NFL 2020/21 Season Preview: Awards


NFL nut Kyle Robins (@AhhYeahKyleYeah) shares his expert opinion on the best Awards bets ahead of the 2020/21 season.

NFL 2020/21: Awards


The most sought-after award in the entire league is often a hot topic throughout the entirety of the season.

Last season Lamar Jackson completely dominated the entire regular season on his way to this award, and finds himself as second favourite at 10/1 with SkyBet to repeat the feet. Now whist it would be easy to pick him again this time around at what looks a decent price, not since Peyton Manning in 2008/09 has anyone won back-to-back MVP awards.

My first pick, unfortunately has to be the market favourite and defending Superbowl MVP, Patrick Mahomes. He’s currently best priced at 13/2 with Sport Nation, and that’s a pretty solid price if you ask me, especially for a player as dominant as Mahomes.

He holds the keys to the most explosive offense in the NFL, and his chemistry and familiarity with his supporting cast should hold him in good stead. The man himself can just do incredible things with the ball in his hands.

Mahomes won this award back in 2018, before an injury derailed his run at it last term. He’s healthy once again, and off the back of a Superbowl victory, there’s honestly no reason at all this Chiefs teams can’t win 14+ games this season, purely down to the fact they have Mahomes and no-one else does.

My second pick is going to the man currently just fourth in the market, who has quite incredibly never received a single MVP vote since entering the league back in 2012. The fact that’s the one thing hanging over Russell Wilson’s NFL career is absolutely ridiculous.

When you consider what the definition of most valuable actually is, the fact Wilson has been able to lead his team to so many consecutive winning seasons, when at times he’s been running for his life behind poor offensive line play, surely should be worthy of some votes.

I think the penny has to drop eventually with those who hold he votes for the award and Wilson shouldn’t be too far away from finally claiming what he deserves, so why not let this be the year. He’s thrown for 66 touchdowns and just 12 interceptions over the last two campaigns, and given the amount of talent around him, he might finally get what he deserves in 2021. Take Wilson at 15/1 with Sport Pesa.

Other worthy candidates with decent prices include Deshaun Watson at 27/1 with Sport Nation as well as an outside flyer in Josh Allen at 80/1 also with Sport Nation. Given how high I am on the Bills chances this year, if they are to be successful, Allen will be key to any success.

Defensive Player of the Year

Stephon Gilmore of the New England Patriots took home this award last year – the first cornerback to claim it since 2009.

It’s very rare for a player in the secondary to able to be as dominant as the men up front and for voters to take notice, hence why the top of the market is dominated by defensive linemen and linebackers. Gilmore is the highest ranked defensive back at 25/1 with Unibet, but I can’t see a repeat this year.

The winner of back-to-back awards in 2017 and 2018 Aaron Donald probably rightfully leads the market again this year, best priced at 7/1 with SkyBet.

The defensive tackle for the LA Rams is without much doubt, the most dominant defensive player in the entire league. Some may even argue he’s the most talented player in the entire league, so the market does accurately reflect that, but I’m looking for a little more value from a player who will be in a better overall team than LA will be this season.

My pick goes to TJ Watt of the Pittsburgh Steelers, who is best priced 12/1 with Paddy Power.

The first round pick from 2017 and brother of Houston Texans star defensive end J.J Watt, T.J finished third in the voting for this award last year, after posting career highs in sacks (14.5) and forced fumbles (8). He also finished second in overall quarterback pressures with 36 hits on the quarterback. His dominant season led to him being ranked 25th on the Top 100 NFL players of 2020.

Given the Steelers finished last season 8-8, they should be set for a bounce back year with the return of Ben Roethlisberger, and in what is possibly the best defensive unit in the league, an improved team record should do T.J no harm at all in his pursuit of this award. Look for him to dominate once again at the line of scrimmage.

Another outside fancy is Jamal Adams of the Seattle Seahawks. As the number one ranked safety in the entire league according to Pro Football Focus, Adams has the ability to everything. He joins a better defence than what he was a part of in New York, and with Seattle’s addition of Quinton Dunbar, they now have one of the better secondaries in the league.

