The NFL has put on some tremendous games through four weeks of the season. There have been surprises, upsets, and down-to-the-wire football games. On the individual level, some players have stood out and are establishing themselves as early favorites for various NFL postseason awards. A few months from now, you might be betting on the Super Bowl. To hold you over, betting on postseason award winners usually provides great opportunity for value and getting the extra betting edge.
2021 NFL Postseason Awards Races Through Week 4
The MVP Race
After a dominant win for the Arizona Cardinals in Week 4, Kyler Murray has jumped to the front of the MVP race. According to FanDuel Sportsbook, Murray is the favorite to win the award with +500 odds. Bills quarterback Josh Allen is not far behind at +600, with Justin Herbert and Patrick Mahomes on his tail at +800. Rounding out the top five are Aaron Rodgers and Dak Prescott, who are tied for fifth at +900. After the Rams Week 4 loss, Matthew Stafford fell down the rankings into a tie for seventh at +1200.
Of these names, Patrick Mahomes is probably the best value play. He leads the league in touchdown passes with 14, four more than second place. His passer rating of 119.6 is second only to Russell Wilson. Mahomes also leads the NFL in total EPA, an advanced stat that has historically been accurate at predicting the MVP winner. Behind Mahomes, Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is a potential value pick. At +2500, he is tied with Wilson for the tenth-best MVP odds. His passing numbers haven’t been off the charts so far, but he has been making plays with his legs. If he keeps leading a team who has been decimated by injuries, he could find himself getting some MVP votes.
Defensive Player of the Year
The Defensive Player of the Year race has been an interesting one so far. T.J. Watt, one of the preseason favorites, has only played 2.5 games so far for the struggling Pittsburgh Steelers. Chandler Jones started the year with five sacks in one game, but hasn’t recorded a sack since. Aaron Donald has been his usual self, wreaking havoc from the interior of the Rams defense. Moving away from the defensive line, two names stand out. Jalen Ramsey is widely regarded as the best cornerback in the league and has been phenomenal so far. But Trevon Diggs of the Cowboys has done the most of any defensive player to raise his stock so far this year. With five interceptions through four games and a 46.2 completion percentage allowed, he has been great.
Myles Garrett currently stands as the favorite to win the award at +350 0dds. He has totaled six sacks on the year, 4.5 of which came in the Browns Week 3 win over the Bears. Garrett has also racked up an impressive 13 quarterback hits and seven tackles for loss so far. Donald has the second best odds at +650. He has only managed two sacks, three tackles for loss, and five quarterback hits. But as an interior defender, he will rarely stuff the stat sheet as much as an elite edge player. Watt sits with +1000 odds after producing five sacks, two forced fumbles, and eight quarterback hits despite missing some time. Finally, Diggs and Ramsey currently sit at +1600 and +2000 odds respectively.
Coach of the Year
When it comes to coaches, one rookie head coach has really stood out so far. Brandon Staley of the Chargers has led his team to a 3-1 start with wins over the Chiefs and Raiders. His efforts are being noticed by oddsmakers, who currently think he is the favorite to win Coach of the Year with +800 0dds. Sean McVay of the Rams and Kliff Kinsgbury aren’t far behind at +1000 and +1200 with both of their teams being off to great starts. Rounding out the top five are Vic Fangio and Matt Rhule; the Broncos and Panthers have turned some heads with their 3-1 starts.
With the Chargers off to a hot start, Staley makes sense to be the Coach of the Year favorite. Fangio and Rhule are both great options to fade at this point. Their teams have both benefited from weak schedules to start the season. They will likely slow down as the season progresses and, at best, be fighting for Wild Card spots. Last year’s winner Kevin Stefanski is a good value pick at this point. At +1600, he is tied with Rhule and Jon Gruden for the fifth-best odds, but the Browns look like legitimate contenders in the AFC. The best value pick is Sean McDermott of the Buffalo Bills. His +1800 odds are ninth-best. Buffalo looks like the best team in the NFL, so McDermott could keep climbing this list, especially with a Week 5 win over the Chiefs.
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