The four-week stretch from the middle of June to the middle of July gives NFL coaches a rare opportunity to get away from it all. To relax, to unwind. To not worry.
For some coaches, good luck with the last part. History has proven time and again that as many of one in four NFL coaches won’t be NFL coaches six months after the start of training camp. Every year, there’s a list of coaches regarded as being on the hot seat as the season approaches.
And in more and more jurisdictions, bettors will be able to put money on which coach will be the first to have his supply of money cut off (pending a buyout).
Here’s the list, with Browns coach Hue Jackson as the favorite at +350. Next is Dolphins coach Adam Gase at +750, followed by Bengals coach Marvin Lewis at +1000, Broncos coach Vance Joseph at +1000, Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter at +1200 (those were pre-Jameis Winston suspension odds), Washington coach Jay Gruden at +1200, Jets coach Todd Bowles at +1600, Texans coach Bill O’Brien at +2000, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett at +2500, Ravens coach John Harbaugh at +2800, Raiders coach Jon Gruden at +2800, and Seahawks coach Pete Carroll at +2800.
And this is where we’ll likely carve out a niche of sorts in this new world of sports wagering. On a game-by-game basis, when the bounce of the ball, the gust of wind, a bad decision at the worst possible time, or a flaw in game-planning can change things dramatically, it’s too hard to know what will happen with any degree of certainty. When it comes to big-picture, full-season propositions, however, that’s a different story.
On those bets, the feel that comes from following the NFL every waking moment of every day will be very beneficial. And as it relates to this specific proposition, here are the bets to avoid, and the bets to consider.
Don’t waste your money betting on O’Brien, Harbaugh, Jon Gruden, or Pete Carroll being the first to be fired. O’Brien has a new contract, Harbaugh most likely will be permitted to finish the season, barring a complete and total disaster (which isn’t likely), Jon Gruden is just starting a 10-year contract that would have a hefty buyout, and Carroll’s Seahawks likely will be better than most expect.
The smart money would be placed on Vance Joseph or Jay Gruden. Joseph avoided (perhaps narrowly) a termination after only one year on the job, with a team that seemed to be easily broken within the confines of a given game. (Remember when G.M. John Elway called the team soft?) If things don’t turn around quickly in 2018, Elway may feel compelled to shake things up. And he may decide that he made the wrong decision after 2017.
In Washington, there’s plenty of pressure on the entire organization, and plenty of indications that the team will be battling at best for the basement. The Eagles will continue to be very good (most likely), the Cowboys should be better, and the Giants can’t be much worse (and probably will be much better). If Washington falls behind its three arch rivals, owner Daniel Snyder could decide that the time has come to move on.
Gase is a surprise at +750, and that’s another bet to avoid. He took the team to the playoffs in 2016, and he navigated a season of endless turmoil in 2017. The many doubters will serve only to strengthen the resolve of Gase and his team, which likely will be more of a team than it was given the departures of possibly-not-team-first players like Jarvis Landry, Ndamukong Suh, and Mike Pouncey.
Here’s one more to avoid: Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, for a couple of reasons. First, they won’t be as bad as many expect. Second, owner Mike Brown doesn’t like to pay people to not work. So if a firing comes, it likely won’t happen during the season — barring the kind of meltdown that just isn’t likely given the talent on the roster.
And here’s one to watch, given the long odds (and potentially great payoff): Cowboys coach Jason Garrett. Although owner Jerry Jones prefers a coach who won’t try to steal the spotlight, Garrett is running out of chances to prove Jones right for being so patient with the offensive coordinator who succeeded Wade Phillips during the 2010 season, after Jones made it clear that he wouldn’t be firing Wade Phillips during the 2010 season.
If the Cowboys stumble out of the gates, if they are outcoached a time or two (e.g., six sacks registered by one player with no in-game adjustments), and if Jerry catches a wild hair as a Week Eight bye approaches (the first seven weeks of the schedule will be no picnic), Garrett could be the first one to go. And at $2500 for every $100 wagered, that would be a nice way to turn Garrett’s negative into something positive.
All that said, no one ever knows what’s going to happen. But it’s a heck of a lot easier to predict moves like these over what will happen on any given Sunday, Monday, or Thursday.