Each year, an NFL player who overcomes some level of adversity — injury or otherwise — is honored with the league’s Comeback Player of the Year award.
In 2022, Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith earned that recognition after thriving in his first season as Seattle’s starter, throwing for over 4,000 yards and 30 touchdown passes.
As we head down the back stretch of the 2023 season, we’ve got a competitive race for the trophy.
Let’s discuss as we dive into the latest NFL Comeback Player of the Year odds.
NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award Odds
NFL betting odds used for these best bets are current as of Wednesday, Nov. 15, and courtesy of BetMGM Sportsbook.
- Damar Hamlin (-200)
- Tua Tagovailoa (+400)
- Joshua Dobbs (+475)
- Lamar Jackson (+1800)
- Baker Mayfield (+2500)
- Aaron Rodgers (+2500)
- Breece Hall (+2500)
- T.J. Watt (+3000)
- Chase Young (+4000)
NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award Best Bet
Damar Hamlin, S, Buffalo Bills (-200)
While this award is predominantly presented to offensive players, the adversity that Hamlin has overcome is unmatched.
The Bills’ safety went into cardiac arrest during the team’s Week 17 game against the Cincinnati Bengals last season and had to be resuscitated on the field. The fact that he is alive and functioning is a miracle, let alone back on the field for Buffalo.
Although Hamlin has been inactive most weeks and only logged his first action of the season in Week 10, it’s telling that he’s still the betting favorite for this award.
Regardless of his or Buffalo’s play, he’s going to get votes.
NFL Awards Betting Odds & Picks
- NFL Offensive Player of the Year Odds & Predictions
- NFL Defensive Player of the Year Odds & Predictions
- NFL Coach of the Year Odds & Best Bets
NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award Contenders
Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Miami Dolphins (+400)
Before the season began, there was a massive gulf in the odds between Hamlin and the rest of the field. That gap has narrowed.
Tagovailoa is coming off a season in which he suffered at least two documented concussions and played at an extremely high level when healthy. Still, the injuries made him consider retiring in the offseason.
Miami is happy he reconsidered. Through Week 10, Tagovailoa is tied for the league lead in touchdown passes (19) and is second among healthy quarterbacks (sorry, Kirk Cousins) in passing yards per game (291.4).
The Dolphins are 6-3 and have a 1.5-game lead over the Bills in the AFC East. If Tagovailoa delivers Miami’s first division title since 2008 and remains among the league leaders in passing, he’ll not only have a great case to win Comeback Player of the Year but could also top the NFL MVP odds.
Joshua Dobbs, QB, Minnesota Vikings (+475)
I mean, who could have seen this story coming?
Dobbs, aka “The Passtronaut," started two games toward the end of last season for the Titans, who were desperately trying to save their season after Ryan Tannehill got injured. It didn’t work. Tennessee lost both games, and Dobbs passed for 411 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions.
He entered training camp as a backup for the Cleveland Browns, who traded him to Arizona in August. The Cardinals, who needed a quarterback to fill in while Kyler Murray continued his recovery from a torn ACL, handed him the reins to start the season.
Dobbs kept the Cardinals competitive early in the season, even leading them to a win over the Dallas Cowboys. His numbers weren’t amazing, and Arizona lost his last five games with the team, but he clearly wasn’t the main problem.
With Murray set to return, the Cardinals then dealt Dobbs to Minnesota ahead of the NFL trade deadline to replace an injured Kirk Cousins. He’s won two straight games despite barely knowing the playbook and the names of his teammates.
It’s an amazing story, but I’m not sure the Vikings’ revival lasts long enough to see him win the award.
NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award Sleeper
Aaron Rodgers, QB, New York Jets (+2500)
Has any NFL player ever torn his Achilles in Week 1 and returned the same season?
I didn’t think so.
Rodgers could change everything we know about injuries if he returns to quarterback the New York Jets in December, something he has said he intends to do. Jets coach Robert Saleh recently said that Rodgers will play if he gets cleared, so there’s seemingly a chance this will happen.
If the four-time NFL MVP returns and somehow leads New York to a playoff berth, this award should be his. However, that scenario doesn’t feel particularly likely, so I’d bet some spare change at most.
Previous NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award Winners
2022: Geno Smith, QB, Seattle Seahawks
2021: Joe Burrow, QB, Cincinnati Bengals
2020: Alex Smith, QB, Washington Football Team
2019: Ryan Tannehill, QB, Tennessee Titans
2018: Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts
2017: Keenan Allen, WR, Los Angeles Chargers
2016: Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay Packers
2015: Eric Berry, SS, Kansas City Chiefs
2014: Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots
2013: Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego Chargers