Checking out NFL awards market

By Jason Weingarten  (VSiN.com) 

bridge

The expansion of U.S. sports gambling has grown the NFL futures betting market significantly, and a big plus for the player is the ability to shop for prices with various bookmakers. Though the consensus favorites will be priced similarly, differences of opinion will always exist between bookmakers and good prices to be found farther down the board.

I’ve mentioned Teddy Bridgewater as an MVP candidate a couple of times, and some good numbers are still available on him. The Broncos are 3-0 with a home game against the Ravens this weekend, and it’s a bad spot for Baltimore, playing the second of back-to-back road games. I know some money has come in on the Ravens and the line is down from Broncos -2 to pick-’em, but I still like the Broncos. 

Bridgewater’s MVP odds are + 2500 at DraftKings, + 3500 at Circa, + 8000 at Fan Duel and + 6600 at BetMGM.

Bridgewater ranks second in the NFL in completion percentage at 76.8, behind only Dak Prescott at 77.5. He’s averaging 275.7 passing yards per game and has thrown four touchdown passes against no interceptions through three games, though that number is slightly misleading as last weekend’s 26-0 blowout of the Jets was so lopsided that Bridgewater didn’t really have to do much in the second half.

Bridgewater’s season-long touchdown numbers will probably not be close to anything Matthew Stafford, Tom Brady or Patrick Mahomes put up, but the Broncos could win the AFC West, and competing for the No. 1 seed in the playoffs isn’t out of the question. The AFC appears to have no elite teams this year with the possible exception of the Buffalo Bills and the slow-starting Kansas City Chiefs.

I know some people will say the Broncos have benefited from an easy early schedule with games against the Giants, Jaguars and Jets, and that is absolutely correct. But a win over the Ravens would go a long way toward making Bridgewater a serious contender. 

This week I’m adding $500 on Bridgewater at 80-1 at FanDuel. I think the 80-1 at FanDuel and 66-1 at BetMGM are both playable. I would pass at 35-1 or lower. I am also betting $1,100 to win $1,000 on the Broncos to beat the Ravens this weekend. 

Offensive Rookie of the Year

DraftKings

Mac Jones + 400

Ja’Marr Chase + 500

Trey Lance + 750

Trevor Lawrence + 1000

Justin Fields + 1000

Najee Harris + 1200

Kyle Pitts + 2000

Davis Mills + 5000

Rashawn Slater + 5000

Circa

Mac Jones + 300

Trevor Lawrence + 500

Najee Harris + 600

Ja’Marr Chase + 700

Kyle Pitts + 1200

Justin Fields + 1500

Trey Lance + 2000

Davis Mils + 4000

Rashawn Slater Unlisted 

FanDuel

Ja’Marr Chase + 380

Mac Jones + 450

Trey Lance + 750

Justin Fields + 900

Trevor Lawrence + 900

Najee Harris + 1000

Kyle Pitts + 2000

Davis Mills + 6000

Rashawn Slater + 10000

BetMGM

Mac Jones + 425

Ja’Marr Chase + 450

Trey Lance + 800

Trevor Lawrence + 1000

Justin Fields + 1000

Najee Harris + 1100

Kyle Pitts + 2200

Davis Mills + 6600

Rashawn Slater + 1000

Mac Jones is the favorite everywhere except FanDuel, which for some reason thinks a wide receiver should be favored after three weeks. Jones has thrown for 737 yards and two touchdowns with three interceptions, with the Patriots’ only win coming against the lowly Jets. I’m unimpressed with Jones and don’t think I will be any more impressed after he faces the Bucs this weekend. I wouldn’t bet on Jones or Ja’Marr Chase at their current prices. There’s no reason for any wide receiver to be that short this early, even with an awful QB field. We saw last year with Justin Jefferson putting up historic numbers, and A.J. Brown the season before, that this market favors quarterbacks.

Trevor Lawrence has 669 yards passing through three games, all losses, and five touchdown passes to go along with seven interceptions. Not great numbers by any means, but he is still the No. 1 overall pick, and I don’t see why he should be 10-1. You don’t usually get a good number like that with an elite first-round quarterback. This week I’m adding another $500 on Lawrence to win Offensive Rookie of the Year at 10-1 at BetMGM. 

Najee Harris had 14 receptions for 102 yards on 19 targets, an unusually large number of receptions and targets for a running back. With Harris still available at + 1200 at DraftKings, I’m adding $500 on Harris there.

Trey Lance is still 20-1 at Circa, which doesn’t think he’ll get playing time soon, and Circa might be right. Lance has been on the field for only seven plays, but he has scored two touchdowns. Hard to win this award without being on the field, but I’m going to add another $250 on Lance at 20-1 at Circa this week. If he starts getting onto the field more, this number will drop quickly. 

I also bet another $100 on Rashawn Slater at 100-1. I know an offensive lineman has never won the Offensive Rookie of the Year, but I think it’s possible since this is a down year for rookies in general and Slater might end up being an elite offensive tackle on a playoff team. That should warrant consideration at the end of the season, and the downside is only $100. I’ve made worse bets, like the Eagles-Cowboys Under on Monday night.

Defensive Rookie of the Year

Micah Parsons + 600 at DraftKings

I made some bets on various rookie defensive backs and I think those bets are live, specifically on Asante Samuel Jr. and Patrick Surtain Jr. I also bet Odafe Oweh, and I think he’ll continue to get playing time for the Ravens and make an impact. But after three weeks I’ve seen Micah Parsons on TV the most and have heard him talked about the most. 

Parsons fell to the 12th pick in the draft this year but has already been an impact player on the Cowboys’ defense. I think + 600 is too high and won’t be available in the weeks to come. I bet $1,000 on Parsons at + 600 at DraftKings this week. 

Division Futures

I’ve already bet the Broncos to win the AFC West and the Chiefs to miss the playoffs. This week I am adding to those positions again — another $500 on the Broncos + 425 to win the AFC West at Circa and three bets on the Chiefs to miss the playoffs: $1,000 at Circa, $500 at + 300 at DraftKings and $500 at + 320 at FanDuel. 

People think I’m crazy for betting against the Chiefs, but I think that eventually all the extra playoff games they have played will catch up to them. Also every team in the AFC West is getting better, and the Chiefs are already 0-1 vs. AFC West opponents and play four of their five remaining division games from Weeks 13 to 18. If the Chiefs take control of the AFC West, I don’t think they’ll do it before their bye week at the end of November. Everybody in the AFC West is live to make the playoffs and win the division. I happen to like the Broncos, but I think the play here is to fade the Chiefs.

In addition, I made the following yes/no playoff bets to win $500 each on favorites and risk $500 on underdogs: 

Chargers Yes + 125 (DraftKings)

Saints No -105 (DraftKings)

Patriots No -205 (FanDuel)

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