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Stafford worth a play for MVP

By Jason Weingarten  (VSiN.com) 

weingarten

As we’re into NFL Week 3, let’s take an early look at league awards. 

 

Most Valuable Player

 

DraftKings 

Patrick Mahomes + 550

Tom Brady + 750

Kyler Murray + 750

Russell Wilson + 1200

Matthew Stafford + 1200

Josh Allen + 1400

Dak Prescott + 1400

Lamar Jackson + 1400

Aaron Rodgers + 1600

Justin Herbert + 2500

Derek Carr + 2500

Baker Mayfield + 3500

Teddy Bridgewater + 3500

Derrick Henry + 6500

 

Circa

Patrick Mahomes + 400

Tom Brady + 800

Matthew Stafford + 800

Russell Wilson + 800

Kyler Murray + 800

Josh Allen + 1000

Dak Prescott + 1500

Lamar Jackson + 1500

Aaron Rodgers + 2000

Derrick Henry + 2500

Justin Herbert + 4000

Derek Carr + 4000

Teddy Bridgewater + 4000

 

FanDuel

Patrick Mahomes + 500

Tom Brady + 600

Kyler Murray + 600

Matthew Stafford + 1000

Aaron Rodgers + 1200

Josh Allen + 1300

Dak Prescott + 1400

Russell Wilson + 1400

Lamar Jackson + 1600

Justin Herbert + 2000

Derek Carr + 2000

Baker Mayfield + 5000

Teddy Bridgewater + 6000

Derrick Henry + 6500

 

I look through all the available odds for NFL awards markets when searching for the best numbers. Besides DraftKings, Circa and FanDuel, I also usually check the Superbook and BetMGM to spot any noticeable or compelling price differences. When it comes to NFL player futures, Circa tends to have the most accurate numbers besides my own, so I use Circa often for reference and comparisons. 

 

NFL MVP is always a pretty top-heavy market, and when you have Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes performing well, it will always be a game of “find the long shot” to detect any real value. Kyler Murray was 40-1 last offseason for MVP. Now that he has ascended to the top tier, most of his value has evaporated, as he’s under 10-1 everywhere. Josh Allen is probably the best option of all the guys with low-double-digit odds, but that’s not good enough for me. 

 

Last week I bet $500 on Matthew Stafford at 10-1 at Circa to win the MVP. This week I’m betting Stafford again at + 1200 at DraftKings. The attention will always be on Mahomes and Brady, but Stafford is hanging right there with them. This weekend the Bucs travel to Los Angeles to play the Rams. A win by the Rams would likely drop Stafford’s odds again, and I’d like to get ahead of that. 

 

Aaron Rodgers’ odds have moved around, and there is a lack of consensus about his MVP chances through two games. Last week Rodgers was as high as 30-1 at Circa while the Packers were 0-1. But after throwing four touchdown passes in a win over the Lions, Circa has come back with 20-1, still the highest price on the market. It’s not a great sign that Circa has the highest price on Rodgers, and it might be tempting to a lot of people to get 20-1 on him, but he’s still a pass for me at that price. I’d rather bet more on Stafford or Teddy Bridgewater.

 

My best MVP bet before the season was Bridgewater at 150-1, and I’m pretty happy to see his odds have been cut by more than half. The Broncos have started 2-0 on the road and come home this weekend to play the Jets. Bridgewater has completed 77.1 percent of his passes with four touchdowns and zero interceptions. I wouldn’t get too excited; those two wins were against the Giants and Jaguars. But it’s a good start. 

 

What interests me most about Bridgewater and the Broncos is they have a favorable schedule over the next eight weeks, with back-to-back home games against the Jets and Ravens followed by a six-game alternating away-home schedule going into their bye in Week 11. They then play five of their six division games against the Chiefs, Raiders and Chargers in Weeks 12-18, including Week 18 at home against the Chiefs. If you haven’t bet Bridgewater and have access to FanDuel at + 6000, I’d grab it. Even better, the Superbook still has him at + 8000. 

