NFL Futures and Props: 2019 AP NFL Coach of the Year

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We’ve covered the bottom of the coaching barrel and named our selections for the ‘First Coach to Be Fired or Resign’.  We’ll now head in the other direction and look for value positions on the 2019 NFL Coach of the Year. provides the proposition odds and like we did with the ‘First Coach to Be Fired’ Analysis we’ll split this into multiple parts. 

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There’s a lot of value to be found in the ‘Coach of the Year’ market simply because predicting the winner of the award is particularly difficult.  First of all, you have to determine which team(s) are going to have a good year.  More specifically, you have to a) determine the teams that will perform well in 2019 and b) determine the scenarios in which the coach of the team will get credit for that performance.  This is made all the more difficult by the tendency of the AP writers who vote on the award to emphasize ‘turnaround’ performances over consistent excellence.  New England Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick has won the ‘Coach of the Year’ award three times but none since 2010.   It’s not like the Patriots have slumped since then—the team has never turned in a season worse than 11-5, has averaged 12.35 wins per year and have won the Super Bowl three times.  For whatever reason, that run of excellence has not earned Belichick ‘COY’ award #4.

Who has won the awards during the aforementioned timeframe?  Matt Nagy, Sean McVay, Jason Garrett, Ron Rivera (twice), Bruce Arians (twice) and Jim Harbaugh.  Note that despite having two repeat winners in the past 7 years there have only been three since 2000 (Rivera, Arians, Belichick).  That suggests that the AP writers would rather ‘share the wealth’ among multiple coaches and not give the same ones the award year after year.  The coaches that have won most recently also validate the theory that the award is more likely to go to a ‘turnaround’ scenario in which the coach takes a struggling team to a successful season.

Here’s something else that stands out by looking at the history of the award and the men that have won it—no one has ever won it more than 4 times and that came in a different era.  Don Shula won in 1964, 1967 (tie), 1968 and 1972.  Chuck Knox was a three time winner—the only three time winner other than Belichick—winning with three different teams in 1973, 1980 and 1984.  As noted above, from a qualitative performance standpoint you could make a good case that Belichick should have won at least a couple more ‘COY’ awards during the past eight years.  This could be a phenomenon that you see often in awards shows like the Oscars and Emmys—a ‘glass ceiling’ for number of times an individual can win.  With no coach winning more than 4 since the AP began the award in 1957, it could be that Belichick will have a tough time making it to number 4.  Furthermore, since the roster of coaches that have won 3 or more is so short that raises the bar for the active two time winners Arians and Rivera.

With this in mind, let’s look at the first of several coaches that could have a strong season and mesh with the criteria discussed above:


Reich made the most of his first year as a NFL head coach taking the Indianapolis Colts to a 10-6 record after the team had dropped to 4-12 during their injury plagued 2017 campaign.  Despite the ongoing concern about Andrew Luck’s leg/shin/ankle injury the Colts are still a -125 favorite to win the AFC South at  If Luck stays healthy a Colts divisional win combined with a decent playoff run could give Reich the nod.  Luck’s injury concerns also present another scenario by which Reich could win—if his star quarterback missed a good portion of the season and yet the Colts still turned in a winning record that could also get the attention of the voters.  With at least two good winning scenarios at a good price Reich is an excellent value.

Next up, we’ll head further down the ‘NFL AP Coach of the Year’ odds board and look for more value at even higher prices.

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