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Smooth sailing for Mahomes in MVP race

By Jason Weingarten  () 

NFL MVP odds

Circa

Patrick Mahomes -125

Aaron Rodgers + 400

Russell Wilson + 450

Kyler Murray + 1400

Ben Roethlisberger + 1400

DraftKings

Patrick Mahomes -125

Russell Wilson + 300

Aaron Rodgers + 500

Kyler Murray + 1400

Ben Roethlisberger + 1600

FanDuel

Patrick Mahomes -125

Russell Wilson + 350

Aaron Rodgers + 500

Kyler Murray + 1400

Ben Roethlisberger + 2000

Patrick Mahomes is now the odds-on favorite everywhere to win the NFL’s Most Valuable Player Award, and he deserves to be. Mahomes is the best player on the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs (9-1), he’s leading the NFL in passing yards and he’s third in passing touchdowns with 27 behind Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson. 

 

It’s a three-way race with Mahomes ahead of Rodgers and Wilson, and I agree most with Circa’s MVP numbers, which have Rodgers second behind Mahomes. I will briefly break down the case for and against each player.

Mahomes

Case for: 9-1 record, 27-2 touchdowns/interceptions, leading NFL in passing yards with 3,035, likely division winner and at worst probably No. 2 seed in the AFC playoffs. How many more games do the Chiefs lose in the regular season? One? None? It will be hard to give the MVP to anyone else if the Chiefs finish 14-2 or better.  

Case against: None, really. Maybe he gets hurt like Joe Burrow. Or maybe the Chiefs lose their last six games. Unlikely, but I’m not going to call Mahomes the winner just yet. 

Rodgers 

Case for: 7-3 record, 29-4 touchdowns/interceptions, fifth in NFL in passing yards (2,889), likely division winner. Best win was against the Saints in Week 3 when Rodgers threw for 283 yards on 21-of-32 passing with three touchdowns. 

Case against: Three losses, including ugly 38-10 defeat against the Bucs in Week 5 when Rodgers went 16 of 35 for 160 yards with two interceptions. The Bucs scored 38 unanswered points after the Packers had taken a 10-0 lead. The Packers have beaten up on bad teams with wins over the Lions, Falcons, Texans, 49ers and Jaguars. Rodgers’ numbers are nice, but watching the Packers fold against better competition makes me hesitant to seriously consider Rodgers for the MVP. I think the Packers will have to finish 6-0 and 13-3 overall for Rodgers to get serious consideration. 

Wilson

Case for: Second in passing yards with 2,986. Wilson’s 30 touchdown passes lead the NFL. The Seahawks’ 7-3 record ties the Rams at the top of the NFC West. The schedule is very easy, including games against the Eagles, Giants, Jets and Washington. The Seahawks will likely be 11-3 going into their final two games against the Rams and 49ers. 

Case against: The Seahawks might end up being a wild card. Wilson’s 10 interceptions are more than Mahomes and Rodgers combined. I also just kind of laugh at the idea of offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer coaching an MVP quarterback. I don’t see Wilson winning the MVP over Rodgers or Mahomes without a division title.

This week I’m betting $625 more to win $500 on Mahomes to win the MVP at -125. This is my fourth bet on Mahomes this season, and I now have $1,750 on Mahomes to win the MVP to win $5,250. 

Division odds

This week I wanted to bet the Rams to win the NFC West at the best number I could find, but that was + 110, and I think the Rams-Seahawks game in Week 16 will likely decide the division winner. I’d rather wait until then to bet the Rams on the road. 

The Cowboys to win the NFC East is + 250 at DraftKings and + 220 at Circa, and I’m grabbing the Cowboys to win the NFC East at + 250, risking $500. The Eagles lead the NFC East at 3-6-1, with the rest of the division at 3-7. The Cowboys play Washington on Thanksgiving. A win would put them back in the hunt for a division title. 

The final four weeks of the schedule have the Cowboys facing the Bengals on the road, followed by the 49ers and the Eagles at home and the Giants on the road to end the season. Meanwhile, the Eagles finish against the Seahawks, at the Packers, vs. the Saints, at the Cardinals, at the Cowboys and vs. Washington. I think the Cowboys will win the NFC East. 

