2022 Coaching Candidates: Best Bets For Broncos, Bears, Giants, and others Head Coach

Heading into the postseason, eight coaching vacancies form another storyline complementary to the chase for the Lombardy Trophy. The annual coaching carousel always results in a few surprises as franchise’s look for their best fit to take them to the big game in February.

With many eager to assume the vacant posts across the league, not all openings are created equal. Some franchises are seeking the next up and coming play calling star, poaching them away from the more successful organizations, whereas others will dip into the collegiate ranks or hire an experienced vet to take the reigns. Each team will have many candidates in their door, but which candidates are emerging that pose the most value for bettors?

All listed odds were accurate as of noon, January 14, 2022, and sourced from BetMGM and Maximbet.

Photo by Dave Adamson on Unsplash

Chicago Bears

Not unsurprisingly, the Bears opted to part ways with Matt Nagy after his four-year stint in Chi-Town resulted in just an 0–2 playoff record. Chicago may look to go in an opposite direction of Nagy, billed as an offensive-oriented coach who had worked under Andy Reid, and target a coach on the defensive side of the ball — such as ousted ‘Fins Head Coach Brian Flores, the current odds-on favorite at +160.

The Bill Belichick disciple makes for a top candidate for vacancies across the league, however, it’s not a sure thing that Chicago pivots to a defensive-minded coach for 2022 and beyond — especially if the Bears’ brass wants someone to develop QB Justin Fields. A candidate worth action is the Buffalo Bills Offensive Coordinator Brian Daboll. The coach who helped turn Josh Allen into one of the AFC’s top passers may look to do the same with another physical, strong-armed quarterback in Justin Fields.

Best Bet: Brian Daboll +650

Other Picks: Brian Flores +160, Leslie Frazier +600, Doug Pederson +800

Denver Broncos

Vic Fangio has been shown the door in Denver, and although General Manager George Paton had admitted it wasn’t an easy decision, it was ultimately the lackluster production on offense that caused Fangio’s exodus. After finishing in the bottom 10 in offensive scoring the past three seasons, Denver will likely look for offensive experience in their next hire. Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator, Nathaniel Hackett, has emerged as the favorite to land the position at +300 following his two years with Matt LaFluer and Aaron Rodgers.

Hackett does make for an excellent candidate, and very well may get the gig running the show at Mile High, however, President of Football Operations John Elway and the Denver decision-makers may look to make a splashy — but risky — hire after years of banal coaching choices. In steps Kellen Moore. At +1500, there is tremendous value in the Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator. Not long removed from the field himself, Moore has quickly skyrocketed to the forefront of coaching consideration across the league with his unique and innovate play calling. Potentially paired with a veteran defensive coordinator, he could be just what they need in Denver — if Moore doesn’t find a more promising job elsewhere.

Best Bet: Kellen Moore +1500

Other Picks: Nathaniel Hackett +300, Eric Bieniemy +1000

Miami Dolphins

One of the most surprising dismissals of the year came in Florida, with the Dolphins opting to move on from Brian Flores despite back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in nearly two decades. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is certainly not the most risk adverse and may be going after a big fish, and Flores’ firing may have come with a replacement already in mind.

There’s no clear-cut favorite to assume the role in Miami, making it one of the most interesting situations among the teams searching this January — and a potentially lucrative spot for bettors. Packers coordinator Nathaniel Hackett is one prominent name in discussion (his odds can be found anywhere from +300 to +800) as is Brian Daboll (+600), Chiefs’ assistant Eric Bieniemy (+650) and Kellen Moore (+1000). If Ross’ plan is to go star-chasing, then there’s one name that stands among the rest — Jim Harbough at +1400. Is it time for Harbough to leave Michigan and make his return to the pros? Ross, among the largest contributors to the University of Michigan, has gone on record to say he doesn’t want to poach the coach who’s brought success back to Ann Arbor — but we all know talk is cheap in the NFL.

Best Bet: Jim Harbough (+1400)

Other Picks: Brian Daboll (+600), Eric Bieniemy (+650), Kellen Moore (+1000)

Minnesota Vikings

After eight seasons in Minnesota, one of the league’s longest-tenured coaches in Mike Zimmer has been shown the door. The Vikings could look to go in several directions for 2022 and the team has among the best rosters of the teams with vacancies, making it one of the most interesting decisions to follow.

The Vikings will likely wait until after the position of General Manager is filled before making any decisions — prospective GMs are undoubtedly going to be asked their HC opinion in the interview process, making Minnesota one of the toughest openings to pinpoint a logical suitor. Cowboys play caller Kellen Moore (+1100) is certain to be in the discussion, and with a playoff-ready offense it could be his top choice, however the ‘Vikes may be in the market for a more experienced candidate to get them over the hump that Zimmer could not. Doug Pederson (+225) is the favorite from that angle, however, Dallas Cowboys coordinator and former Atlanta Falcons’ Head Coach Dan Quinn offers up bettors the most value at +2000 in a seemingly wide-open race.

Best Bet: Dan Quinn (+2000)

Other Picks: Kellen Moore (+1100), Matt Eberflus (+1400), Jerod Mayo (+5000)

Jacksonville Jaguars

After canning Urban Meyer halfway through his first season amid a slew of disappointment on and off the field, the opening in Jacksonville is among the most interesting. With Trevor Lawrence and the 2022 first round pick, Jacksonville has one of the most open canvasses for prospective head coaches. Bill O’Brien, who was given the pink-slip by division rival Houston last season, is the favorite for the position at +200 — and perhaps the only place that he’ll even garner any actual consideration.

Now the offensive coordinator for the Bucs, Byron Leftwich is most remembered for his stint as the Jaguars’ quarterback in the early 2000s with a playoff appearance in 2005. Leftwich has enjoyed tremendous success working with Bruce Arians and Tom Brady five-hours south on I-95 in Tampa Bay, though there are reasonable doubts as to how much of that is due to his own body of work. Could Jacksonville look to a fan-favorite for 2022 and beyond after their splashy choice completely backfired last season? At +600, Leftwich is an interesting choice to take the reigns in north Florida.

Best Bet: Byron Leftwich (+600)

Other Picks: Jim Caldwell (+1000), Darrell Bevell (+1200)

New York Giants

Former Head Coach Joe Judge survived the initial sweep of firings on Black Monday, but was ultimately shown the door after two rather abysmal seasons at the helm. There are several names being floated around for the opening with Big Blue, most notably the offensive coordinator in Western New York — Brian Daboll — who’s the favorite to land the job at +260.

The Giants, however, may look for a veteran boss to inherit the dysfunctional mess left behind by Judge. Doug Pederson at +400 makes for an interesting candidate, however, Jim Caldwell (+1400) even more so — and potentially a safer pick when considering the displeasure Giants’ fans may share if Pederson lands the job. Caldwell has a 62–50 overall record which includes three winning seasons and two playoff berths with Detroit — a feat that looks more impressive with each passing season. Caldwell may be just what the Giants need in the Meadowlands.

Best Bet: Jim Caldwell (+1400)

Other Picks: Doug Pederson (+400), Brian Flores (+600)

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Kenneth Bates

Kenneth Bates

Sports betting thoughts & insights from both sides of the counter

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