For NFL fans and sports bettors, the offseason is way too long.
But it also means that there’s plenty of time to speculate, make early predictions, and load up on futures bets while the odds are ripe for the picking.
There’s been no shortage of NFL head coaching changes in 2022, which should make this year’s Coach of the Year race an interesting one.
The Washington Commanders’ Ron Rivera has already won the award twice in his career, and with the team poised for a bounce-back season, he’ll look to join Don Shula, Bill Belichick, and Chuck Knox as the only coaches to achieve the honor three times.
Here’s a look at some of this year’s favorites and where Rivera stands.
2022 AP NFL Coach of the Year Odds
|Brandon Staley, LAC||+1400||+1400||+1600||+1500|
|Doug Pederson, JAX||+1400||+1800||+1600||+2000|
|Brian Daboll, NYG||+1400||+1800||+1200||+2000|
|Dan Campbell, DET||+1400||+1800||+1200||+1700|
|Mike McDaniel, MIA||+1600||+1600||+1600||+2000|
|Ron Rivera, WAS||+3000||+2800||+3500||+3000|
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Coach of the Year Frontrunners
The AP NFL Coach of the Year Award is given to the coach that does the best job with what they’ve got, and it doesn’t necessarily translate into the best record.
For instance, Jimmy Johnson won the award with the Dallas Cowboys in 1990 with a 7-9 record. While the record isn’t impressive, the turnaround was, as the Cowboys finished the previous season at 1-15.
This year’s field is wide-open, from perennial favorites to rookie head coaches to new hires looking to right the ship of bottom feeders. Here are some early favorites from the major sportsbooks.
Brandon Staley, Los Angeles Chargers
The Los Angeles Chargers appear to be this year’s media darlings and are leading the way in the preseason hype parade.
Quarterback Justin Herbert is already a bona fide star after two seasons and is looking to take the Chargers to the playoffs for the first time since 2018.
The defense has been revamped, highlighted by the additions of Khalil Mack and Sebastian Joseph-Day, and the Chargers look like legit contenders.
Staley finished 9-8 in his first season at the helm and will look to erase the memories of his coaching blunders in last year’s win-and-you’re-in game against the Raiders in Week 18.
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Doug Pederson, Jacksonville Jaguars
Doug Pederson is one of the coaches looking to turn around a bottom feeder, and so far, he’s been making a lot of noise in Jacksonville.
With Urban Meyer’s dumpster fire in the rear-view, the Jags should have nowhere to go but up under the guidance of their new captain.
Pederson has already won a Super Bowl as a head coach and, as a former quarterback, should be able to get Trevor Lawrence on track and calm down all the bust chatter the rookie heard last year. So far, Lawrence likes what he sees.
“We’re building toward something special,” Lawrence said, according to CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin. “It’s been great, just the way (Doug) interacts with the team, the way he leads. I think personality-wise, we’re similar. We get along well.”
Brian Daboll, New York Giants
The New York Giants might have finally landed the coach they’ve been looking for.
Brian Daboll is set to make his head coaching debut this fall after a decorated career as an assistant and offensive coordinator with several NFL teams and the Alabama Crimson Tide.
He was most notably credited for his time with the Buffalo Bills, where he was instrumental in the development of quarterback Josh Allen while also winning the AP Assistant Coach of the Year in 2020.
Will he be able to do for Daniel Jones what he helped accomplish with Allen?
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Roll the Dice on Riverboat Ron?
There are a few reasons to see value in the bloated +2800 to +3500 odds that the sportsbooks list for Rivera.
For one, this isn’t his first rodeo. Rivera has won the award twice, and three is a number that he seems to like.
Rivera’s third season in Carolina was when he turned things around for the Panthers. After going 6-10 and 7-9 in his first two seasons, he led the Panthers to a 12-4 record in his third campaign on the way to his first Coach of the Year award in 2013.
So far in Washington, he’s gone 7-9 and 7-10. Can the third time be a charm again? The Commanders have the league’s easiest schedule this year, so that should help. He also has a new quarterback in Carson Wentz. While Wentz has criticisms, he’s still a clear upgrade from Taylor Heinicke.
If Wentz can protect the ball, and the team’s defense can get back to 2020 form, taking a flier on Riverboat Ron doesn’t seem like that bad of an idea.
Commanders fans can place their NFL bets at five Maryland casinos while the state waits for mobile betting apps.
AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez