With Week 1 of the NFL just seven days away, it’s time to take a look at the NFL Coach of the Year bets to make right now. The current NFL COTY is New York Giants head coach Brian Daboll. He took a 4-13 Giants team, led them to a 9-7-1 record, and earned a berth in the NFC playoffs as a wild card.
Which NFL coach is poised to do the same in 2023? There are a few, but in betting the NFL COTY, there is a certain profile that fits the bill. Understanding that profile leads us to three candidates to bet on before Week 1 of the 2023 season starts.
Wins Are Key
If you look at the past ten NFL COTYs, all but one – that was Daboll last year – had double-digit wins. The NFL Coach of the Year is going to have a high winning percentage. Over the past decade, the COTY has won an average of 12.1 games. It’s actually closer to 13 if we base it on the 17-game schedule that the league now plays. Daboll had nine wins last year, but the nine guys before him all won at least 11.
Seven of the ten also won a division title. Five even received a first-round playoff bye. The bottom line is that winning is king when it comes to the NFL COTY.
It’s the reason why they were hired in the first place. They need to make improvements and each of the last 10 COTYs outperformed their team’s previous season. Most of them did so significantly.
The average COTY team improved from 6.9 wins to 12.1 wins the following season, winning 5.2 games more on average. Most of the COTY teams had preseason win totals between 7.5 and 9.5. Most of these teams, who were thought to be .500 teams at best, went on to exceed expectations.
Speaking of exceeding expectations, our most recent COTYs didn’t just make progress, they performed well beyond what any of the so-called experts had anticipated. These surprise teams tend to garner more votes when it comes time for the COTY voting.
Six of the last ten COTYs won at least 4.5 games more than predicted according to Vegas win total lines. The projected win total for the last 10 COTY winners was 8.8. All 10 won at least two more games than their projected win total.
Ideal NFL COTY Candidate
Breaking it down then, the perfect NFL COTY candidate is one who wins a ton of games. Preferably, the coach wins more than the previous season. Typically, the COTY is going to come from a team that had a losing record the previous season. He’ll likely need 10-plus wins and preferably a playoff spot.
Keep in mind that the award typically does not go to the favorite. The last eight NFL COTYs all started the season at +1800 or higher. Six of the previous 12 winners were first-year head coaches and five of the last seven were offensive guys.
Your 2023 NFL COTY Candidates to Bet Now
Mike McDaniel (Dolphins) +2000: McDaniel enters his second season off a pretty strong debut. The Dolphins won nine games. He’s an offensive guy who will have a healthy Tua Tagovailoa at quarterback and plenty of weapons on offense. He also hired veteran defensive coordinator Vic Fangio to shore up the defense.
Miami has a win total of 9.5. McDaniel will need double-digit wins and a playoff berth. Both are doable with the Dolphins schedule. And, McDaniel is nowhere near the favorite here.
Arthur Smith (Falcons) +1400: Smith will play in what is likely the weakest division in football. He’s another offensive-minded guy who has developed quarterbacks like Ryan Tannehill and Desmond Ridder last season. Carolina is young and inexperienced. Tampa Bay doesn’t have Tom Brady and the Saints are in the midst of a rebuild.
The Falcons are talented – Kyle Pitts and Drake London – on offense and they made some moves in the offseason on defense. He’s not a first-year candidate, but he fits the other criteria and he’s priced at +1400.
DeMeco Ryans (Texans) +2500: Here’s the guy that is worth at least a small bet. Ryans is a first-year head coach. He’ll have the benefit of playing six games in the weakest division in the AFC (the South). The Colts have a new head coach too and the Titans will struggle with a weak offensive line. Jacksonville is solid on offense but weak defensively.
Houston will surprise some people with a fairly well-rounded and deep roster. They benefit from having the schedule of one of the weakest teams in the league last year. The Texans won just three games last year. If Ryans can do what Daboll did a year ago, this bet makes for a nice payout.
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