NFL Offensive Player of the Year Predictions & Odds 2020/2021
At the end of every NFL season, the Associated Press (AP) gives out its prestigious Offensive Player of the Year (OPOY) Award to the offensive player who had the most impressive season.
While most professional football players are happier with team wins than individual accolades, the OPOY and the defensive version of it are two awards that every NFL player covets.
Here we further explain this esteemed award, plus we briefly analyze some of the men who oddsmakers have favored this season, the top five players who have the best chance at winning the AP OPOY award in 2020.
AP NFL Offensive Player of the Year Odds
Odds as of September 1, 2020 at DraftKings Sportsbook.
|Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs||+700|
|Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans||+1000|
|Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens||+1000|
|Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers||+1000|
|Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints||+1000|
|George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers||+1400|
|Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks||+1600|
|Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons||+2000|
|Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints||+2500|
|Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys||+2500|
|Tom Brady, TB Buccaneers||+2800|
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Patrick Mahomes (+700)
It would most likely take another Super Bowl win for Patrick Mahomes to win the OPOY award in 2020, the 24-year-old two-time Pro Bowler quarterback having already received the honor in 2018, his first season as the starter for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Mahomes took his Chiefs to an eventual Big Game victory in 2019 with 4,031 passing yards and 26 touchdowns with 5 interceptions, which were nowhere near the numbers from the prior year when his 50 touchdown passes easily led the league, of course, that was in just 14 regular-season games due to injury.
The same effective Chiefs offensive weapons that Mahomes’ targeted in 2019 remain (WRs Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins plus TE Travis Kelce) but now add to that the rookie dual-threat back the team snagged in the draft, former LSU star Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who should help create some interesting additional options to Kansas City’s already potent offense.
Lamar Jackson (+1000)
This will be Lamar Jackson’s third season in the NFL, and already he has proven to be a game-changer, basically reinventing the way the standard run-pass-option (RPO) offense is executed, his speed, ability to elude tackles and strong enough arm making him a huge threat out of the Baltimore Ravens’ backfield.
During the 2020 season, Jackson will again target receivers Marquise “Hollywood” Brown and Miles Boykin along with tight end Nick Boyle, but now the Ravens’ run game that features Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards has been upped a notch with the addition of the rookie running back sensation from OSU, J.K. Dobbins.
Where the Ravens’ front office did a good offseason job improving Jackson’s chances of being on the field more is by upgrading the middle of the defense in terms of linebackers, slapping the franchise tag on star Matt Judon and drafting Patrick Queen and Malik Harrison, two rookies who are expected to be instant contributors.
Christian McCaffrey (+1000)
Next on this list of potential OPOY candidates are two running backs, both stars on their respective teams, with Christian McCaffrey, listed first due to slightly better odds, a slippery, soft-handed back who was selected as a 2x All-Pro in 2019 as a running back and for the ‘flex’ position.
In terms of production last season, McCaffrey, the 23-year-old Carolina Panthers dual-threat star, was a beast, posting the third-best effort on the ground in the NFL (287 carries for 1,387 yards and 15 touchdowns) while catching 116 passes for 1,005 yards and 4 more touchdowns.
Helping McCaffrey out for the 2020 season will be (hopefully) some stability at the quarterback position, with Teddy Bridgewater coming in as the starter, the talented veteran finally getting another chance at leading a team, so he will most likely be counting on McCaffrey to be his primary playmaker, which should sweeten the star running back’s already sugary stats even more.
Russell Wilson (+1600)
A long shot for this award is Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, a 7x Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champion who has access to some talented targets who he is beginning to develop chemistry with, namely receivers D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, with pass-catching tight end Greg Olsen now also part of the roster.
Last season, Wilson was the 6th most productive quarterback in the league, having completed 341 passes for 4,110 yards and 31 touchdowns despite being sacked 48 times, which tied for the most in the NFL that season.
To help fix that weakness in their offensive line and protect Wilson better, the Seahawks’ front office signed free agent center B.J. Finney and right tackle Cedric Ogbuehi in the offseason, though it could take a while for the new squad to gel, especially given the limited practice time that the teams have been subjected to due to the national quarantine.
Saquon Barkley (+3300)
New York Giants’ running back Saquon Barkley was most likely pumped at his team’s draft in 2020, seeing as how the front office used their first pick to select Andrew Thomas, a powerful tackle expected to be an instant starter who will help to create some bigger holes on the right side of the line for Barkley.
Barkley played in just 13 games last season due to a high ankle sprain he suffered in Week 3, yet he still posted 1,000+ yards on the ground with 6 touchdowns plus caught 52 passes for 438 yards and 2 more touchdowns, better than decent production that equated to 5.4 yards per touch.
For Barkley to snag the OPOY honors in 2020, he would have to have a season like he did his rookie year when he totaled 2,000+ yards from scrimmage with 15 touchdowns and averaged 5.8 yards per touch, numbers which earned him Offensive Rookie of the Year honors that year.
What Exactly is the AP Offensive Player of the Year Award?
For the past 46 years, the Associated Press (AP) has given out its esteemed Offensive Player of the Year Award to the NFL player on offense they feel had the most outstanding season, voted on by a nationwide panel of sportswriters.
Many of the former recipients of the award were coming off a record-breaking (or close to it) season or else helped lead their team to a Super Bowl appearance or victory.
The first OPOY award was given in 1972 to Larry Brown, the running back who played for the Washington Redskins and ran for a career-high number of yards (1,216) and 8 touchdowns while catching 32 balls for 473 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Who Won the Award in 2019?
The winner of the 2019 AP Offensive Player of the Year Award was New Orleans Saints star receiver, Michael Thomas.
Thomas led the league in targets (185), receptions (149) and receiving yards (1,725), while his 9 touchdown catches were tied for third-most in the league last season.
Thomas is a 3x Pro-Bowler, a 2x First-team All-Pro and was not only the receptions leader last season but also the season before, with 2020 about to be his fifth year in the league.
What Position Does the Award Winner Typically Play?
In the history of the OPOY award, every winner has been either a running back or a quarterback, with the exception of two incredible players.
The first is San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Jerry Rice, who has won the award twice, the first one in 1987 and the second one in 1993.
The second is the above-mentioned Michael Thomas, who joins Rice as the only other receiver to be honored this way.
Of the 47 years that the AP OPOY award has been given out, there have been twenty-five running back winners, twenty quarterbacks, and now two receivers to take the prize.
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager.
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