Offensive Rookie of the Year

Circa

Justin Herbert -390

Tua Tagovailoa + 695

Justin Jefferson + 1200

James Robinson + 2000

Clyde Edwards-Helaire + 3000

Chase Claypool + 5000

Antonio Gibson + 6000

FanDuel

Justin Herbert -900

Justin Jefferson + 900

Tua Tagovailoa + 1000

Chase Claypool + 1700

Clyde Edwards-Helaire + 3000

James Robinson + 3800

Antonio Gibson + 5000

DraftKings

No odds posted

This has been a very good rookie class. But no rookie has performed as well as Justin Herbert. He has thrown 22 touchdown passes with six interceptions in nine starts. He is second behind Mahomes in yards per game with 299.9 compared with Mahomes’ 303.5, and he is ninth in total passing yards. Herbert is also leading the NFL in average depth of his touchdown passes at 20.6 yards, better than Wilson’s 17.7 and Murray’s 16.7. 

If the 2020 class were redrafted today, Herbert would likely go first overall. Last week against the Jets Herbert was 9 of 11 on third down and led all quarterbacks on third-down passing yardage and touchdowns with three. If you don’t understand why Herbert’s odds are so high, just look up the video of his second-half touchdown pass to Keenan Allen last week.

The only thing standing in Herbert’s way is a serious injury or possibly Tua Tagovailoa going supernova and the Dolphins finishing the season with six straight wins. But Tagovailoa got pulled in Sunday’s loss to the Broncos. Even though he is 3-1 as a starter, he has yet to have a real showcase game. His best performance was 248 passing yards and two touchdowns, completing 20 of 28 passes against the Cardinals. Good but not great, and certainly not as good as Herbert’s starts have been. 

Besides quarterbacks, Chase Claypool and Justin Jefferson will likely round out the runner-up votes. Claypool has 10 touchdowns in 10 games for the 10-0 Steelers, but he also had a game with minus-1 receiving yards, and that won’t win a wide receiver the award over an elite starting quarterback.

Jefferson is grading out weekly as a top-5 wide receiver, and his 45 receptions and 848 yards through 10 games have definitely exceeded expectations. But he has only four touchdowns, and he’s on a 4-6 team that’s unlikely to make the playoffs. I don’t see how anyone could possibly vote for Jefferson over Herbert. I wouldn’t bet Jefferson unless his odds got closer to 40-1 or 50-1.

Edwards-Helaire’s odds dropped from 100-1 to 30-1 this week, and he’s seventh in the NFL in rushing yards. But his four rushing touchdowns and 65.5 yards-per-game average are pedestrian compared with other rookies. I’m not sure Edwards-Helaire is better than undrafted rookie James Robinson, who’s third in the NFL in rushing yards. 

If you bet Herbert already and have access to Circa’s odds in Nevada or Colorado, it is offering yes/no odds on Offensive Rookie of the Year vs. the Field. Herbert is -390 vs. the Field at + 290. If you are worried Herbert won’t win, you can hedge some risk by taking the Field at + 290. 

Comeback Player of the Year

I see odds on the Comeback Player of the Year market only at FanDuel. Alex Smith is -650 to win, and I think that number is missing a zero. I don’t see how anyone else gets serious consideration, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a unanimous vote. If you have access to FanDuel and are willing to lock up money until the night before the Super Bowl, there are worse investments than laying -650 on Smith. 

Recap

$625 to win $500 on Mahomes to win MVP

$500 to win $1,250 on Cowboys to win NFC East 

All the NFL bets I’ve made are listed here. I have bet a total of $6,375 in NFL futures this season. 

Previous week’s NFL bets

MVP

$250 to win $750 on Mahomes 

$500 to win $2,750 on Mahomes 

$500 to win $1,250 on Mahomes 

$300 to win $30,000 on Derrick Henry 

Offensive Rookie of the Year

$1,000 to win $15,000 on Herbert 

$500 to win $1,375 on Joe Burrow 

$500 to win $3,500 on Herbert 

$200 to win $5,000 on Claypool 

$250 to win $2,750 on Edwards-Helaire 

$250 to win $3,500 on Tagovailoa 

Defensive Player of the Year 

$500 to win $4,250 on Myles Garrett 

$500 to win $1,500 on Aaron Donald

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