NFL
June 3, 2021

Handicapping 2021 NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award Race

While we eagerly await the start of the 2021 NFL regular season, it's a great time for sports bettors to prepare for the upcoming campaign and capitalize on some early prop bets

One of the most entertaining award races every year is the Comeback Player of the Year Award. Alex Smith ran away with the title in 2020 after his miraculous return to the field. 

Some prop bets are completely unrealistic, while others have plenty of value. We've deciphered three prop bets — via DraftKings Sportsbook — that look like they could cash in with a successful comeback.

Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys (+175)

The early massive favorite to win the Comeback Player of the Year is Dak Prescott.

Coming off an injury-shortened season, Prescott inked a massive four-year, $164 million contract extension. Now, it's time for the sixth-year quarterback to live up to the deal as one of the highest-paid players in the NFL. 

Prescott has grown each year as a passer. He's one of the better pocket managers in the league thanks to improved accuracy and his ability to attack all three layers of the field. Prescott was on pace to break several of his career-highs in 2020 as the Cowboys' offense rode his shoulders to stay competitive.

Turning 28 in July, Prescott is on the cusp of settling into the elite territory as a playmaker. He creates big plays in and outside of the pocket as well as avoiding turnover-worthy plays. Few players are as consistently solid as Prescott and he's become more explosive each year.

The return on Prescott's odds is low but it's realistic. Getting any value on a star QB is shocking. Jump on this now since only a re-injury would likely cost him this award. 

Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers (+600)

Injuries derailed Christian McCaffrey's 2020 campaign after just shattering expectations in 2019. His All-Pro season featured 2,392 total yards and 19 touchdowns. But the workload may have wore him down.

Between his shoulder, ankle, and thigh injury, McCaffrey could never get up to speed. He scored six times in three games, though, making sure fantasy players don't forget about his upside. Bettors can't forget about him, either.

Capable of breaking out as a runner and receiver, McCaffrey must prove capable of producing in Joe Brady's system. His surrounding parts are quite good, so his overall numbers may not reach his previous level. Brady is less reliant on backs than the previous regime.

But he's still a good value at this number. He'll get the workload and is a bonafide star already. Any regression or re-injury to Prescott would leave the Panthers' star as the favorite.

Von Miller, Denver Broncos (+1600)

Our favorite long shot must have a few things go right to get a better chance at hitting on big odds. The Broncos' star edge-rusher tore an ankle tendon and missed all of 2020. The 32-year-old must prove he still has the impact he did as a younger player to earn a new contract.

The spotlight could further be on Von Miller and the Broncos if they trade for Aaron Rodgers. Though that's unlikely, it's the type of possibility that can land us a big payday. Miller is the catalyst of a great defense and will earn a ton of attention if the team wins.

Seeing Miller get to double-digit sacks will keep his name relevant in the race. He dropped to just eight sacks in 2019, the second time in his career he failed to hit double-digits. The freaky pass-rusher will be motivated to return to his elite level and that's great news to bettors.

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