Before taking a deeper dive into some of the available player futures, including a new NFL MVP bet at 100-1, let’s look at the World Series. For purposes of this column, one unit is equal to $500.
The Dodgers were -160 favorites in Game 1, and I expect them to be bigger favorites in Games 2-4. Using -160 for all four games, I get a price of just under 6-1. I’m betting one unit on a Dodgers World Series sweep + 775 at DraftKings.
World Series MVP
Mookie Betts + 800
Corey Seager + 1200
Betts made the most important defensive play of the NLCS in Game 6. He would have been the series MVP if Seager hadn’t set a major-league record with five home runs and 11 RBIs. Betts and Seager bat 1-2 at the top of the lineup. Instead of looking for long shots, I’m just grabbing the Dodgers’ two best players at the best numbers I could find, which again happened to be at DraftKings. I am betting Betts and Seager risking one unit each.
The Seahawks and Russell Wilson had a bye last week, but Wilson’s MVP odds shortened without playing and he’s now -130 at BetMGM and -125 at DraftKings. Wilson still deserves to be the leader, and it’s Wilson vs. the field until further notice.
Patrick Mahomes rebounded from a home loss to the Raiders with a nice 26-17 road win over the Bills. The Mahomes-led Chiefs offense has scored at least 23 points in 41 of his 42 starts. The best MVP price I can find on Mahomes is + 550 at BetMGM, and I’m going to take a shot on Mahomes at that price. Mahomes will be in the conversation all season.
The Packers and Aaron Rodgers were exposed on the road against the Bucs’ defense. Rodgers deserves consideration, but he’s overpriced below + 1000, and I don’t think the Packers will win enough for Rodgers to jump Wilson or Mahomes.
Lamar Jackson is a guy I’m not interested in at + 1600. And I’m not interested in Ben Roethlisberger in the + 2000s either. Josh Allen might as well be 100-1 at this point. Tom Brady probably will be on a playoff team, but he’s not playing like an MVP quarterback. Going 17-for-27 for 166 yards and two touchdowns against the Packers is nice, but that’s not winning Brady the MVP.
I’ll highlight two guys I think have a chance to force their way into the MVP conversation, Cardinals QB Kyler Murray and Titans RB Derrick Henry.
I bet Murray to win MVP at 44-1 during the offseason. He’s currently available at 33-1 at DraftKings and as high as 40-1 at BetMGM. The Cardinals are 4-2 and about to face Wilson’s Seahawks this weekend. A win would put the Cardinals at 5-2 going into their bye week with a shot at nine or 10 wins and a playoff spot. Murray was 9-for-24 for 188 yards and two touchdowns Monday night against the Cowboys and rushed 10 times for 74 yards and another TD. Nine completions in 24 passing is not the type of line you expect from an MVP candidate, but it’s slightly misleading. It was 21-3 at halftime, and the game was well into garbage time by the start of the fourth quarter. Murray’s MVP campaign starts and potentially ends Sunday against the Seahawks. If you think the Cardinals can upset the undefeated 3.5-point favorites, I'd grab a Murray MVP ticket at 40-1.
Henry is the NFL’s leading rusher with 588 yards. He is first in carries, second in touchdowns and leads the league in yards per game at 117.6, almost 20 ahead of second-place Dalvin Cook. Henry has not fumbled and leads the league with 29 rushing first downs. He also has the longest rush from scrimmage at 94 yards. The 6-0 Titans are two-point underdogs against the Steelers this weekend, and a win would push up Henry in the MVP standings. If any non-quarterback will win, it probably will be Henry. I was lucky to grab Henry to win MVP at 100-1 for $300. The best number I could find after “Monday Night Football” was 40-1 at BetMGM, which I still think is all right. A Titans win this weekend will drop Henry under 20-1.
Offensive Rookie of the Year
Obviously the biggest news of the week is that Tua Tagovailoa is replacing Ryan Fitzpatrick as the Dolphins’ starting quarterback. Tagovailoa had drifted as high as 50-1 at DraftKings and FanDuel last week. The second-biggest news was the Chiefs’ signing of Le’Veon Bell, which should hurt Clyde Edwards-Helaire the most. But Bell was inactive Monday, and Edwards-Helaire responded with 26 carries for 161 yards and is now second in the NFL with 505 rushing yards.
FanDuel (last week’s number in parentheses)
Herbert + 155 (+ 125)
Burrow + 260 (+ 260)
Jefferson + 750 (+ 1500)
Edwards-Helaire + 900 (+ 700)
Claypool + 1100 (+ 2300)
Lamb + 1400 (+ 1500)
Tagovailoa + 1400 (+ 5000)
Taylor + 1800 (+ 1500)
DraftKings (last week’s number in parentheses)
Herbert + 125 (+ 120)
Burrow + 200 (+ 175)
Jefferson + 700 (+ 2500)
Tagovailoa + 1000 (+ 5000)
Claypool + 1100 (+ 2500)
Edwards-Helaire + 1100 (+ 700)
Taylor + 1600 (+ 1600)
Lamb + 2500 (+ 1600)
Let’s go through the top eight guys and then break down what I think is most likely to happen.
CeeDee Lamb: I don’t agree with FanDuel dropping Lamb from + 1500 to + 1400. The downgrade from Dak Prescott to Andy Dalton is significant, and the fact that the Cowboys are at best a .500 team makes it hard to see how Lamb maintains a serious case. His numbers of 36/497/2 are good but not good enough.