So the fact Adams is moved into a winning franchise with a real chance of a Superbowl push, it will certainly heighten his chances to well and truly dominate. So the 40/1 with William HIll looks a very intriguing price.

Comeback Player of the Year

I’ll keep this one short and get to the point right away – Alex Smith is my pick.

Now I know for people who have seen the video of him celebrating his recovery, he still seems some way off playing (if he ever even should), but the simple fact he’s gotten this far, from almost having his leg amputated back in 2018, is nothing short of incredible.

I’m almost certain if he sees any game time at all he is a shoe-in for this award. There isn’t a single player in the league who’s gone through what Smith has and returned to be cleared to play. He’s already getting praise from voters and perhaps even if he doesn’t see the field, he’s still done enough in some people’s eyes to warrant the award. Take the 7/1 with 888 and don’t look back.

Another player I like is Big Ben Roethlisberger. The Pittsburgh quarterback has all the talent around him and in himself to flourish this year and if he can lead the Steelers to 10+ wins, he should be one of the favourites.

So whilst he is a short price at 5/1 with SkyBet, I like the looks of this combining him along with teammate T.J Watt to take home Defensive Player of the Year at 66/1 on Sky Bet’s Reques-tA-Bet market.

Offensive Rookie of the Year

This award has swapped hands between running backs and quarterbacks over the years, with Odell Beckham the only wide receiver to win it since 2003. Last year Kyler Murray took home the award, after consecutive years of running back winners in Saquon Barkley and Alvin Kamara.

Whilst of course it’s easy to go with the favourite Joe Burrow at 11/4 with BetVictor, given the extraordinary circumstances in which we go into this NFL season, I think now more than ever, is time to take advantage of markets like this.

The Cincinnati Bengals quarterback will be thrown straight into the deep end in week one, with no prior league game experience, given all pre-season games were scraped this year. Now he may very well come in and completely light it up, but historically, rookie quarterbacks do take a little bit of time to bed into their surroundings. So he may have some catching up to do by the time he finds his rhythm.

My pick is going to Clyde Edwards-Helaire of the Kansas City Chiefs. The rookie running back is best priced at 6/1 with 888, and couldn’t be walking into a better team to let him flourish.

There were a few doubts if the LSU product would be the starter, but those were soon quashed when starter Damien Williams opted out of the season, elevating Helaire into the starting role. Everything coming out of Kansas City so far claims the rookie has had a tremendous camp and been one of the stars of the show.

He should certainly see a lot of volume and opportunities, and the fact he’s walking into the most explosive offense with the league’s best quarterback, certainly won’t hurt his chances.

Best Bets

NFL 2020/21 – Patrick Mahomes to be MVP (13/2 Sport Nation)

NFL 2020/21 – Russell Wilson to be MVP (15/1 Sport Pesa)

NFL 2020/21 – TJ Watt to be the Defensive Player of the Year (12/1 Paddy Power)

NFL 2020/21 – Jamal Adams to be the Defensive Player of the Year (40/1 William Hill)

NFL 2020/21 – Alex Smith to be Comeback Player of the Year (7/1 888)

NFL 2020/21 – TJ Watt to be Defensive Player of the Year and Ben Roethilsberger to be Comeback Player of the Year (66/1 SkyBet)

NFL 2020/21 – Clyde Edwards-Helaire to be Offensive Rookie of the Year (6/1 888)

About Author

I think like most 17-year-olds, especially with my group of mates at the time, we spent most Saturday mornings outside the bookies waiting for the older lot to put our 50p, 20-fold accas on. Most of my early betting experience comes from football, but that soon developed into the NFL and in more recent years NBA, as their markets expanded. Betting on the both the NBA and NFL, for me, are much more statistical-based. I find it easier to determine some markets with these leagues than I do with football. Especially in the NBA. I’ve been a Tottenham season ticket folder since I can remember, and I’m sure my dad would have kicked me out the house had I not been. With NFL, since the 2004 Superbowl loss to the Patriots, I’ve been a Carolina Panthers fan, as well as following the Orlando Magic in the NBA.

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