett is a better bet than McDaniel to capture the Coach of the Year award.
Kevin O’Connell, Minnesota Vikings (+1800)
Kevin O’Connell is another first-year coach on a team that missed the playoffs last year. Despite having tons of talent in Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, and Dalvin Cook, the Vikings suffered some key defensive issues and struggled to an 8-9 season last year. O’Connell was given the job with the expectation that he would open up the offense to be even more explosive.
With the Packers now playing without Davante Adams and the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions still with tons of question marks, the Vikings are another team who could improve dramatically and vault O’Connell to the front of the Coach of the Year race.
Dark Horse Options
Dennis Allen, New Orleans Saints (+2800)
We’re getting into longer shot odds now, so betting $100 on Dennis Allen to win Coach of the Year would net you a profit of $2,800 if he wins. While the Saints did fine last year at 9-8, Allen has a few things working in his favor. He’s taking over for a long-time head coach in Sean Payton, which would help his narrative if he’s able to guide the Saints to the Super Bowl.
Allen will also be dealing with a potential suspension for star running back Alvin Kamara, which will obviously hurt the Saints’ chances of getting to that important ten win mark, but it would make Allen an strong narrative to win if he’s able to do so.
Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks (+5000)
If you want a narrative-based long-shot bet, there’s none better. Russell Wilson was traded. Chris Carson retired. The Seahawks are coming off a seven-win season. Despite still having DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, Rashaad Penny and some talent on the defensive end, the public narrative is that the Seahawks are not a contender. In fact, they are currently projected to finish last in the NFC West and have +1500 odds to win the division.
If Carroll is able to guide the Seahawks into the playoffs, he could be a frontrunner for Coach of the Year. With these odds, a $100 bet on him to win would net you a $5000 profit. Not a bad return there.
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