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Jim Harbaugh NFL Return Odds: 75% Chance He Bolts Michigan

Adam Thompson for Bookies.com

Adam Thompson  | 9 mins

Jim Harbaugh NFL Return Odds: 75% Chance He Bolts Michigan

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Jim Harbaugh has Michigan back in the annual national championship picture. The question now is if he'll be around to see it through or if he resumes some unfinished business in the league that plays on Sundays.  

Multiple reports speculate Harbaugh is eyeing a return to the NFL head coaching ranks, and will take an offer if received this offseason. With five vacancies at the moment, there is a real chance the former 49ers head coach will get that opportunity. 

In fact, Bookies.com oddsmaker Adam Thompson puts Harbaugh's chances of bolting Michigan for the NFL at around 75% - translation: He's all but out the door. But which team will Harbaugh be coaching in 2023? Thompson gives his NFL odds for Harbaugh's next coaching stop.

Jim Harbaugh 2023 Team Odds

Next TeamOddsImplied Probability
Denver Broncos +225 30.8%
Michigan Wolverines +275 26.7%
Indianapolis Colts +400 20.0%
Houston Texans +500 16.7%
Carolina Panthers +750 11.8%
Arizona Cardinals +1200 7.7%
The Field +1500 6.3%

Odds above are projected and not currently available at legal sportsbooks or betting apps. This page will be updated should odds become available.

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Harbaugh coached the 49ers for four seasons, from 2011-14. San Francisco advanced to the NFC Championship game in three of those seasons, losing the Super Bowl (to the Ravens, and brother John Harbaugh). His overall record was 44-19-1 before leaving to coach his alma mater at Michigan. 

It took three seasons before the Wolverines found top-level success. It appeared things were in big trouble when the team went just 9-4 in 2019 then 2-4 in the COVID-ravaged 2020 season. But the last two seasons have been a massive success, with the team advancing to the College Football Playoff the last two years and finally beating Ohio State. 

RELATED: Where Will Sean Payton Coach Next?

Now it appears with Michigan back to national prominence, Harbaugh is ready to find his new project. Multiple sources say he’s planning to take an offer if one is received. With his track record of success, expect at least one NFL offer. The question is, will he actually take it? He has mentioned not winning a Super Bowl as “unfinished business.”

Harbaugh apparently spoke with the Vikings last offseason but decided to stay at Michigan, calling his interest in the NFL “a one-time thing.” Time will tell. 

That Harbaugh is now under NCAA investigation and could be facing a multi-game suspension for recruiting issues and misleading officials, it could help push him back to the pro ranks. 

The Broncos reportedly interviewed Harbaugh via video call on Monday night. There is a connection between Harbaugh and Condoleezza Rice, part of the ownership group in Denver and who is on the Broncos' coach hiring committee, from Harbaugh's time coaching at Stanford. 

The Broncos have also received permission from the Saints to interview Sean Payton. Meanwhile, Denver is also  planning on talking to other high-profile candidates, so the process is just beginning. 

Denver’s last three head coaches have received their first HC gig from the team; the Broncos may prefer to find a veteran to lead this veteran-laden team. 

The Colts may be looking for a new head coach because the run of interim boss Jeff Saturday has been an abject disaster. Harbaugh is part of the Colts Ring of Honor for his days as QB in Indy so there is a strong connection. Some NFL insiders believe Indy has Harbaugh atop its wish list. 

The Panthers fired head coach Matt Rhule after a dreadful 1-4 start. Interim coach Steve Wilks has done an admirable job (5-6 record), but it sounds like Carolina is prepared to do a full search for the next full-timer. Harbaugh is reportedly keen on the Panthers gig, given the roster and potential, and an owner and management group that wants to make a splash. 

In fact, owner David Tepper has already reached out to Harbaugh, further strengthening the speculation that Carolina may be on the coach's shortlist. 

The Texans have moved on from Lovie Smith. Houston is in total rebuild mode, and with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft in tow, a start-from-scratch, high-autonomy landing spot could be appealing to Harbaugh. 

The Cardinals had high expectations in 2022 and came well short of them. Arizona could be appealing in this NFL betting market based on its young (albeit injured) QB and loaded offense. 

The Field is led by the Commanders, whose gig could open up after Ron Rivera’s brutal end to the season in Washington. But for a coach with options, taking over a team with a potential lame-duck owner isn’t enticing. Any number of teams could turn on their coaches in this win-now environment, including the Falcons, Bears, Saints and even the Titans. The Ohio native could have a personal lean to the Browns, if the job opens up. Right now, however, these are all long shots. 

Until he officially declares he’s staying at Michigan, Harbaugh is likely to be on every team’s initial list along with Payton, Cowboys coordinators Dan Quinn and Kellen Moore, and 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans. 

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About the Author

Adam Thompson for Bookies.com
Adam Thompson
NFL writer and expert Adam Thompson joined Bookies.com in 2019 after a successful run as senior handicapper for SportsLine and CBSSports.com. He's long been established as one of the nation's premier handicappers, specializing in the NFL where he's hit on more than 60% over the past three years. Adam's NBA, PGA and horse racing picks have also produced major winners over the last 12 months. His customized NFL and NBA odds for players and teams have been picked up by hundreds of websites over the past year.