This is last year’s article. Visit our NFL MVP Odds 2020-21 article to see the latest updated odds and analysis.
Since 2000, the award has been given to a quarterback 16 times. We have seen a running backs take home this award, but just four times in that same span. Patrick Mahomes is coming off a 50 touchdown season where he took home the MVP. He already leads the way at +110. It is a bit odd to see Tom Brady and Drew Brees next in line, given their seasons have been more on par with the average quarterback over the last few seasons. The upside for them is a bit capped given both of their teams have geared more towards the run or at least a balanced offense in the last few seasons. I would be more inclined on taking the young quarterbacks who have better value and stand more of a chance to get this award.
Running backs and other positions have been at a disadvantage for a while now given that quarterbacks get the attention. If a wide receiver has a standout season, the quarterback still has the upper hand. Christian McCaffrey has the highest odds of any non-quarterback position, with a few others behind him. We will take a look at what it would take for a guy like McCaffrey to have a chance at winning MVP. The FanDuel Sportsbook has MVP odds out, and they certainly have some eye-popping values.
Repeat For Patrick Mahomes?
We have seen a few quarterbacks win back-to-back MVP awards of late, as Peyton Manning did it in 2003 and 2004, and then again in 2008 and 2009. Brett Favre did it in 1995 and 1996. Joe Montana did it in 1989 and 1990. Patrick Mahomes 2018 season was historic. He finished with over 5,000 yards passing, and had 50 touchdowns. Sure even with some touchdown regression coming, Mahomes is a gem in this offense and has the weapons to produce another big year. +500 is a pretty healthy return on someone who is projected to throw nearly 40 touchdowns and over 4,500 yards. This has generally been the mark quarterbacks have needed to hit, alongside a healthy record for their team.
Tom Brady and Matt Ryan both surpassed 4,500 passing yards in the last two seasons where they took home the award. Cam Newton was a different type of MVP like season, where he threw for 3,395 yards and 24 touchdowns. However, his 636 rushing yards and 10 rushing touchdowns pushed him over the edge. Peyton Manning’s 2013 season was the big one, where the threw 5,477 yards and had 55 touchdowns. The 2014 season where Aaron Rodgers won, he had 4,381 yards and 38 touchdowns. I could see Mahomes in this type of range yet again. The Chiefs are expected to be a double-digit win team as well.
Can Christian McCaffrey Keep This Up?
Coming in at +1000 is interesting, as Christian McCaffrey continues to carry this Carolina Panthers team. There are three names below in terms of more recent running back winners of this award. At the moment he is on pace for over 2,500 total yards, and is projected for 20+ touchdowns. This would certainly put his numbers up there with some of the greats.
- Shaun Alexander – 1,958 all-purpose yards / 28
- LaDainian Tomlinson – 2,323 all-purpose yards / 31 TD
- Adrian Peterson – 2,314 all-purpose yards / 13 TD
The next closest running backs are Dalvin Cook and Alvin Kamara. Both sit at +5000, and are unlikely to be the backs that can take home an MVP award. I was high on Kamara, but the Drew Brees injury has hindered him a bit. An ankle injury is also lingering at the moment. Cook has been a workhorse, and has seen the touches to produce numbers, they just likely won’t be sexy enough come the end of the season.
Deshaun Watson & Other Top Values
Desahaun Watson is a popular pick already, and he has moved up into the top three in terms of odds at +1000. After tearing his ACL in 2017, he came back and posted strong numbers. He completed 68.3% of his passes, and had 4,165 passing yards. He kept his interceptions to a minimum, throwing nine, and had 26 passing touchdowns. Watson also rushed for 551 yards and five touchdowns. Having about 4,700 yards of total offense and 31 touchdowns is a very above average year.
Watson is on pace for 35 passing touchdowns and over 4,000 passing yards, which would be a plus in addition to his rushing numbers. Watson continues to be a strong threat to be an upset of Mahomes this year. Despite Andrew Luck retiring, the Texans find themselves in a battle for the AFC South. The offensive line continues to be one of the worst in the league, and they don’t have much of a run game. This team relies heavily on Watson.
If Carson Wentz can stay healthy, he is another quarterback with MVP potential. In 2017 he missed three games, and posted 33 touchdowns and 3,296 passing yards. He also had nearly 300 rushing yards. Wentz has a solid play-calling staff around him and plenty of weapons to work with. 16 games will be crucial and he only did that in his rookie season. Philly has a strong offensive line, but the luck has been poor. I have Wentz going for over 4,000 yards and over 30 touchdowns, and there is room for more. The Eagles will be a playoff threat, and the big market also helps his appeal. Wentz comes in at +2000, so he isn’t that far behind from some of the big names.
- Russell Wilson (+3400)
- Aaron Rodgers (+1200)
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