2015 NFL Preview: Which Head Coaches Are on the Hot Seat?

We all know that sports fans are prone to overreactions and hyperbole — in fact, a large part of our contrarian philosophy involves capitalizing on bettors who panic after their favorite team loses. These constantly evolving opinions are what drive sports talk radio, but it’s always amazing how these off-the-cuff rumblings can quickly turn into a mainstream media narrative.

By the end of last season we saw the Broncos (Fox), Bills (Marrone), Bears (Trestman), Falcons (Smith), 49ers (Harbaugh), Jets (Ryan) and Raiders (Allen/Sparano) all part ways with their head coaches. That’s seven head coaches replaced in a single season and fourteen coaches replaced over the past two years.

Bill Belichick, who was hired by the Patriots prior to the start of the 2000 season, is the longest tenured head coach in the league. Perhaps more telling is that only seven coaches have been with the same team for the entirety of the current decade. With so much turnover from year to year and so much conversation involving which head coaches should be canned, it should come as no surprise that 5Dimes has posted odds for the first coach to be fired.

Last season Jason Garrett (+200) was the favorite to be the first head coach axed, but winning 12 games helped the former quarterback keep his job — at least for another year. The dubious honor of being the first coach fired last season belongs to Oakland’s Dennis Allen, who closed with the second shortest odds at +450.

The table below compares the current odds to be the first head coach fired at Bovada, 5Dimes and BetOnline. This information will be updated as the odds are adjusted and more sportsbooks begin posting odds.

Coach Bovada (9/11) 5Dimes (7/21) BetOnline (7/22)
Mike Pettine +275 +450 +800
Jay Gruden +300 +165 +400
Ken Whisenhunt +900 +700 +600
Joe Philbin +1200 +1300 +900
Marvin Lewis +1600 +3500 +2000
Sean Payton +1600 +800 +3300
Jim Tomsula +1600 +1600 +1400
Gus Bradley +1800 +1300 +700
Tom Coughlin +1800 +2500 +1200
Ron Rivera +2000 +2000 +3300
Bill O'Brien +2500 +2500 +3300
Jeff Fisher +2500 +2500 +1200
Lovie Smith +2500 +2500 +1200
Chip Kelly +3300 +2000 +2500
Jim Caldwell +3300 +3300 +3300
Todd Bowles +3300 +3300 +2000
Rex Ryan +3300 +4000 +1600
Jack Del Rio +3300 +2500 +2500
Jason Garrett +5000 +4000 +1600
Mike McCarthy N/A +25000 +10000
Mike Zimmer N/A +2000 +3300
Pete Carroll N/A +25000 +25000
Dan Quinn N/A +3300 +2000
John Fox N/A +4000 +3300
Mike McCoy N/A +2500 +3300
Andy Reid N/A +3300 +3300
Bruce Arians N/A +8000 +6600
John Harbaugh N/A +8000 +10000
Mike Tomlin N/A +8000 +3300
Bill Belichick N/A +25000 +25000
Gary Kubiak N/A +6600 +3300
Chuck Pagano N/A +25000 +6600

Redskins head coach Jay Gruden is clearly on the chopping block and is listed as a +165 favorite (5Dimes) to be the first head coach fired. However, by shopping for the best line you can find him available at +400 (BetOnline).

After posting a 4-12 record last season, Gruden will likely be kept on a short leash. Considering the uncertainty surrounding Robert Griffin’s health and key early season divisional games (Week 3 at NYG, Week 4 vs. PHI), it’s not tough to imagine ‘Skins fans quickly reaching a fever pitch and demanding Gruden’s firing.

It’s also interesting to see that when Bovada finally posted odds for this prop, it was Cleveland’s Mike Pettine (+275) listed as the favorite ahead of Gruden (+300).

Bettors may also be interested to see Saints head coach Sean Payton (+800) listed so high on this list. The team may have struggled with a 7-9 record and certainly Bountygate still looms in our collective memory, but Payton had led New Orleans to an 86-52 record in his eight seasons as head coach, including a victory in Super Bowl XLIV. It’s also interesting to see the discrepancy between the two books, at BetOnline lists Payton at +3300 to be the first head coach fired.

Which coach do you think will be fired first? Will the Saints really fire Payton? Is there a chance that a first year head coach says sayonara? Please let your thoughts in the comment section below.

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David Solar is the Content Manager for Sports Insights and can be reached directly at David@sportsinsights.com.

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David Solar

David Solar has been the Content Manager at Sports Insights for over four years. He specializes in sports betting analytics and has created several popular data-driven betting systems. He can be reached directly at david@sportsinsights.com or on twitter at @TheDavidSolar.

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