Is a big bet on Cowboys' Mike McCarthy for coach of the year really that bad?

Stop if you've heard this one: A bettor walks into a sportsbook, and tells the ticket writer to give him (or her) $1,000 on Mike McCarthy to win NFL coach of the year. 

That's it, that's the punchline. 

A bettor made a wager at BetMGM that will get some eye rolls. The bettor took McCarthy, the oft-criticized Dallas Cowboys coach, to win coach of the year at 30-to-1 odds. It would pay $30,000. 

Jokes aside, it's not too bad of a bet. 

Can Mike McCarthy win coach of the year? 

Coach of the year, across all sports, is a weird award. It rarely goes to the best coach. Think about that for a moment. It's usually based on which team most outperformed its preseason expectations. It can't be that the preseason predictions were just wrong. It had to be a genius coaching job, right? 

That makes handicapping coach of the year different than any other award. You probably should eliminate Andy Reid, John Harbaugh or Bill Belichick before the season even starts. They're among the best coaches in the game but too good year after year to get votes. I know, I know. 

So you have to look for which coach will win the narrative battle because his team will "surprise" everyone. The Cowboys have that ability. They were 6-10 last season. They are the NFC East favorites and will have an offense that could put get them double-digit wins. If they hit the absolute high end of their range of outcomes, and win 12 or 13 games, you can imagine McCarthy getting a ton of coach of the year love whether it's deserved or not. And when has anything Cowboys lacked for attention? 

It's not all that logical, but logic won't win you many coach of the year bets. 

Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy went 6-10 last season. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy went 6-10 last season. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Cowboys could improve in 2021

McCarthy has become one of the easier coaches to criticize on social media, ever since his time with Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers soured. His offense got stale. It looked bad when Matt LaFleur took the Packers to two straight NFC championship games after McCarthy was fired. McCarthy went on a PR blitz to sell himself as a coach reinventing himself and that probably helped him get the Dallas job, but it's not like the 2020 Cowboys were all that innovative. 

What matters is in this discussion is not really if McCarthy can coach or not (again, COY is weird). More important is the combination of Cowboys hype, an improvement from last season and beating preseason expectations. There's a path for Dallas to be better. And they'll get those headlines all year. 

So make your McCarthy jokes. But one bettor could be having the last laugh. 

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