2020-21 Betting Futures: NFL MVP Picks
The NFL MVP award is one of the most talked about awards in all of sports, but who is most likely to win it? Can you profit based on the odds now? There is plenty to look at, and we'll start by using the odds from the FanDuel Sportsbook as the starting point to find some favorites and value picks.
When it comes to the NFL MVP award, quarterbacks win it the majority of the time, and it's not particularly close. Since 1961, there have been 57 MVP awards in the NFL, 38 of which have been quarterbacks. Running backs sit in second place with 16 winners. That means quarterbacks have won the award 66% of the time and running backs have won 28%, with the remaining winners being two defensive players and one special teams player. It's very clear quarterbacks dominate the conversation, so that is where we are going to start.
Who Are the Favorites?
For the top-10 betting favorites for the MVP, all 10 are quarterbacks. For the top 15, 14 of them are quarterbacks with one running back. For the top 25, 21 of them are quarterbacks. Things should be evidently clear that we are going to be looking at quarterbacks for this, as they are the overwhelming favorites to win the award.
Lamar Jackson +600
It shouldn't come as a surprise to see Lamar Jackson on this list -- he is the reigning NFL MVP, after all. Jackson was the unanimous MVP selection last season after posting 3,127 passing yards and 36 touchdowns, along with 1,206 rushing yards and 7 rushing touchdowns. It's truly one of the best performances we have seen in recent years, and he was very deserving of the award. The question going forward is, can he repeat as the MVP?
Sitting at +600, Jackson is tied for the second-best odds and is only behind Patrick Mahomes, who is listed at +380. While Mahomes is also a heavy favorite, the odds for Jackson are a bit better, and there is no reason to believe he can't repeat his production from last season. It's reasonable to project Jackson for another year with over 3,000 yards passing, over 1,000 yards rushing and over 40 total touchdowns. I don't want to call him a value option, but +600 is a great price for one of the most productive players in the league.
Russell Wilson +600
Russell Wilson has been an elite quarterback for a number of seasons and has shown to be a quarterback who can win a game on his own. At times, he seems like a one-man army for the Seattle Seahawks and is seemingly always scrambling late in the game to come away with a third-down conversion. Wilson has been amazingly consistent in recent seasons, totaling 3,900 passing yards or more in four of the past five seasons, along with 31 passing touchdowns or more in four of those same five seasons.
Wilson has been in the MVP conversation over the past few seasons but hasn't been able to pull ahead of other candidates. At +600, Wilson's odds are good, and given the level of consistency he has shown in recent years, we can expect him to be right back in the mix this season.
Kyler Murray +2600
Kyler Murray was the Offensive Rookie of the Year last season and has great odds to win the NFL MVP award this season. Murray grabbed 26 votes last season to win the award, with the next player, Josh Jacobs, at just 13 votes. With 3,722 passing yards and 20 touchdowns, Murray lived up to the hype after being the number one overall pick a year ago. Can he take the next step and position himself as an MVP candidate?
It's a well-established fact Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury uses an air raid offense, lending itself to more yards for a quarterback. We know that quarterbacks win the MVP award the majority of the time, and now Murray is in an offense that is highly conducive to production. Combined with the recent addition of elite wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, Murray at +2600 offers plenty of upside, and he's in a position to pile up the stats this coming season.
Christian McCaffrey +5000
What else did Christian McCaffrey have to do last season to win the MVP? I'm not taking anything away from Jackson -- he had an amazing season -- but McCaffrey had a hell of a season as well. He ended with over 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards, becoming the third player ever in NFL history to accomplish that feat. He also set a single-season record with 116 receptions, breaking his record of 108 he set back in 2018.
The Carolina Panthers just signed Teddy Bridgewater to be their starting quarterback, and his profile sets up nicely for McCaffrey. Last season, Bridgewater held a 7.06 yards gained per pass attempt, which would put him at 17th in the league. That lines up with McCaffrey, who averages 8.3 yards per reception. It's not unrealistic to think McCaffrey could be in for yet another amazing 1,000 and 1,000 season, making him one of the best non-quarterback options to win NFL MVP.
Aaron Donald +10000
As noted above, players who are not quarterbacks or running backs rarely -- if ever -- win the MVP. But if any defensive player can do that, it would be Aaron Donald. He comes into this season having two of the past three Defensive Player of the Year Awards and has consistently been among the league leaders in sacks.
The +10000 odds are clearly amazing on Donald, and outside of an offensive player, I keep coming back to Donald as the best option to win the award. He impacts the game on nearly every snap, creates turnovers, and is legitimately one of the best defensive players in the league. If you like long shots, Donald might be the bet for you.