You never root for someone to lose their job, but a popular prop at sportsbooks entering every NFL season is which head coach gets fired first. Expert capper will analyze NFL odds for prop betting selections.
If I'm a head coach of a potentially bad AFC team heading to London for an early-season game this year, I would definitely have my resume updated before I get on the plane to hop across the pond.
In 2014, Oakland went to London at 0-3 and promptly was smashed by the Miami Dolphins 38-14. The next day, the Raiders gave the boot to head coach Dennis Allen -- he's now the defensive coordinator of the New Orleans Saints. The Raiders had every right to fire Allen as he had won eight of the 36 games with the Raiders after joining the team after serving as the Denver defensive coordinator in 2011.
In 2015, Miami went to London at 1-2 and promptly was dominated 27-14 by the New York Jets, a game the Fins were outgained 425-226 and had nine penalties. It sure looked as if the Miami players had quit under Coach Joe Philbin and he was fired the next day after a 24-28 record for the former Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator. No coach since Don Shula has completed more than four full seasons with the Dolphins.
There are three games in London this year: the Jaguars "host" the Colts at Wembley Stadium in Week 4; in Week 7, the Rams are the home team against the New York Giants in the first NFL game at Twickenham Stadium; and in Week 8, the Bengals will wear their home uniforms at Wembley Stadium against the Redskins.
It makes sense for an NFL owner/front office to fire a coach during a bye week so the new coach, usually a promoted coordinator, has two full weeks to get things in order and make any scheme changes, etc. And teams that go to London then have a bye week -- except for the Colts this year, who opted not to have the bye immediately after the England trip.
McCoy, Caldwell Will Last Season But Then ...
The +400 favorites on BetOnline odds are San Diego's Mike McCoy and Detroit's Jim Caldwell. It makes perfect sense that the Chargers' McCoy and Lions' Caldwell are the betting favorites on NFL odds as both were nearly canned last year. San Diego went 9-7 in McCoy's first two years with one playoff berth but slipped to 4-12 last year despite a big season from quarterback Philip Rivers. Frankly, he was about the only thing good on the team. McCoy did dump several assistant coaches -- including his offensive coordinator -- this offseason to save his own neck. To ensure that he's not a lame-duck coach, the Bolts extended his contract through 2017. That means nothing.
While I don't think that the Chargers will be much better this year, especially with No. 3 overall pick Joey Bosa just recently signing his contract and reporting to the team, I doubt the Chargers fire McCoy during the season. Why? The team is more focused on a Nov. 8 ballot issue in the city that will decide whether a new stadium will be built or if the team possibly moves to Los Angeles as early as next year.
Caldwell led the Lions to an 11-5 record and playoff spot in his first season in 2014 but the Lions slipped to 7-9 in 2015 with ownership totally cleaning house in the front office during the season. Usually a new general manager will hire his own head coach. But working in Caldwell's favor to return was that the Lions played very well after starting 1-7 and that several team leaders, led by quarterback Matthew Stafford and now-retired Calvin Johnson, said they wanted Caldwell back.
The Rams' Jeff Fisher is +600 on NFL picks and he has that dangerous London game. Yet you hear that the Rams are going to give a contract extension to Fisher even though he is just 27-36-1 with the team. If you have watched "Hard Knocks" on HBO, I don't think the Rams are going to be very good this year.
Buffalo's Rex Ryan and Jacksonville's Gus Bradley round out the favorites at +1000. Ryan reportedly already has been told he will be fired after the season if the Bills don't end the NFL's longest playoff drought. It seems like nothing has gone right on that team this offseason with suspensions and injuries, including to Buffalo's first two picks in the draft. Plus the Bills regressed last year in Ryan's first season. Bradley is just 12-36 with the Jaguars, but many believe, as I do, this his team is on the rise.
NFL Free Pick: I think it's either Ryan or Bradley. If the Bills don't beat the visiting Jets in Week 2 they could start 0-4 as they visit Baltimore in Week 1, host Arizona in Week 3 and visit New England (without Tom Brady) in Week 4. Jacksonville is home to Green Bay, at San Diego, home to Baltimore and faces the Colts in London before that Week 5 bye. I'm going with Ryan here as I believe the Jags will be at least 2-2 after the trip overseas.