Brian Daboll, Robert Saleh can win Coach of the Year

As the NFL season draws near, sportsbooks are offering more odds for eager football bettors. One market that was recently released by BetMGM is NFL Coach of the Year odds and the names at the top of the list might surprise you.

Five coaches opened as the co-favorites at +1400. Three of them are first-time head coaches, including the Giants’ Brian Daboll. He’s joined by Mike McDaniel (Dolphins), Kevin O’Connell (Vikings), Doug Pederson (Jaguars) and Brandon Staley (Chargers) at the top of the oddsboard. The Broncos’ Nathaniel Hackett, also making his NFL coaching debut, is next in line at +1600.

It’s not surprising to see first-year head coaches with short odds to win the NFL Coach of the Year. The thinking being that a new coaching staff might deliver better results than their fired predecessors. Instant improvement always puts a first-year coach in the running for the award.

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On the other hand, a guy like Bill Belichick has been so successful, that he needs to do something spectacular to get votes. Belichick has won the award three times in his storied career but the last one was in 2010.

Mike Tomlin – the second-longest tenured NFL head coach behind Belichick – has yet to win the award, despite never posting a losing record in 15 seasons. To put that into perspective, both Jason Garrett (2016) and Matt Nagy (2018) won Coach Of the Year and have since been fired.

Here are four coaches worth a look to win this year’s NFL COY.

Brian Daboll +1400

I’ve already written numerous times this offseason that I expect the Giants to be the most improved team in the NFL. I bet New York over seven wins and +900 to win the NFC East. Why not add Daboll to win the NFL Coach of the Year to the list?

I can’t guarantee that Daboll will be a great NFL head coach, but I can guarantee he’ll be better than Joe Judge. The Giants coaching staff as a whole is miles better than it was last season. That’s a pretty easy statement to make once a team gets rid of Judge and (offensive coordinator) Garrett.

Daboll’s biggest strength has been putting his quarterbacks in a position to succeed. I expect him to do the same with Daniel Jones and the team has weapons around him. The offense can’t be any worse than it was last season when it averaged a putrid 9.9 points over its final eight games.

The Giants were also one of the most injured teams in the NFL last season. All the signs are pointing up for the G-Men in 2022 and if I’m right about them winning the NFC East, you can hand Daboll the award.

Giants' coach Brian Daboll during practice at a rookie minicamp in East Rutherford, NJ
Brian Daboll said he was inspired by the Rangers’ comeback from the 3-1 series deficit to oust the Penguins, a series the Giants coach attended in person on multiple occasions. Bill Kostroun
Bill Kostroun / New York Post

Nathaniel Hackett +1600

One thing I learned in my 30-plus years of sports betting is you have to be objective. You can’t allow personal biases to creep into your handicapping. I don’t particularly like Hackett. The offenses he’s coordinated lacked imagination and Hackett’s overall resume doesn’t scream successful head coach.

However, that all went out the window the second Denver traded for Russell Wilson. The only reason the Seahawks were in playoff contention the last few years is because of Wilson. That team lacks talent but Wilson constantly pulled out wins with late-game heroics to keep Seattle competitive.

The Broncos ranked eighth in total defense and third in scoring defense last season but finished 7-10. They lost four games by five points or less. In those four losses, the defense allowed an average of 19 points but the offense scored only 15 points.

Denver’s issues the past couple of seasons have been turnovers and poor quarterback play. The addition of Wilson solves both of those problems. An elite quarterback can make a coach look a lot smarter. Just ask the Bengals’ Zac Taylor. He went from the hot seat to the Super Bowl in one year thanks to Joe Burrow.

The Broncos should be really good this season and if they win a stacked AFC West, it will be hard to pass over Hackett for the award.


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Sean McDermott +3000

If you’re looking for a longer shot, how about McDermott at 30-1? These odds jumped out to me immediately because the Bills are the preseason favorites to win the Super Bowl and have arguably the most talented roster in the NFL.

Like I mentioned above, sometimes it’s difficult for a coach of a team that’s expected to be good to win the award. It’s a bit surprising that McDermott has never won the Coach of the Year considering the amazing job he’s done in Buffalo.

The Bills hadn’t been to the postseason since 1999 before McDermott arrived. In the last five years, McDermott has taken Buffalo to the playoffs four times and recorded at least 10 wins in three straight seasons.

If McDermott leads the Bills to the best record in a competitive AFC after losing Daboll, voters may finally reward him with the NFL Coach of the Year.

New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh smiles as Denzel Mims and Joe Flacco participate in drills at the team's training facility in Florham Park, NJ, Tuesday, May 24, 2022.
Robert Saleh
AP

Robert Saleh +3000

I wanted to mention Saleh because the popular opinion among NFL fans is the Jets will be much improved this season. I agree with that opinion. Although, oddsmakers are telling us to pump the brakes on Gang Green.

Not only is Saleh tied for the third-longest odds to take home Coach of the Year, but the Jets’ win total is set at 5.5 and they are a distant +700 to make the playoffs – ahead of only the Texans and Falcons.

So why are oddsmakers throwing water on all the Jets’ preseason hype? The answer is because New York plays in the loaded AFC. While it’s indisputable that the Jets have more talent than they did at this time last year, oddsmakers don’t believe the improvement will lead to a winning record.

But if Saleh proves them wrong and New York is better than oddsmakers are projecting, he’ll be one of the top candidates to win the award. And the Jets will be better than oddsmakers are projecting, so you might want to grab that +3000 now.

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