Jason Weingarten has been following the NFL awards markets throughout the season and has isolated a few opportunities based on the Week 4 results, injuries that have popped up and changes to the betting odds.
In this update going into Week 5, Jason highlights Defensive Player of the Year, NFL MVP and Coach of the Year.
Defensive Player of the Year Odds
Aaron Donald has won the Defensive Player of the Year award three of the last four seasons, with his only loss coming in 2019 to Patriots defensive back Stephon Gilmore. If Aaron Donald is going to lose this season, it's likely going to be a defensive back and not another defensive lineman that beats him.
The favorite for DPOY right now is Browns DE Myles Garrett at + 350 across the market. Garrett is leading the NFL in sacks with 6 through 4 games, 4.5 of those coming against the Bears in week 3. Garrett is a worthy DPOY candidate and has had the misfortune of being the second-best lineman in the NFL Aaron Donald in recent years. But + 350 doesn’t interest me from a betting perspective four weeks into the NFL season.
The player I’ve been most impressed with is Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs. He has five interceptions through the first four games of the NFL season and I think those interceptions are more impressive than Myles Garrett’s six sacks, especially with 4.5 of those coming against the Bears in Justin Fields first start. And more importantly while Garrett is + 350 after only four games, Trevon Diggs is still available between 16/1 and 18/1, down from a high of 20/1 on Monday.
Diggs has been graded as the best CB in the NFL through 4 weeks. Yesterday, The Athletic called Diggs ‘the Cowboys’ best cornerback since Deion Sanders,’ and ESPN’s Bill Barnwell pointed out that Diggs’ five interceptions in four games last happened in 2009, when quarterbacks threw interceptions 3.1 percent of the time compared to this season where the interception rate is down to 2.1 percent.
With passing in the NFL at an all-time high, a shutdown corner is as valuable as ever. With the Cowboys positioned as NFC East favorites, I think + 1800 is a great price on a guy who should stay near the top of the DPOY race all season. It's unlikely Diggs keeps up this interception pace, if only for the fact that teams are going to be less likely to throw the ball to Diggs' side of the field. The Cowboys continuing to win coupled with strong defensive performances should be the formula to see Diggs price drop. This week I bet $1000 to win $18000 on Trevon Diggs DPOY at BetMGM.
Lamar Jackson 25/1 DraftKings/Fanduel/BetMGM
The NFL MVP continues to be a top-heavy market. Kyler Murray and Justin Herbert are ascending and becoming top-tier quarterbacks, Patrick Mahomes remains the best QB in the NFL regardless of the Chiefs dwindling talent on defense. Dak Prescott is back and leading the Cowboys on offense, Matt Stafford is in LA with Sean McVay, Tom Brady is Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers, whose odds were as high as 32/1 at Circa after a Week 1 blowout and are now back down to 10/1. Currently, there are eight quarterbacks (Murray, Mahomes, Allen, Herbert, Prescott, Rodgers, Stafford, Brady) listed at odds under 15/1.
My pick last week was Teddy Bridgewater, who was on the fringe of the top 10 QBs after three weeks but a concussion in the second quarter against the Ravens and a loss by the Broncos has probably eliminated Bridgewater from serious MVP consideration barring an immediate comeback and four touchdowns a game every game for the next month.
The quarterback that opposed Bridgewater on the other side, Ravens QB and former MVP Lamar Jackson, is the quarterback who caught my attention. The Ravens 3-1 and Lamar Jackson is on pace to fly over his career-high of 401 passing attempts, while also rushing for more than 1,100 yards. Jackson currently isn’t in the top 10 in passing yards, completion percentage or touchdowns but he’s ninth in the NFL in rushing yards and second in the NFL in yards per carry with 6.6, trailing only Tony Pollard. Jackson also leads the NFL in 20 or more yard rushing plays with four. I don’t think Jackson is going to come close to the 36 touchdowns he threw on his way to winning MVP in 2019, but you can’t discount his contributions to the running game. A Ravens division title and 1,200 rushing yards would put Jackson in consideration for MVP with the likes of Mahomes and Murray. This price is kind of a ‘what have you done for me lately’ price. There are a lot of good quarterbacks in the NFL and it's surprising to see Lamar Jackson almost double the price of Tom Brady or Matt Stafford after four weeks. This week I bet $1500 on Lamar Jackson at 25/1 at BetMGM.
Coach of the Year
I have been impressed with the Chargers and the Chargers defense. I like 8/1 or even 7/1 on Brandon Staley to win Coach of the Year especially compared to the market prices on Chargers to win the AFC West at + 225. If the Chargers win the AFC West over the Chiefs I’d be surprised if Brandon Staley wasn’t the Coach of the Year so 8/1 seems like too good of a price to pass up this week. I’m in for $1000 this week on Brandon Staley to win Coach of the Year at 8/1.