2023 NFL Betting: Analyzing 5 Coach of the Year Candidates

Charles Davis and Paul Burmeister provided their 10 most interesting coaching storylines of the 2023 season. The five head coaches they discussed have a real path to winning Coach of the Year this season. Let’s examine each of them from that betting perspective.

All odds in this article were listed on DraftKings Sportsbook on May 31, 2023.

5 Coach of the Year Contenders

Sean Payton, Denver Broncos

At a minimum, Payton is a borderline Hall of Fame coach. He won this award in 2006 as a first-year head coach with the New Orleans Saints. He is the second favorite in this year’s Coach of the Year race with +900 odds. 

Russell Wilson had a legacy-damaging season in his first year with the Denver Broncos, resulting in a 5-12 record. Payton should be among the favorites in this race because the Broncos fit the profile of a team that can significantly improve. If Denver improves, Payton will get a lot of credit.

Payton is a strong candidate in this race, but he’s not a great option at his current price. Instead of thinking about a bet today, let’s see if we can find a potential insertion point in the future. 

After a manageable start against the Las Vegas Raiders and Washington Commanders, the Broncos have a brutal seven-game stretch. Denver plays the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills on the road, along with a game against the New York Jets and two against the Kansas City Chiefs

Check back in on Payton’s odds after Denver’s Week 10 visit to Buffalo.

Sean McVay, Los Angeles Rams

After a Super Bowl run in 2021, everything went wrong for the 5-12 Los Angeles Rams last season. Suppose you’re considering a Coach of the Year bet on McVay at +3000. In that case, you must consider this primary question: can McVay, Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp and 32-year-old Aaron Donald carry any otherwise below-average Rams roster to the playoffs?

If you answer yes, McVay’s 30-1 odds are solid. If your answer is maybe, check back in on McVay heading into Week 4 after the Rams start the season at the Seattle Seahawks, vs. the San Francisco 49ers and at the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday Night Football.

Matt Eberflus, Chicago Bears

I bet Eberflus at +1800 to win Coach of the Year when awards markets were released months ago. Eberflus should be among the favorites in this race, as the Chicago Bears were the worst team in the league last year, and they significantly improved on both sides of the ball. However, Eberflus is now +1100 in this race, which means there is no value at his current price. 

Between now and opening day, I will take Eberflus again if I can find him somewhere around 20-1 type odds.

Arthur Smith, Atlanta Falcons

Smith is the other Coach of the Year candidate I’ve bet on. I got him at +2500 weeks ago; he’s now +1600 on DraftKings, which is a more appropriate price.

The Atlanta Falcons have a manageable schedule, and the NFC South is the most winnable division in the sport. If the Falcons win their division, Smith isn’t an automatic Coach of the Year winner, but he will be right in the thick of things.

Dennis Allen, New Orleans Saints

Allen is in a fascinating position in the Coach of the Year race as a mid-range +2500 long shot. On the one hand, the Saints are well positioned to significantly improve on their 7-10 record from last season, given their cupcake schedule.

On the other, New Orleans has a 9.5-game win total and is the favorite to win their division. The Saints are expected to be a playoff team. Further, if New Orleans wins the NFC South with 10 or more wins, Derek Carr will get a fair amount of the credit. 

Allen probably needs Payton, McVay, Eberflus and division-rival Smith to fail to win this race.

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