Depending on who you ask, the Chicago Bears’ decision to fire Lovie Smith after a 10-6 season may have been a mistake, but personal opinion aside, the move has opened up a fine NFL head coaching job for the multitude of worthy candidates currently riding the coaching carousel.
The move has also given way to some a fun and interesting prop bet that Bovada currently has available, giving odds on several of the top potential candidates. Here’s the skinny on each and my pick for the best bet in this prop.
Mike McCoy-2/1: Mike McCoy is the current offensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos and considering how much the Bears struggled on that side of the ball this year, he would certainly be a good fit. Peyton Manning deserves much of the credit for turning the Broncos into an offensive powerhouse, but McCoy certainly deserves some as well. He is the favorite for the job at the moment and is interviewing with the weekend, according to ESPN. So, if all goes well, the job could be his. Definitely not a bad wager here, but there may be better value elsewhere…
Keith Armstrong-3/1: League sources have reported that Atlanta Falcons special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong has already flown out to interview for the position, so technically speaking, he has as good a chance as McCoy to land the gig. But he doesn’t quite have the odds, due to the fact that he is a special teams coach, which many consider below an offensive or defensive coach on the totem poll. Obviously, he could crush the interview, but I don’t think he’s a big enough name to get this kind of high-profile job. Stay away form this bet.
Mike Sullivan-4/1: Like McCoy, Mike Sullivan also has an interview with the team this weekend and is coming off a fine season as the Tampa Bay Bucs offensive coordinator. The Bucs may not have made the playoffs, but it certainly wasn’t on the offense, which boasted one of the best running games in the league. I would say Sullivan has just as good a chance as McCoy and he’s a better value pick.
Jon Gruden-5/1: Gruden is certainly a big name that the team wants, but the issue with him is if he’s ready to come back to coaching or not. He’s a guy who could get any job he wanted, but his desire is still uncertain. There’s no talk of him landing in Chicago at the moment, so for now you might want to avoid betting on him.
Bruce Arians-7/1: Arians did a standout job filling in for Chuck Pagano with the Colts this season and he would most likely be interested in the job if it was offered to him. That puts him above Gruden, but still below the top three who actually have interviews lined up. They haven’t talked to him yet, but if they do, he might just get the gig. This is a decent value pick here.
Chip Kelly-7/1: Every NFL team is high on Chip Kelly right now and the Bears would have to have his offensive mind on their sidelines, but he is more of a longs hot than Arians for this particular job, making him a lower value pick at the same odds. The reason he is more of a long shot is simply because so many teams are interested and he’s already in talks with the Cleveland Browns, who will likely put a big offer on the table for him. Expect him to join the NFL ranks, but not with the Bears.
Bill Cowher-10/1: Cowher is in the same boat as Gruden, but is a higher value bet for my money. He would gel more with the Bears’ mentality, but we just don’t know how badly he wants to return to the sidelines. He’s got a good gig with CBS right now that he may not want to leave yet. He’s a long shot, but decent value considering the odds.
My Pick-Mike Sullivan: This is the best value at 4/1. He’s got a good chance to kill the interview and win the job this week, but look out for if a bigger name like Gruden or Arians swoops in at the last minute.