NFL player award odds: Big Ben among favorites


Odds courtesy of

Picking an NFL MVP or Offensive Rookie of the Year annually for Associated Press voters is rather easy as they can simply look at a player’s statistics. However, it’s a rather gray area for voters when they decide on the NFL Comeback Player of the Year.

By definition, the award is supposed to go to someone who “shows perseverance in overcoming adversity, in the form of not being in the NFL the previous year, overcoming a severe injury or simply a poor performance.” That’s not quite exact science is it?

Sometimes it’s an easy choice. Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck was the 2018 winner after missing the entire 2017 campaign due to injury/surgery. Last year, Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill was the choice. He wasn’t so much returning from injury but from being lousy with the Miami Dolphins the year before. Tannehill didn’t even take over as the Titans’ starting QB until around midseason.

The betting favorite entering 2020 is Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger at +225. The future Hall of Famer and two-time Super Bowl champion suffered an elbow injury in Week 2 last season and required surgery that ended his year. If Big Ben returns to his 2018 form when he threw for a career-high 5,129 yards and 34 touchdowns, he’s a lock to win Comeback Player of the Year – and maybe NFL MVP too.

Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, who was limited to eight regular-season games in 2019 due to injury (did return for playoffs), is +550 with Cincinnati Bengals receiver A.J. Green at +600, and Chicago Bears quarterback Nick Foles at +650. Green missed last season with an ankle injury, while Foles broke his collarbone and eventually lost his job with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He was traded to Chicago last month.

Watt is +1200 to win a fourth NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award. He won it in 2012 and 2014-15. Watt and Hall of Fame New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor are the only players to win DPOY three times. Los Angeles Rams tackle Aaron Donald is the +700 favorite. He won it in 2017-18 but lost out to New England Patriots cornerback Stephen Gilmore (+1600) in 2019. Gilmore was the first defensive back to win DPOY since 2010.

For Offensive Player of the Year, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is the +600 clear favorite. He won it in 2018 when Mahomes was also NFL MVP. Many times, voters tend to split up MVP and OPOY. For example, Lamar Jackson (+900) was the unanimous MVP last year but voters gave Offensive Player of the Year to New Orleans Saints receiver Michael Thomas (+1600).