The ‘Hoodie’ Favored on NFL Coach of the Year Prop

Matthew Jordan

Sunday, August 20, 2017 11:48 PM UTC

Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017 11:48 PM UTC

What determines who the best coach in the NFL is each season? Well, in this case Associated Press voters do, and New England’s Bill Belichick is the Bovada favorite for 2017.

A head coach is only as good as his players, and more specifically his quarterback. When Bill Belichick was the head coach of the Cleveland Browns from 1991-95 he didn’t have a star quarterback, those teams were 36-44 and made one playoff appearance. Belichick lucked into Tom Brady with the New England Patriots as Brady probably goes down as the greatest draft steal in league history as a 2000 sixth-round pick out of Michigan. If not for a crushing hit by Jets linebacker Mo Lewis on Patriots starting quarterback Drew Bledsoe early in the 2001 season, we might not even know who Tom Brady is.

Thanks largely to Brady, Belichick has won five Super Bowls, more than any coach. He’s on the short list of the league’s best ever yet has won Coach of the Year honors “only” three times. Belichick is the +700 NFL betting favorite at Bovada to add a fourth this season. The only coach to win four is Don Shula. He of course holds the NFL record with 328 victories. Belichick will have to coach well into the next decade to pass that mark as he currently has 237 victories. The “Hoodie” could pass former Dallas legend Tom Landry (250) for third on that list if the Pats have a big season as most expect they will.

I don’t pretend to have any inside information on how voters determine the Coach of the Year. It’s an arbitrary award. Obviously said coach would almost surely have to be on a winning team. Entering last season, the Cowboys’ Jason Garrett was among the betting favorites to be the first coach fired. Dallas lucked into Dak Prescott, finished 13-3 and Garrett won the award. He finished with 25 votes, while Belichick was second with 14.

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No coach has won this award with less than double-digit victories that season since the Cowboys’ Jimmy Johnson in 1990. Dallas was 7-9 that year, one season after going 1-15, and on its way to a dynasty behind Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin.

The second-favorite for 2017 is Oakland’s Jack Del Rio at +900. The Raiders were 7-9 in Del Rio’s first season in 2015 but improved to 12-4 last year and reached the playoffs for the first time since 2002. Oakland is a +155 favorite at BetOnline to win the AFC West this season and should do so as long as QB Derek Carr stays healthy. No Raiders coach has won the AP version of this award.

Green Bay’s Mike McCarthy is +1000 followed by Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin (+1200), Carolina’s Ron Rivera (+1200), Tennessee’s Mike Mularkey (+1600) and the LA Chargers’ Anthony Lynn (+1600). I’m a bit surprised McCarthy hasn’t won this previously; he was on the hot seat about midway through last season with the Packers at 4-6. Then Aaron Rodgers went nuts and Green Bay wouldn’t lose another regular-season game on the way to the NFC title tilt vs. Atlanta.

Rivera is a two-time winner of the award, last in 2015 when the Panthers were an NFL-best 15-1. Despite all his success in Pittsburgh, Tomlin has yet to win COY. Mularkey wasn’t a very popular choice to be named the Titans’ head coach after serving as the interim guy about halfway through the 2015 season when Ken Whisenhunt was fired. But the Titans are a franchise on the rise after a 9-7 record a season ago. Lynn was Buffalo’s interim head coach for the final game of the 2016 season after Rex Ryan was fired. Many expected the Bills to name Lynn the full-time coach, but they instead opted for Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott (+3300).

The +5000 long shots on this prop also are some of the favorites on the first coach to be fired prop: the Bears’ John Fox, Browns’ Hue Jackson, Bengals’ Marvin Lewis, Lions’ Jim Caldwell, Jets’ Todd Bowles and Rams first-year coach Sean McVay (he’s not getting fired).

Free NFL Pick: Bucs’ Dirk Koetter (+2000)Best Line Offered: Bovada
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