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2023 Midseason NFL Awards Picks, Predictions

Few sports conversations among friends are better than who people think will win each NFL awards race. But when you’re betting in awards markets, it doesn’t matter who you think will win — what matters is who awards voters will vote for. I’ve been studying those trends for years.

In this column, I’ll discuss each awards market from a betting perspective and provide some insights on each market while giving a prediction and a favorite long shot for each race. 

> > READ: The 33rd Team’s Midseason Awards

NFL Midseason Awards


Patrick Mahomes +250 Jalen Hurts +325 Lamar Jackson +450
Tua Tagovailoa +650 Joe Burrow +800 Josh Allen +1800
Trevor Lawrence +2000 Christian McCaffrey +2500 Brock Purdy +3500
Jared Goff +4000 Tyreek Hill +4500 Dak Prescott +5000

When betting in MVP markets, you are looking for a quarterback who:

  • Can headline an elite offense; and
  • Is on a team that can finish the year as the No. 1 seed in its conference.

If you want to dive a little deeper, touchdowns, QBR, EPA, rating and team success matter more than anything else.

Most years, there are a handful of quarterbacks with a realistic path to winning this race at midseason, but that is not the case this season — there are 10 signal callers who can’t be completely ruled out yet. Each quarterback discussed below is leading a team that could finish as the No. 1 seed in its conference.

Patrick Mahomes is only off the pace in the rating category. Voter fatigue could be a factor with him unless he pulls away statistically in the second half. Meanwhile, from a production standpoint, Jalen Hurts has to make up ground in everything but EPA and touchdowns.

Lamar Jackson is off the pace in every important statistical category that has mattered for recent MVP voters. While he’s been very efficient, he’s also 18th in the league in passing yards per game. Hurts and Jackson are in strong positions from a team success standpoint, but they must do more to take down the reigning MVP. The two also have a harder second-half schedule than what they had in the first half of the season.

Tua Tagovailoa has laid a great statistical foundation, but his Miami Dolphins are a touch behind in the AFC race for the top seed. Right now, Joe Burrow is playing his best football of the year — early season struggles dug him a hole in this race, but he surged into contention late in each of the last two years. Josh Allen has a solid statistical foundation, but team success is problematic for his candidacy.

Trevor Lawrence is behind statistically, but his Jacksonville Jaguars have the easiest path to a division title among all contending quarterbacks. Brock Purdy, Jared Goff and Dak Prescott are off the pace from a production standpoint. Purdy has missed a game already, which nearly eliminates him from contention. Prescott’s Dallas Cowboys need a lot of help to be the conference’s top seed, but Goff’s Detroit Lions have a very easy second-half schedule, making him an appealing long shot.

Christian McCaffrey and Tyreek Hill are having great years, but quarterbacks have consistently won the MVP award over the past 15 years. That said, you could argue Hill should be ahead of Tagovailoa through nine weeks — and the same could be said of McCaffrey over Purdy.

MVP Prediction: Joe Burrow

Best Long Shot: Trevor Lawrence

Tyreek Hill makes a leaping catch

Offensive Player of the Year

Christian McCaffrey +125 Tyreek Hill +140 A.J. Brown +500
Ja'Marr Chase +2000 Stefon Diggs +3500 Lamar Jackson +3500

The Offensive Player of the Year award is the most volatile race because it’s been won by both quarterbacks and skill position players. Over the past few seasons, it’s become an award for the best skill position player, and that’s how I treat it from a betting perspective.

The top of this race parallels 2021, when Jonathan Taylor and Cooper Kupp were neck-and-neck for the award for most of the season. McCaffrey will not stop scoring touchdowns, which has driven his candidacy. Hill has a real chance to break the single-season receiving yards record while exceeding 2,000 yards. The panel for The 33rd Team’s midseason awards widely favors Hill in this race.

In many seasons, A.J. Brown would have been the favorite, but he’s slightly behind Hill in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. Stefon Diggs is the slight leader in receptions, but he’s more than 200 yards behind Hill in receiving yards. And Jackson’s odds are a fine example of why this award is a volatile betting market: He’s third in the MVP race but ahead of Mahomes and Hurts for OPOY.

OPOY Prediction: Tyreek Hill

Best Long Shot: Ja’Marr Chase

Micah Parsons brings down a Eagles player

Defensive Player of the Year

Micah Parsons +180 Myles Garrett +190 T.J. Watt +200
Aidan Hutchinson +3000 Maxx Crosby +3000 Fred Warner +3500
Danielle Hunter +5000 Khalil Mack +6500 Josh Allen +7000

Elite pass rushers on contending teams usually win Defensive Player of the Year. Splash plays — sacks, interceptions, forced fumbles, fumble recoveries and defensive touchdowns — are major drivers in this race.

Micah Parsons has maintained his lead in this race despite being 2.5 sacks behind the sack leader at midseason. A Week 10 game against QB Tommy DeVito and the New York Giants is a great opportunity for Parsons to make up some ground.

T.J. Watt and Myles Garrett each have 9.5 sacks, which is half a sack off the lead. The success of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns is driven by their defenses, of which Garrett and Watt are the headliners. Watt’s interception for a touchdown gives him a slight edge over Garrett, and our panel favors Watt over Garrett. I’d also vote for Watt in this race if the season ended today.

