2021 NFL Awards
No suprises here: Patrick Mahomes is the early favorite for NFL MVP. (Gregory Payan/Associated Press)

2021 NFL Awards Odds: Best Bets And Dark Horse Picks

Though the season has yet to begin, bets on the 2021 NFL Awards are already starting to come through. The past few years have proven that no player is too much of a longshot to win MVP, as both Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson won the award after beginning the season at +10000 odds.

The following are the best value bets based on current Vegas odds, not predictions for who will win the 2021 NFL awards. Dark horse picks are also included for those looking to take a risk.

Most Valuable Player

Best Bet: Patrick Mahomes (+500)

Dark Horse: Carson Wentz (+4000)

Mahomes is the obvious pick and there is no reason to bet against the generational talent entering the prime of his career. Mahomes has far and away the best odds to win MVP — Aaron Rodgers is second at +900 — but even +500 is too high. Last year, Mahomes posted a higher completion percentage and threw half as many interceptions as he did in his 2018 MVP season, all while playing behind a banged-up offensive line. Kansas City traded for Orlando Brown to give Mahomes better protection, and with games against weak pass defenses like Dallas and Cincinnati, Mahomes is primed for a 5,000-yard season.

Wentz is coming off a horrendous season, but he should not be blamed for failing to produce on a team with Jalen Reagor at the top of its wide receiver depth chart. He has proven to be capable of playing at an MVP level and should post big numbers playing behind guard Quenton Nelson, who allowed only one sack last year.

Offensive Rookie of the Year

Best Bet: Trey Lance (+600)

Dark Horse: Kyle Pitts (+1100)

Vegas has Trevor Lawrence listed as a near-certainty for this award at +300, but he will have intense competition in an excellent class of quarterbacks. Lance may not start Week 1, but San Francisco would not have traded up to draft him if he was not part of their 2021 plans. Though unpolished, Lance’s talent is every bit as good as Lawrence’s, and he will have the best defense in the league should he suffer growing pains in his rookie campaign.

A tight end has never won Offensive Rookie of the Year, but there is nothing ordinary about Pitts. If the Julio Jones trade rumors are true, Pitts could end up as the Falcons’ most dangerous receiving threat. It would only take subpar seasons from Lance and Lawrence to thrust Pitts into the ROTY spotlight.

Defensive Rookie of the Year

Best Bet: Micah Parsons (+400)

Dark Horse: Caleb Farley (+2500)

No rookie is in a more stat-friendly situation than Parsons, who also happens to be the most talented defensive player in the draft class. Parsons will have a big role in a Dallas defense that ranked 28th last year, but with his elite speed and agility, expect Parsons to fly all over the field and post at least 125 tackles.

Farley for DROY is as risky as bets come, but dark horses are all about upside. He fell to the Titans at No. 22 in the draft because of injury concerns, but he was considered the best cornerback in the class before getting hurt. If Farley can stay healthy and help the Titans make a deep playoff run, he has a shot at Rookie of the Year.

Comeback Player of the Year

Best Bet: Nick Bosa (+700)

Dark Horse: Odell Beckham Jr. (+2500)

With all the hype about T.J. Watt entering this season, everyone seems to have forgotten how good Bosa was when he last played. He had 45 pressures in 14 games during his 2019 Defensive Rookie of the Year campaign. Dak Prescott is the favorite for this award and voting will definitely be skewed towards quarterbacks, but +700 is too high for someone with Bosa’s talent.

I like Beckham’s chances for this award. He still has every bit of the talent that he displayed with the Giants, it simply has not clicked in Cleveland. With QB Baker Mayfield continuing to improve and Beckham becoming more familiar with the Browns’ system, look for Beckham to finish in the top five in receiving yards this season.

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