LA Chargers‘ coach Brandon Staley has opened with good, low odds to win 2021 Coach of the Year. The rookie head coach has opened on WynnBET tied with Kyle Shanahan and Kevin Stefanski for the best odds in the league at +1300.
Stefanski won the award last season after the Browns surged to the playoffs in his first season. The trend of first-year coaches winning the award has held strong recently, including Chicago’s Matt Nagy in 2018 and LA’s Sean McVay in 2017.
Brandon Staley’s odds have a lot to do with the situation he’s walking into on the LA Chargers.
The LA Chargers were viewed as perhaps the most attractive coaching job by many because of quarterback Justin Herbert. Over the course of the offseason, GM Tom Telesco has almost completely rebuilt the offensive line. While I don’t buy the Chargers as a dark horse Super Bowl contender yet, they certainly look like a possible playoff team.
Arthur Smith has opened up at +1750 to take the award in his first year with Atlanta while new Jets’ coach Robert Saleh is +2000. The story of a first-year coach that “fixes” the team has been a powerful force over voters, especially if said team makes the playoffs.
Of course, there’s always the chance that an established coach has such a dominant season that they override that narrative. This happened in 2019 with John Harbaugh’s 14-2 Ravens. Ron Rivera’s 2015 Panthers having a near-perfect season also left little doubt as to who would win the award. Dating back to 2011, five coaches who won were past their first year while the other five were first years. 50-50.
The Chargers’ schedule presents Staley with a challenging way to open the season against so many of the league’s top coaches, but that also gives him opportunities to prove himself.
If the former Rams’ DC is able to get a signature win (or wins) over the likes of Bill Belichick, Andy Reid, Mike Tomlin, or the aforementioned Harbaugh, he could catapult to the top of the odds lists fairly quickly.
As of now, I’d buy Staley at +1300 to win the award. The odds are low but still relatively high enough to get some value. The Chargers are the best situation for a first-year head coach in comparison to Atlanta or New York (J) by a fairly decisive margin as I see it.
Staley is ahead of his fellow first-year coaches vying for the award, but let’s see how long into the season he can hold that top status.