Entering the season, it was almost a foregone conclusion that Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin would with the NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award. After suffering a life-threatening injury on live, prime-time television last season, it was thought that all Hamlin had to do was step on the field and the award would be his.
NFL Odds: Hamlin Still The Favorite For Comeback POY Award
— Around The NFL (@AroundTheNFL) September 29, 2023
The odds at the sports books reflected that notion. There was a point in the offseason when Hamlin had a -1000 designation to win CBPOY, with the rest of the field considered long shots and a waste of a bet.
We’ve had to wait for Hamlin’s ceremonious return. He made an appearance in a home preseason game and was a full participant for much of training camp, but the Bills had yet to activate him to the active roster in any of the first three weeks of the season.
The odds have certainly changed since then. Hamlin’s status as the favorite shrank with each passing week that he was inactive. At the same time, Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa emerged as the leading MVP candidate over the first month of the season. His is a comeback story in itself, as he is now the leader of a historically dominant offense after contemplating retirement due to concussion issues last season.
Tagovailoa closed the gap in a major way. As of Friday morning, Hamlin was still the favorite, but Tua was no longer a long shot. Damar Hamlin’s designation to win NFL Comeback Player of the Year was sitting at -200, with Tagovailoa within reaching distance at +250.
Tagovailoa Has Closed The Gap, But Not For Long
This spring, Hamlin told reporters, “My heart is still in the game. I love the game.”
On Sunday, he’s set to be back doing it. pic.twitter.com/5LzNm5EeXz
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 29, 2023
But those numbers are subject to heavy change this weekend. Bills starting safety Jordan Poyer has been downgraded to out and will miss Sunday’s contest against the Dolphins, and Hamlin has been elevated to the active roster. Upon taking his first snap, his designation on the board will likely shoot up.
There may not be much that Tagovailoa can do about catching Hamlin. The story of the heart issues was more national news than it was just a sports story, and the weight of the situation likely makes the Bills safety a shoo-in for the award.
The rest of the players listed are long shots. TJ Watt, Matthew Stafford, and Baker Mayfield are all currently sitting at +1700.
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