Best 2021 NFL MVP Betting Odds
With the growth of legalized gambling, utilizing multiple sportsbooks is easier than ever. Shopping around for the best odds can help maximize your long-term expected value and is an important part of winning sports bettors' mentality. I already outlined the best odds for every team's NFL Win Totals. This article focuses on the MVP award. The MVP market isn’t a bad place to throw a couple of darts as we have seen multiple longer shots hit in recent memory with Patrick Mahomes opening at 100/1 in 2018, Lamar Jackson winning at 100/1 in 2019 and Aaron Rodgers was around 20/1 entering last year. Before we dive into the odds, here are some basic criteria you should look at when betting on a player to win MVP.
- Since 2010, quarterbacks have won 10 out of the 11 years. As the league continues to shift even more pass-heavy, this trend should continue.
- The only running back to be crowned MVP in that time span was Adrian Peterson. He ripped off the second-most rushing yards in NFL history and was the focal point of his team's offense.
Playing on a Good Team Matters
- Focusing on the same time span, every quarterback who won the MVP played on a team that won 11+ games.
- Since the NFL is adjusting to a 17-game schedule, we have to translate this to win percentage rather than a raw number of games—11-of-16 games is 68.75%. With the 17-game season, this translates to 11.68 games. That was also the lowest number as two players’ teams won 12 games, three won 13, two won 14 and two won 15. If we average that we get 13.2.
- We can use upcoming win totals as a guide but it shouldn’t be an end-all-be-all as every year there are middling teams that make a significant jump.
2021 NFL MVP Notes
- Patrick Mahomes is a legitimate favorite in a large-field market such as MVP with his lowest odds at +500. Last season he was sitting at +400 most of the offseason. Although he is the most likely to be named MVP, betting the chalk in a season-long market with so much variance isn’t my favorite way to attack the market.
- Josh Allen’s completion rate, yards per attempt and touchdown rate have risen in two consecutive years, while his interception rate has been halved since his rookie season. This is already reflected in his MVP Odds (+1300), as he has the third-best odds to win the award.
- Matthew Stafford’s move to the Rams is more than reflected in his MVP odds (+1600), as he joins play-calling wunderkind, Sean McVay.
- Dak Prescott threw for 1,690 yards in four games (422 yards per game) before suffering a season-ending injury midway through Dallas' Week 5 game against the Giants. The biggest barrier to him winning the MVP award will be the defense helping the Cowboys win enough games. You could certainly do worse than 18/1.
- Matt Ryan was as high as 100/1 this offseason. The Falcons since added unicorn tight end prospect Kyle Pitts instead of drafting a quarterback of the future. With Arthur Smith in town, a Matt Ryan bounceback is now factored into the market at 33/1.
- Baker Mayfield can be bet at 40/1 to win MVP at William Hill, while he is just 33/1 at DraftKings.
- Most of the middle-tier market is priced similarly, outside of two running backs—Christian McCaffrey and Derrick Henry. Henry is 50/1 on DraftKings but 30/1 at William Hill. McCaffery is 50/1 at SugarHouse but 40/1 at William Hill. Regardless, you shouldn’t be betting on a running back to win MVP.
- Trevor Lawrence has the highest odds to win MVP among all rookie quarterbacks at 80/1. Only one rookie has ever won MVP—Jim Brown in 1957. Despite Lawrence being uber-talented, take your money elsewhere.
- Jameis Winston (60/1 to win MVP) is presumed to be the starter over Taysom Hill (150/1 to win MVP) but similar assumptions were made last season during the year. With a nine-win total, whoever winds up starting for the Saints could be a reasonable long shot.
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