NFL Betting: Bill Belichick Favored To Win Coach Of The Year

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick on the New England sideline
Image Credit: Jamie Germano-USA TODAY Network

As the NFL regular season hits home stretch, the battle for various postseason awards such as MVP and Rookie of the Year intensifies.

This season, one award in particular — NFL Coach of the Year — is essentially down to a two-man race between future first-ballot Hall of Famer Bill Belichick and 42-year-old upstart Kliff Kingsbury, who are the top choices in the NFL Coach of the Year betting market.

Belichick’s New England Patriots are riding a seven-game winning streak and are the current top seed in the AFC, while Kingsbury’s Arizona Cardinals are flying high with an NFL-best 10-2 record.

Sure, Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur — who recently became the fastest head coach in the NFL’s modern era to 35 regular-season victories (in 44 games) — is still technically in the hunt. (His odds range from +750 to +1,000 at BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel, and PointsBet USA.)

However, barring a major collapse by both the Patriots and Cardinals, LaFleur will remain at least a distant third on the NFL Coach of the Year betting odds board.

Worth noting: The four previous COY winners — the Browns’ Kevin Stefanski (2020), the Ravens’ John Harbaugh (2019), the Bears’ Matt Nagy (2018), and the Rams’ Sean McVay (2017) — collectively averaged 12 victories in their winning campaigns. Belichick needs to go 3-1 to hit that mark, while Kingsbury has to go 2-3.

Coach Of The Year Odds

BetMGM: Belichick +130/Kingsbury +300
DraftKings: Belichick +125/Kingsbury +350
FanDuel: Belichick +150/Kingsbury +300
PointsBet USA: Belichick +125/Kingsbury +250

*Odds updated as of 4 p.m. ET on Friday, Dec. 10.

The Case For Belichick

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick looks on after the game against the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium on October 24, 2021 in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
Image Credit: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Belichick won three Coach Of The Year awards with Tom Brady as the Patriots’ starting quarterback. That partnership produced six Lombardi trophies, nine AFC championships, and 17 AFC East titles from 2001-19.

In Belichick’s three award-winning seasons (2003, 2007, and 2010), New England had an eye-popping 44-4 combined regular-season record.

And yet, the 2021 season could be Belichick’s greatest performance to date, as the Patriots have transformed from a 2-4 lightweight through six weeks to the top dog in the AFC. And it’s all thanks to those seven consecutive victories, which were achieved by an average victory margin of 21.7 points per game.

New England, which finished 7-9 in 2020, spent a ton of money in the offseason to rebuild the defense, and it’s working to near-perfection. Not only do the Pats lead the NFL in scoring defense (15.4 points per game), but only two teams — the Saints and Cowboys — have put up more than 24 points.

Offensively, Belichick rolled the dice by drafting quarterback Mac Jones and naming him the starter before Week 1. That move paid off, too, as Jones is on pace for 3,750 yards passing and 21 touchdowns, and he’s the heavy favorite to win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.

If the sports world didn’t already recognize Belichick’s generational greatness, he flexed his muscles in last week’s Patriots-Bills clash. Knowing the weather was going to miserable for the crucial AFC East showdown — with 50 mph wind gusts resulting in frigid temperatures — Belichick scrapped his original game plan and ordered his assistants to constantly run the ball.

The result: Jones attempted only three passes (completing two for 19 yards), while the Patriots’ backfield turned 46 carries into 222 rushing yards and a TD. The result: New England escaped with a 14-10 victory, extended its division lead to 1.5 games over Buffalo, and pushed Belichick to the top of the NFL Coach of the Year odds board.

The Case For Kingsbury

Arizona Cardinals' head coach Kliff Kingsbury looks on in a 2021 game against the Rams.
Image Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Like New England, the Cardinals are getting the job done this season with a balanced attack. Arizona ranks third in scoring offense (28.5 points per game) and fourth in scoring defense (18.7 points per game).

Those stats become even more impressive when realizing that Kingsbury has had overcome multiple injuries to key players. Most notably, quarterback Kyler Murray (ankle) and receiver DeAndre Hopkins (hamstring) missed all of November, yet the Cardinals didn’t miss a beat, going 3-1.

Arizona leads Brady’s Buccaneers and LaFleur’s Packers (both 9-3) in the battle for the NFC’s No. 1 seed. The Cardinals also have a two-game divisional advantage over the L.A. Rams (8-4), with the clubs clashing Monday night in the desert.

If Arizona knocks off the Rams this week — and thus sweeps the season series — it would need just one more win or one more L.A. loss to clinch the NFC West.

Whether or not that happens, Kingsbury — who is two years younger than Belichick’s former quarterback — certainly has silenced those critics who predicted the former Texas Tech coach would be a bad fit for the NFL. And while he’s got miles to go to match Belichick’s NFL coaching résumé, at least for this season, Kingsbury can say he’s running neck and neck with the greatest head coach of all time.

And who knows: NFL Coach of the Year might not be the only head-to-head battle between Belichick and Kingsbury. Given that the Patriots and Cardinals currently share the third-best odds to win the Super Bowl (+700), it’s quite possible the two could duke it out for the sport’s biggest award of all.

Jay Clemons
Jay Clemons remains the only sports writer on the planet to capture Cynposis Media's national award for Sports Blog Of The Year (beating out,,, The Players' Tribune in 2015), along with the Fantasy Sports Writers Association's pre-eminent award for Best Football Writer (2008). Through the years, Mr. Clemons has been a key figure with numerous blue-chip sports/media brands, namely the Detroit Lions, Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports, Bleacher Report and now American Affiliate's Clemons, a graduate of Michigan State University and Wayne State University, has been an on-camera Web-TV host for Sports Illustrated, Bleacher Report and FOX Sports. In 2015, he also became the first-ever sports journalism professor at Kennesaw State University in suburban Atlanta. And for the betting community, covering the last two years of the sports calendar (2019-20 / 2020-21), Clemons enjoyed a rock-solid winning rate of 59.6 percent with point-spread and over/under selections (NFL, college football and college basketball.)