 

Offensive Rookie of the Year 

DraftKings

Mac Jones + 350

Trevor Lawrence + 550

Justin Fields + 600

Najee Harris + 800

Ja’Marr Chase + 1000

Trey Lance + 1000

Devonta Smith + 1600

Zach Wilson + 1800

Davis Mills + 3500

Rashawn Slater + 6500

 

Circa

Mac Jones + 240

Trevor Lawrence + 500

Justin Fields + 650

Najee Harris + 700

Kyle Pitts + 1200

Zach Wilson + 1200

Rondale Moore + 1500

Elijah Mitchell + 2000

Ja’Marr Chase + 2000

Trey Lance + 2200

Devonta Smith + 2500

Davis Mills + 3000

Rashawn Slater Unlisted

 

FanDuel

Mac Jones + 300

Justin Fields + 400

Trevor Lawrence + 700

Trey Lance + 8500

Najee Harris + 1200

Ja’Marr Chase + 1200

Zach Wilson + 1200

DeVonta Smith + 1600

Rondale More + 2500

Elijah Mitchell + 2500

Rashawn Slater + 10000

Davis Mills Unlisted

 

BetMGM

Mac Jones + 300

Justin Fields + 400

Trevor Lawrence + 750

Trey Lance + 900

Zach Wilson + 1200

Ja’Marr Chase + 1400

Najee Harris + 1400

Devonta Smith + 1600

Kyle Pitts + 2500

Rondale Moore + 3000

Davis Mills + 4000

Elijah Mitchell + 5000

Rashawn Slater + 8000

 

Offensive Rookie of the Year is an interesting market, as you can see from the numbers. You could build a portfolio of players at excellent numbers across multiple books. I’ll highlight some of the best prices and my reasoning. I added five OROY bets this week, risking 1x on each (one unit = $500). 

 

Trey Lance (22-1) at Circa risking 1x. I liked Lance before the season when he was about 7-1, but I don’t necessarily see a path to early playing time. I do think it’s possible that he’s in the lineup sooner rather than later, and with the other top quarterbacks not doing anything special so far, I’m happy to bet Lance at 22-1.

 

Trevor Lawrence (7-1) risking 1x. Lawrence has looked pedestrian through two games. He has four touchdown passes and five interceptions, which is not great and definitely not going to cut it long term in the Offensive Rookie of the Year race. Still, 7-1 is a high price for the No. 1 pick and top quarterback in the draft. Lawrence and Urban Meyer still have time to turn the Jaguars’ season around. 

 

Davis Mills (40-1) risking 1x. I think 40-1 is an excellent price on a rookie quarterback who has a starting job due to injury. That’s double the price of Zach Wilson, who’s coming off a four-interception game. I haven’t been impressed with anything I’ve seen from Wilson or the Jets, and I’d much rather take a shot on Mills at 40-1. Mills will be the Texans’ starter for the next few weeks, and there’s no guarantee Tyrod Taylor will get it back when he’s healthy. We’ll know within a week or two whether Mills is a viable NFL starting quarterback and whether this is a viable bet. 

 

Elijah Mitchell (50-1) risking 1x. Mitchell was not at all on my radar for OROY, but 50-1 is about where I start to get interested in non-quarterbacks. From my experience betting this market, I don’t think position players under 40-1 have much value. But occasionally a running back who gets playing time will present some value at a big number. Mitchell could be that type of player, so I’ll take a shot at 50-1. 

 

Rashawn Slater (100-1) risking .5x. Slater was actually 200-1 earlier, but I think it’s still worth a small play at 100-1. No offensive lineman has ever won Offensive Rookie of the Year, and it’s unlikely to happen this season, but that didn’t stop me from making a small bet on Slater last week and again this week. On 94 pass-blocking snaps over the first two games, Slater has allowed zero sacks, and if the Chargers make the playoffs, it will be behind strong offensive line play. 

 

I asked Circa to post odds on Slater, which surprisingly declined. When I asked why, I was told, “We only post numbers on guys who touch the ball.” Then I asked, “What happens if he wins?” And the reply was, “Our sportsbook director will resign.” I bet it at FanDuel instead, and we’ll see in January if there’s an opening at Circa for a sportsbook director. 

 

Division Bet 

 

Broncos to win AFC West (+ 500) at FanDuel, risking 1x. I bet $500 on the Broncos to win the AFC West at + 500 at FanDuel this week. The next-best number I saw was + 475 at Circa, which is also acceptable. The Broncos have started the season 2-0 with back-to-back road wins and now get to play the Jets at home. They also have an advantageous schedule. I’m not totally sold on the Raiders, and the Ravens and Bucs have shown there are ways to beat the Chiefs. Unless you are Tom Brady, you don’t just win every year in the NFL forever, and I think 5-1 with an early one-game lead over the Chiefs is a fine price to back the Broncos.

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