Kingsbury Coach of the Year Odds Is the Midseason Bet of the Year

The time is now to hammer Kliff Kingsbury to be the NFL Coach of the Year. Though oft-maligned, Kingsbury has the Arizona Cardinals as the lone remaining unbeaten team in the NFL. Though Los Angeles Chargers head coach Brandon Staley is a worthy contender, the award is Kingsbury's to lose.


Here's why.


Thursday Night Football could be a statement win for Kingsbury's Cardinals in primetime.

The 7-0 Cardinals play the 6-1 Packers on Thursday Night Football this week. The odds for regular season awards are subject to tremendous volatility, and there's no better way to exploit this volatility than to put up big performances on national television. Thursday is a tremendous opportunity for Kingsbury to establish himself as the prohibitive favorite to win NFL Coach of the Year. The Packers have won six consecutive games and are viewed as one of the best teams in football. However, Green Bay could be in trouble. WR Davante Adams will likely miss the game, along with other players and coaching personnel, due to COVID-19 concerns. The Green Bay offense may be in disarray without their star receiver, and the defense is preparing for its toughest test of the season. The Packers have squared off against Taylor Heneicke, Jimmy Garrapolo, Jared Goff, Jameis Winston, Justin Fields and Ben Roethlisberger. Kyler Murray is far better than any of those quarterbacks. If Joe Burrow could slice and dice this Green Bay defense, then Kyler Murray can, too. Expect a big performance from Kingsbury's offense on Thursday Night Football. The odds could shorten on Kingsbury very quickly.


The rest of the schedule sets up very nicely.

Look at the rest of Arizona's schedule. @Niners, Panthers, @Seahawks, @Bears, Rams, @Lions, Colts, @Cowboys, and Seahawks. San Francisco is on a four-game losing streak, Carolina is on a four-game losing streak, Seattle has lost five of their last six, Chicago has lost two in a row, and Detroit is still winless. Obviously, Los Angeles, Indianapolis, and Dallas will be tough, but this schedule is pretty manageable.


Kingsbury is the play-caller for a top 5 offense.

38 points against Tennessee, 34 against Minnesota, 31 against Jacksonville, 37 against Los Angeles, 37 against Cleveland, and 31 against Houston. (It should be noted that Kingsbury did not coach against Cleveland.) This offense is a machine. Kingsbury has Kyler Murray playing at an MVP-level. It's probably the most explosive offense in the league. It's consistently great, too. Kingsbury deserves some credit for that. Four of the last five COY winners have offensive backgrounds.


The Cardinals have wildly exceeded expectations.

DraftKings has Arizona at -105 odds to win 14 games. The Cardinals are favored to win the most games in the league. For a team projected to win 8.5 games and finish last in the NFC West, this should come as a surprise. Taking a non-playoff team to the most wins in the league is deserving of Coach of the Year honors. It should be noted that the NFC West was considered to be the NFL's toughest division at the beginning of the season.


Kingsbury fits the narrative.

As I mentioned in my 2021 NFL COY Best Bets article, NFL Coach of the Year winners are usually young head coaches of teams that are expected to be average. In fact, 26 of the last 31 Coach of the Year winners coached teams that did not make the playoffs in the previous season. Arizona went 8-8 last year and missed the postseason. Under Kingsbury, the Cardinals have transformed into one of the best teams in the league. If Kingsbury is able to take the Cardinals from the least amounts of wins to the most amount of wins in just three seasons, he should be a shoo-in to win the award.


The disparity in odds across sportsbooks could be a sign of immense potential value.

Kingsbury is +325 on BetOnline, but DraftKings has Kingsbury listed at +750. Do you really think Kingsbury has less than a 12% chance of winning this award, as +750 implies? Elite head coaches don't typically win these awards, too. For that reason, discount Sean McVay and Sean McDermott. The Rams and Bills were expected to be great. I'd only be concerned about Brandon Staley to win this award. I don't believe Zac Taylor is that great of a coach, and I believe the Cowboys are winning in spite of Mike McCarthy. Since I bet Staley to win this award at odds as high as 14/1, this is a hedge bet for me that carries a ton of standalone value.

 

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