Maxx Crosby would be in the thick of this race if he played for a contending team. Aidan Hutchinson is a solid long shot because he’s the best defender on the contending Lions. If Hutchinson’s sack numbers go up, he has a path here. Fred Warner is the only non–pass rusher I included; he and Nick Bosa play for an elite defense on a contending team, but they’ll need more production to catch the favorites in this race.

Danielle Hunter leads the league in sacks with 10, and the Minnesota Vikings could finish the year as the NFC’s seventh seed. Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa are two more solid long shots if the Los Angeles Chargers end up making the playoffs. Josh Allen has nine sacks, one off the lead, for a Jaguars team likely to win its division.

DPOY Prediction: Micah Parsons

Best Long Shot: Josh Allen

C.J. Stroud drops back to pass

Offensive Rookie of the Year

C.J. Stroud -500 Puka Nacua +750 Jahmyr Gibbs +1400
Bijan Robinson +2000 Will Levis +2500 De'Von Achane +3000

Offensive Rookie of the Year can be won by high-performing quarterbacks, running backs or wide receivers. Quarterbacks have a big advantage in most offensive awards, but that isn’t always the case in this race.

This race was open before C.J. Stroud hung 470 passing yards and five touchdowns for the Houston Texans against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 9. That performance all but locked up Stroud as this year’s Offensive Rookie of the Year, which is reflected in betting markets.

Puka Nacua was wildly productive early in the year, but his production has slowed down in a big way over the Los Angeles Rams’ past five games. Jahmyr Gibbs and Bijan Robinson play in split backfields, giving them very narrow paths to catching Stroud.

And while Stroud has eight games under his belt, Will Levis has played two games, so Stroud would need to have a second-half meltdown for Levis to contend. De’Von Achane has missed multiple games, but if he continues his torrid pace, he may actually have the best shot of catching Stroud.

OROY Prediction: C.J. Stroud

Best Long Shot: De’Von Achane

Jalen Carter takes on multiple Cleveland players

Defensive Rookie of the Year

Jalen Carter -300 Devon Witherspoon +250 Will Anderson Jr. +2000

The Defensive Rookie of the Year award is usually won by pass rushers taken in the first half of the first round. That said, linebackers and cornerbacks have won this award a few times over the past decade.

Jalen Carter is the most dominant defender in this year’s draft class, but his four sacks haven’t distanced him as much as betting markets might indicated. Devon Witherspoon is having a very good year, but his only splash plays came during his monster game against the Giants in Week 4.

Will Anderson Jr. only has two sacks, but he’s a big game away from matching Carter. Anderson should be third in this race, but his odds should be closer to +800.

DROY Prediction: Jalen Carter 

Best Long Shot: Will Anderson Jr.

A close-up of Tua Tagovailoa as he looks to pass

Comeback Player of the Year

Damar Hamlin -110 Tua Tagovailoa +200 Lamar Jackson +1000
Josh Dobbs +1400 Baker Mayfield +1500 Breece Hall +1500

Any player who is overcoming some form of adversity can win Comeback Player of the Year. That adversity is usually a significant injury, but career resurrections have also been the story behind winners. Quarterbacks have an advantage, and team success matters in this race.

Damar Hamlin’s recovery is remarkable, but he hasn’t played a defensive snap yet this season, and his lead in betting markets has been gradually slipping. Keep in mind that Hamlin’s situation is unique, and one game could result in him winning this award. 

In a normal year, Tagovailoa would be the favorite in a landslide. Jackson is third in the voting, but an issue with his place in this market is that his injury might not unofficially qualify as significant enough for awards voters. Joshua Dobbs and Baker Mayfield have strong cases if their teams make the playoffs, but they are way behind Tagovailoa. A running back hasn’t won this award since Garrison Hearst did so in 2001, making Hall a complete cross off.

CPOY Prediction: Tua Tagovailoa

Best Long Shot: None

Dan Campbell stands on the sideline in a Lions sweatshirt

Coach of the Year

Dan Campbell +175 Mike McDaniel +400 DeMeco Ryans +500
John Harbaugh +1200 Kevin O'Connell +1500 Dennis Allen +7500

Coach of the Year is not given to the best or most successful coach in that particular season. It is an “exceeds expectations” award, usually won by coaches who make the playoffs with a team that finished below .500 the previous year.

Dan Campbell’s Lions went 9-8 last year but didn’t make the playoffs. Considering the job he’s done turning Detroit into a contender, he should be the favorite. The 33rd Team’s panel of experts agrees. Mike McDaniel’s offense will likely need to finish the season as the best of all time for him to win this race.

If the Texans make the playoffs, DeMeco Ryans fits the profile of a traditional Coach of the Year winner. John Harbaugh’s position in betting markets is bizarre because the Baltimore Ravens won 10 games last year despite their starting quarterback missing five games. 

Kevin O’Connell’s Vikings won 13 games last year, but his path mimics Mike Vrabel’s from 2021 when the Tennessee Titans overcame major injuries. Tennessee finished as the AFC’s No. 1 seed that season, but O’Connell has a compelling case if Minnesota just makes the playoffs.

The New Orleans Saints are in the driver’s seat in the NFC South after winning seven games last season. Dennis Allen may not win this race, but his odds should be closer to +1500 than +7500 in betting markets.

COY Prediction: Dan Campbell

Best Long Shot: Dennis Allen

Ryan Reynolds is the associate director of fantasy and betting at The 33rd Team and has been covering NFL betting markets for five years. Follow him @RyanReynoldsNFL on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.