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NFL Comeback Player of the Year odds & betting picks

Titans NFL star Derrick Henry

The NFL Comeback Player of the Year is always a very interesting award. This year, there are a lot of contenders as injuries hit hard last season. This is one of the most narrative-based awards, in the sense that having a good story will go a long way to winning it. We saw this two years ago when Alex Smith won the award coming off of an injury that doctors thought would require a leg amputation. Smith didn’t even play that well; it was just surprising to see him back on the field.

A quarterback has won this award in seven of the past 11 years, and a pass catcher has won it three times in that span. Because of that, we can rule out the running backs, and this year that eliminates two of the favorites – Derrick Henry (+300) and Christian McCaffrey (+800). Both of these guys are extremely talented runners and have battled injuries in recent seasons. It is so hard for these guys to stay healthy because of the sheer amount of work they receive, so it’s a little bit of a catch 22. If they get a lot of work, they have a higher risk of injury. If they get rest and their coaches try to keep them healthy, they won’t put up the stats necessary to win the Comeback Player of the Year award. Because of that, we recommend staying away from all running backs when it comes to this award.

READ: NFL wide receiver futures odds & best bets

Two of the other favorites play for the same team and this could be where narrative comes into play. There is New Orleans Saints QB Jameis Winston (+500) and Saints WR Michael Thomas at (+800). Thomas hasn’t played in a year and a half, but in 2019 he had 149 catches for 1,725 yards and nine touchdowns. Because of his previous dominance, he would likely win the award over Winston if they both play well this season. The most likely narrative would be that Thomas’ play allows Winston to improve. And if Winston improves, Thomas almost certainly has to be a big part of that. At longer odds, Thomas is the better bet at +800 because it would be hard to envision Winston winning the award without his best wide receiver getting a lot of the credit.

Next up is a quarterback changing teams in Baker Mayfield (+800). Mayfield fought through injuries last season for the Cleveland Browns and struggled as a result. He was traded to the Carolina Panthers a few weeks ago and will be competing with Sam Darnold for the starting job. Considering Darnold’s horrid performance last year, Mayfield should win the job with ease. He was injured for most of last year, and this season he should return to the 2020 form that produced 3,563 yards, 26 touchdowns and eight interceptions. If he puts up numbers like that, he should win this award and return a lot of value on his +800 odds.

The last pick we have for the NFL Comeback Player of the Year is Marcus Mariota (+1200). Mariota is a darling of the NFL media but has had a tumultuous career. After looking like he was going to be a good QB for the Tennessee Titans early in his career, Mariota struggled and ended up losing his job. He then spent the last two years as a backup for the Las Vegas Raiders, and now he has another shot at starting for the Atlanta Falcons. He should start the full year, and while the Falcons won’t be a Super Bowl threat, that isn’t a prerequisite for winning this award. If Mariota can put up stats, like he has always been able to do, he should have a good chance to win this award. Mariota has always been good at scrambling as well, so he could add some rushing stats to bolster his case in the eyes of the voters. It’s somewhat of a longshot, but history says a QB will likely win this award. Mariota is one of the few quarterbacks who actually qualify for winning this award, and at +1200 with Bovada, it’s worth betting on the former Oregon Duck and Heisman Trophy winner.

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