NFL Betting Strategy: Individual Awards Markets
Are you interested in NFL betting, but are bored of betting on points spreads? Consider making an NFL player market bet. There are several types of player bets available, ranging from NFL MVP honors to Rookie of the Year awards. If you are interested in making a futures bet for a specific NFL player, make sure you check out Gambling.com to research all of the best NFL betting sites to place your wager.
NFL MVP Betting
The most common way to bet on player markets is to do so via the NFL’s MVP award. Each year, the Pro Football Writers Association hands out an award for the league’s Most Valuable Player. This award is typically announced in early February before the Super Bowl. While this award can be given to any player at any position, it’s often an offensive player award.
The last non-skill player to win this award was Giants’ linebacker Lawrence Taylor, who won the award in 1986 after recording 20.5 sacks. Typically, it’s a quarterback-driven award as the last six winners have all been quarterbacks.
Here is a look at the five previous NFL MVP winners:
- 2018: Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs
- 2017: Tom Brady, Patriots
- 2016: Matt Ryan, Falcons
- 2015: Cam Newton, Panthers
- 2014: Aaron Rodgers, Packers
Given how frequently a quarterback wins this award, it’s always wise to consider picking a quarterback to win the award. Another tip is to look for quarterbacks on playoff teams. This award is rarely given to players on teams that don’t reach the playoffs, so don’t bother placing bets on teams who you don’t believe have a chance to make the playoffs.
Rookie of the Year Awards
Every season, there are two awards handed out to the league’s top rookies; Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year. Let’s look at some strategies to consider when placing wagers on Rookie of the Year awards:
Offensive Rookie of the Year
Unlike the NFL MVP award, the Offensive Rookie of the Year honors tends to be a little more diverse in terms of positions.
Let's take a quick look at the last five winners of the award:
- 2018: RB Saquon Barkley, Giants
- 2017: RB Alvin Kamara, Saints
- 2016: QB Dak Prescott
- 2015: RB Todd Gurley
- 2014: WR Odell Beckham Jr., Giants
When placing wagers on the Offensive Rookie of the Year award, it's essential to consider the draft position of each player before risking any of your bankroll. First-round picks, specifically top-10 picks, almost always get more chances to play earlier in the year. That allows them to accumulate statistics and become better MVP candidates.
It's also noteworthy that this has been an award dominated by running backs. In the last six seasons, running backs have won the award four different times. Since 1999, running backs have won this award 10 times, with quarterbacks coming in second with seven wins. Look for running backs who will get plenty of opportunities to touch the ball during their rookie seasons to find value before placing your bets.
Defensive Rookie of the Year
On the defensive side of the ball, it’s a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to predicting what types of players and which positions are the most likely to win the Defensive Rookie of the Year award.
Look at the previous five winners of the award:
- 2018: LB Darius Leonard, Colts
- 2017: CB Marshon Lattimore, Saints
- 2016: DE Joey Bosa, Chargers
- 2015: CB Marcus Peters, Chiefs
- 2014: DT Aaron Donald, Rams
One common trend with this award is the number of first-round picks that have won the award in recent memory.
Since 2002, the Defensive Rookie of the Year award winner was a first-round pick in 15 of the 17 seasons. The only non-first round picks to win the award since 2002 were DeMeco Ryans and Darius Leonard, both of whom were top-40 selections themselves. Unless there is a later-round selection in a perfect situation, consider wagering only on high first-round picks for the Defensive Rookie of the Year award.
Offensive Player of the Year Betting
Along with the NFL MVP award, the league hands out another award for the league’s most outstanding player. While the NFL MVP will often win this award as well, that’s not always the case.
The most recent example is RB Todd Gurley winning this award during the same season that Tom Brady won the MVP.
Take a look at the five most recent Offensive Player of the Year award winners:
- 2018: QB Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs
- 2017: RB Todd Gurley, Rams
- 2016: QB Matt Ryan, Falcons
- 2015: QB Cam Newton, Panthers
- 2014: RB DeMarco Murray, Cowboys
While it's challenging to get a good grasp of what exactly makes these awards different, it is important to note what kind of players win this award. Over the last five years, each winning player's team won at least 12 games. It's not too often you will see a non-playoff player win this award. So before betting on this award, make sure to check out each team's projected win total to help guide your decision.
Defensive Player of the Year Betting
Finally, there is the Defensive Player of the Year award that is handed out to the league’s top defender. As of late, this award has been dominated by pass-rushers.
Take a look at the five most recent winners of the award:
- 2018: DT Aaron Donald, Rams
- 2017: DT Aaron Donald, Rams
- 2016: DE Khalil Mack, Raiders
- 2015: DE J.J. Watt, Texans
- 2014: DE J.J. Watt, Texans
Pass-rushers do well with this award as they can have the most impact from a game-to-game basis, and their stats are easier to read in comparison to a defensive back. Pass-rushers make more game-changing plays than linebackers or defensive backs, and that's why it's more common to see these players win the award.
But just like the Offensive Player of the Year award, this honor is rarely given to a player whose team doesn't make the playoffs. Be sure to check out each team's projected win total before wagering on the Defensive Player of the Year award.
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