The Comeback Player of the Year race has taken a dramatic turn with more than two months remaining before the scheduled start of the NFL season.
Quarterback Cam Newton shot up the oddsboard after signing with the Patriots on Sunday. With the move, his price shortened from +800 to the +300 favorite, unseating fellow QB Ben Roethlisberger in a volatile field.
The upside is enormous if Newton can wrestle the job away from second-year signal-caller Jarrett Stidham and post respectable numbers in the Patriots' offense. Before his injury-plagued 2019 campaign, the former MVP had averaged a combined 4,070 yards and 31.3 touchdowns over the previous four years and had started at least 14 games in each of his first eight NFL seasons with the Panthers.
He also checks every box. In the award's 22-year history, 12 winners have been quarterbacks, and eight of the last 11 winners were rewarded for coming back from injury or health issues. Eleven of the last 12 to claim the accolade were offensive players, too.
If his production is strong, the narrative will be, too. Replacing Tom Brady and preserving the Patriots' 11-year playoff streak - the longest in the NFL - would make him a shoo-in for the award, which sounds like nice value at +300. Yet his candidacy faces two key questions: Is he healthy? And will he start?
If the answer to either of those isn't a definitive yes, then you're likely throwing your money away. With such short odds in a market that often rewards the unpredictable, there's simply too much risk betting Newton.
Instead, here are the full odds for the award with a few value plays worth considering:
|Odell Beckham Jr.||+2500|
The listed betting options are plentiful, but they don't include Rob Gronkowski, who's easily among the favorites for this award. If he can produce even half of his usual stat line with the Buccaneers, he's an easy narrative winner for this award.
At +400, Gronkowski wouldn't be worth it alone, but getting the rest of the field as well? This award can be a tricky one to predict, so any bet that includes a favorite and a cast of unknown candidates is a valuable one.
Anybody who's seen this clip of Johnson from 2019 knows he has a lot to come back from:
Can he rehabilitate his career with the Texans? The volume and high-scoring upside will be there to support a bounce-back campaign, and the coaching staff showed confidence in dealing for him. Now, it's on Johnson to rediscover what made him an elite back in 2016.
Through two professional seasons, Guice barely has more carries (42) than games missed (27), which is a haunting stat for one of the best running back prospects in recent memory. His talent was undeniable coming out of LSU, but injuries have marred his once-promising career.
He's been stellar when on the field, averaging 5.8 yards per carry with three touchdowns on 49 touches. If he's healthy - a massive "if" - there's tremendous value at 30-1.
If you think Trubisky is simply too bad to have any chance to win this award, you're not alone. But this market favors quarterbacks, and it favors the unpredictable. Unless Andrew Luck (+10000) or Josh Rosen (+12500) absolutely shock the NFL in 2020, Trubisky has the best price of any signal-caller in the field.
The Bears quarterback is still technically the starter in Chicago, though Nick Foles (+1000) is nipping at his heels entering next season. Trubisky has shown flashes of upside in his career, so it's not so far-fetched to imagine him re-securing his starting job and throwing for 4,000 yards in Year 3 under Matt Nagy. At 50-1, that's a gamble worth making.
(Odds source: theScore Bet)
C Jackson Cowart is a betting writer for theScore. He's an award-winning journalist with stops at The Charlotte Observer, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Times Herald-Record, and BetChicago. He's also a proud graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, and his love of sweet tea is rivaled only by that of a juicy prop bet. Find him on Twitter @CJacksonCowart.