2021 NFL MVP Odds
Last 20 Years
Since 2000, 18 quarterbacks have won the MVP award. Adrian Peterson, LaDainian Tomlinson, Shaun Alexander, and Marshall Faulk were the non-QB names to win the award. After Rodgers winning last year, the award has now gone to a quarterback in eight straight seasons.
There have been a few back-to-back winners, with Peyton Manning doing it twice, Joe Montana, and then Brett Favre won it three years in a row. There is always a talking point of voters not wanting to vote back-to-back MVPs, yet that isn’t necessarily the case if numbers are very similar among quarterbacks.
The Top Names
As mentioned above, quarterbacks reign king here, and Patrick Mahomes is going to be the top name for years to come. His MVP season was back in 2018, where he had 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns. He has not come close to that in the prior two seasons, yet he has over 4,000 yards in each season and then 26 and 38 touchdowns.
With a revamped offensive line and one of the best offensive schemes in football, Mahomes is going to post numbers that mirror 2020, but there is room for more. Games will need to force Mahomes to keep his foot on the gas, and with this division improving, that should help.
There is a lot unknown around Aaron Rodgers right now, who has expressed moving on from the Packers, but that has yet progressed into being an actual reality. He is coming off an MVP season where he posted one of the best seasons of any quarterback.
The possibility of Rodgers leaving seems like a long shot because players getting their way in the NFL isn’t quite the same as the NBA. However, landing on another team and instantly making them a contender could make a back-to-back MVP season very intriguing.
Josh Allen is the name I like a lot among the true frontrunners. I will like his odds a lot more if he can get vaccinated before the season starts, where I know he won’t miss a few games due to protocol. Allen is one of those names where a lot of people are just chalking him up to some regression. Yet, there is still a path where he takes another step forward.
He hit 50 total touchdowns last year but finished behind Rodgers in voting. Buffalo has the third-best Super Bowl odds, and Allen has a chance to shine in some big games. A 13+ win season with this schedule would cement him in the top three again. Allen would fall under my favorite values out of the first 5-6 names, he has excellent preseason odds.
Any Chance For A Running Back?
It always feels unlikely for a running back to win this award. As good and important as Derrick Henry has been the last few years, he’s not ever seriously in the consideration, even though some toss his name around because they want him to be. He is the first running back on the list.
Then it goes McCaffrey, Cook, Barkley, and Chubb. McCaffrey is probably the best candidate to replicate a monster year rushing and receiving to be in the mix, but he would have to carry the Panthers to a strong season. In the era of “running backs don’t matter,” it would still be an uphill climb for him to win the award.
There are just too many potent quarterbacks in the league that mean more to their teams right now. It is unlikely we see the rushing and receiving workload that other winners have seen in the past to produce those types of numbers.
We can start off every year saying if the Chargers stay healthy, they can be a real threat. That is the case again this season, and Justin Herbert is leading the way. Herbert is coming off of a 4,336 and 31 season, where he completed 66% of his passes and also ran for over 200 yards and five touchdowns.
Los Angeles addressed their main issues from last season, which was a horrendous offensive line and then Anthony Lynn. There is going to be a more data-driven approach, from what Brandon Staley has said in the offseason, and that is music to my ears. He is also a top candidate to be Coach of the Year.
Los Angeles has a win total of 9, and I like them to hit the over on that and push them into double digits. While it will be tough to catch the Chiefs for the division, an 11-12 win season and playoff spot would help Herbert a ton. A year two leap is in the works.
Looking a bit deeper, I am going to opt for Joe Burrow over a couple of the other younger quarterbacks deep. Cincinnati improved their offensive line and added Ja’Marr Chase in the draft, Burrow’s WR1 at LSU. This Bengals team should be down a lot, but there are some winnable games on their schedule.
If they surprise in the AFC North and really overshoot their win total, Burrow is going to be the reason why. I love this offense, and Burrow has a real shot to put up monster numbers within it. He will need the wins to follow because that is something that factors in. We might be a year away on this, but +5000 is worth a look this early.
As we get into the season, I will look at some more values and update periodically throughout the year.