Jonathan Taylor: He has 367 rushing yards and three TDs. His only 100-yard rushing game came in Week 2 against the Vikings. He might break 1,000 rushing yards, but a lack of contribution in the passing game will doom his chances.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire: He was supposed to lose playing time when the Chiefs signed Bell but responded with his best game of the season. His 505 rushing yards are good for second in the NFL right now, and it puts Edwards-Helaire on pace for well over 1,000 yards on the season. Only one rushing touchdown hurts his case, but Edwards-Helaire has the best shot of any rookie running back. I’m going to add a .5-unit bet on Edwards-Helaire at + 1100 at DraftKings.
Chase Claypool: His odds got cut in half again this week, and I’m not surprised. He scored another touchdown and could easily have had two more. Claypool has two rushing and four receiving touchdowns. The potential for double-digit touchdowns makes him a contender. If you haven’t grabbed him, this is likely your last chance to get him under 10-1.
Tua Tagovailoa: A surprise move into the starting lineup this week has dropped Tagovailoa’s odds from 50-1 to 10-1 at DraftKings and 14-1 at FanDuel. The Dolphins have a bye, and when they return Nov. 1, the Rams will present a formidable test for the rookie’s first start. The Dolphins’ next three games are against the Rams, at the Cardinals and then vs. the Chargers in Miami. In Week 10 we’ll get to see Justin Herbert go head to head with Tagovailoa, and then in Week 13 Tagovailoa will face Joe Burrow and the Bengals. He’ll have 10 games to showcase himself, but he has a lot of catching up to do. But the Dolphins play the Chargers, Bengals and Chiefs, so he will get a chance to showcase his game against the other major offensive rookie contenders. I think we’ll have another week to build a position on Tagovailoa with the Dolphins on a bye, but I’m adding a .5-unit bet on Tagovailoa at + 1400 at FanDuel.
Justin Jefferson: The highest-graded receiver in Week 6, he’s fifth in the NFL in receiving yards. Jefferson is tied with Calvin Ridley and CeeDee Lamb for the most receiving plays of at least 20 yards with 10. He is putting together a great rookie season, possibly the most complete overall effort by any rookie WR this year. But he’s playing on a 1-5 team, and I think he’s overpriced at + 750. I’m not touching him at less than 40-1. A.J. Brown finished third last year on a playoff team when he put up comparable numbers.
Joe Burrow: Leading the Bengals to a 1-3-1 record and projected to throw for over 4,000 yards, Burrow is not having a bad rookie season. He’s just not having a great one. For example, he has thrown zero touchdown passes the last two weeks. And he has been sacked 24 times, second behind Carson Wentz's 25. I bet Burrow to have the most regular-season passing yards at 65-1 preseason, and that number is down to 23-1 at FanDuel and 33-1 at DraftKings. I don’t think Burrow will lead the NFL in passing yards, but I don’t think he’s going to be the top offensive rookie either. Kyler Murray won last year with a 5-10-1 record, and Burrow will have a chance to make his case with three games left against Washington, the Giants and the Cowboys, as well as his matchup against Tagovailoa.
Justin Herbert: He’s the favorite at FanDuel and DraftKings. He has thrown for 1,195 yards and nine TD passes with three interceptions in four starts. Hurting Herbert’s case is he hasn’t won a game in the NFL yet. He’s 0-4 as a starter, as the Chargers’ win over Joe Burrow and the Bengals came with Tyrod Taylor starting. The good news for the Chargers is they have one of the easiest schedules left and get the Jaguars at home this weekend, which is a great opportunity for Herbert to get his first win. The Chargers are 1-4 overall and 0-4 with Herbert starting, with all four losses by seven or fewer points. Herbert and the Chargers will need at least five wins in their final 11 games for Herbert to win the award, but he should maintain his favorite’s status unless he has an absolutely terrible game against the Jaguars or next weekend at Denver. Week 10 at Miami against Tagovailoa will be Herbert’s big test.
Defensive Player of the Year
This week FanDuel has Aaron Donald + 400 and Myles Garrett + 450. T.J. Watt and Khalil Mack are the only other players under 20-1 at + 700 and + 750, respectively. DraftKings has Donald + 300, Garrett + 400, Mack + 450 and Watt + 500, with nobody else under 25-1. I’m sticking with my bets on Donald and Garrett, but it’s nice to see Garrett drop to where he should have been two weeks ago.
This Week’s Bets Recap
$500 to win $3,875 on Dodgers World Series price 4-0
$500 to win $4,000 on Mookie Betts World Series MVP
$500 to win $6,000 on Corey Seager World Series MVP
$500 to win $2,750 on Patrick Mahomes MVP
$300 to win $30,000 on Derrick Henry MVP
$250 to win $2,750 on Clyde Edwards-Helaire OROY
$250 to win $3,500 on Tua Tagovailoa OROY
I still have about $14,000 of MLB player futures that will settle after the World Series. Last week I made $1,000 on the Dodgers when I bet the series price at + 200 down 0-2 against the Braves. I am now down $2,265 on MLB futures.
This week I bet $1,300 in new NFL futures and have a total of $4,750 in NFL futures. I am now not only a big Justin Herbert fan but a Tennessee Titans fan as well.