Today bettors have a loaded Friday slate to choose from, including 9 NBA games, 2 NHL games and 12 College Basketball games. For an updated breakdown of Thursday's betting action, be sure to tune in to the VSiN Market Insights Podcast with Josh Appelbaum. It will be posted by 2:30 p.m. ET.
I'll be joining The Lombardi Line at 1:30 p.m. ET to offer a market update and then I'll be co-hosting Betting Across America with Mike Pritchard from 3 to 4 p.m. ET.
In the meantime, let's update the NFL Awards market heading into Week 18. For many bettors, this is their last chance to cash a ticket before the lines skyrocket and then go off the board.
Midway through the season this was Tom Brady's award to lose. And it appears he will lose out to Aaron Rodgers. The Packers QB is a -400 favorite to win MVP entering the final weekend. Rodgers is receiving 8.2% of tickets but 21.3% of the money at BetMGM. Rodgers has guided Green Bay to the 1-seed and the best record in the NFL. Brady has thrown for more yards (4,990 vs 3,977) and touchdowns (40 vs 35). But Rodgers has thrown fewer interceptions (4 vs 12) and has a higher rating (111.1 vs 100.5).
Offensive Rookie of the Year
Much like the MVP, this award was ticketed to Patriots QB Mac Jones for much of the year. But Bengals WR Ja'Marr Chase just overtook Jones and is now a -225 favorite. Chase was as high as 500 entering Week 17 but then he dazzled with 11 catches, 266 yards and 3 touchdowns against Kansas City and has since flipped to the favorite. Chase now sits at 70 catches, 1,429 yards and 13 touchdowns on the season. Chase is receiving 18.3% of tickets but 31.1% of money. One wonders if the voters will be biased against Jones (now 185) due to the fact that he landed in the best situation with a stable franchise and great coaching.
Offensive Player of the Year
This is the most interesting award to bet on because it's a literal coin flip between the best wide receiver and the best running back. Rams WR Cooper Kupp and Colts RB Jonathan Taylor are both co-favorites at -110. Kupp leads the NFL with 138 catches, 1,829 yards and 15 touchdowns, the vaunted "triple crown." Meanwhile, Taylor has rushed for 1,734 yards and 18 touchdowns, including a 5.5 average. Taylor is receiving 15.7% of the tickets but only 14.3% of the money, which means his support is likely public money. However, Kupp is receiving only 7.5% of tickets but 22.2% of the money. That pronounced "low bets, higher dollars" bet split signals quiet yet bold sharp money on Kupp to win the award.
Defensive Player of the Year
Steelers edge rusher T.J. Watt has separated from the pack and is now a -400 favorite to win the award. Watt leads the NFL with 21.5 sacks. The next closest player in Robert Quinn with 18 sacks. Watt is receiving 22% of bets but a whopping 48.7% Of the handle, a massive smart money discrepancy. As high as the -400 seems, it still might be worth laying it. Micah Parsons has the next best odds at 350 but he was just placed in COVID protocol and could miss the finale. Watt is 180 to break the record for sacks (Strahan has 22.5). He would need 1.5 sacks in the finale against the Ravens.
Comeback Player of the Year
Cowboys QB Dak Prescott was the favorite to win the award all season and remains the favorite at -200. But the gap has shortened thanks to late steam hitting Bengals QB Joe Burrow ( 105). Prescott is receiving 22.7% of tickets but 25.3% of the handle. Meanwhile, Burrow is receiving 20.8% of bets but 53.4% of the handle, a sharper bet split. Burrow has the higher completion percentage (70.4 vs 68.4), more touchdowns (34 vs 32), more yards (4,611 vs 4,154) and a higher QB rating (108.3 vs 100.9). Burrow won't play in the finale. But with better numbers and late movement in his favor he may be worth a look at 105.
Coach of the Year
Similar to the Offensive Rookie of the Year, this award is a coin flip between two coaches. Zac Taylor of the Bengals and Matt Lafleur are both co-favorites at 160. Mike Vrabel of the Titans is 350 but receiving the most tickets (18.2%). While Lafluer has lead Green Bay to the best record in the NFL, voters may hold it against him that he has Aaron Rodgers. After all, any coach would look great if Rodgers was their quarterback. On the flip side, Taylor has received a lot of late action. Historically, this award has gone to a coach who takes a bad team and flips them into a good team. The Bengals went 4-11-1 last season and are now 10-6 and won the division. That rags to riches success story typically brings this award home.