The veteran quarterback, who on Sunday played in his first game since suffering a gruesome leg injury two years ago, is now the odds-on favorite to be named NFL Comeback Player of the Year by the Associated Press at FanDuel’s sportsbook.
Two weeks ago, Smith was a 10-1 long shot to win the award at FanDuel, but the book trimmed his odds to 4-1 after Washington benched starting quarterback Dwayne Haskins in favor of Kyle Allen. Smith moved into the role of favorite when reports surfaced that he could ultimately end up as the team’s starter.
Smith replaced Allen late in the second quarter against the Los Angeles Rams and played the entire second half, completing 9 of 17 passes for 37 yards in his first action since Nov. 18, 2018, when he broke the fibula and tibia in his right leg.
Washington coach Ron Rivera has said that Allen, if healthy, remains the team’s starting quarterback.
The shift in Smith’s odds was based more on his increased chances of playing time than any flurry of bets, FanDuel said.
“While Smith’s numbers may not match those of others in the market, it is incredible that he has returned to the field and we think the current odds reflect how voters are likely to view it,” Kevin Hennessy, spokesperson for FanDuel, told ESPN.
Newton has attracted the most bets to win the award at FanDuel, followed by Roethlisberger.
Dallas Cowboys defensive end Aldon Smith is 14-1, with Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt next at 20-1. Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett is 32-1, as is Chicago Bears quarterback Nick Foles.