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Allen, Mahomes Sit Atop 2022 NFL MVP Odds

The 2021 NFL season was one of the most exciting in recent memory, up to and including a Super Bowl that came down to the final two minute of the game. We are now into the offseason, though, and the pages continue to turn and move forward to 2022. One fo the pages we landed on over the weekend was the first round of odds for the NVP award in 2022, which is always an interesting pile of tea leaves to sift through.

Unfortunately, in Houston, the only current Texan to find his way onto the MVP odds board is being sued by 22 women, has a massive criminal investigation open against him, and if he is absolved of all of those things, he no longer ants to play for the team. Indeed, Deshaun Watson sits at 40/1 on the MVP odds board, and that’s without knowing even IF or FOR WHOM he is going to play football next season.

A bet on Watson is a bet on so much more than his physical football talent — it’s a bet on the legal system, a bet on Roger Goodell’s conduct policy whims, and a bet on the strength of the human psyche when a person has been banished from work for over a year. It’s a fascinating bet. For the record, here is the complete set of NFL MVP odds, courtesy of BetOnline.ag:

Josh Allen  6/1
Patrick Mahomes  15/2
Aaron Rodgers  9/1
Dak Prescott  12/1
Joe Burrow  12/1
Justin Herbert  16/1
Kyler Murray  16/1
Lamar Jackson  16/1
Matthew Stafford  16/1
Russell Wilson  20/1
Derrick Henry  28/1
Jonathan Taylor  28/1
Cooper Kupp  33/1
Derek Carr  33/1
Deebo Samuel  40/1
Deshaun Watson  40/1
Jalen Hurts  40/1
Mac Jones  40/1
Trey Lance  40/1
Kirk Cousins  50/1
Baker Mayfield  66/1
Ja’Marr Chase  80/1
Trevor Lawrence  80/1
Alvin Kamara  100/1
Austin Ekeler  100/1
Carson Wentz  100/1
Christian McCaffrey  100/1
Dalvin Cook  100/1
Davante Adams  100/1
Jameis Winston  100/1
Jimmy Garoppolo  100/1
Justin Fields  100/1
Matt Ryan  100/1
Myles Garrett  100/1
Nick Chubb  100/1
Ryan Tannehill  100/1
T.J. Watt  100/1
Tua Tagovailoa  100/1

Here are a few other 2022 MVP related thoughts:

Watson isn’t the only QB in a mysterious situation
It’s not just Deshaun Watson who is in a situation where his odds could greatly swing once he finds a new home. There are several others, chief among them the current two time reigning MVP, Aaron Rodgers. Currently, he sits at 9/1 on the board. It looks like he SHOULD be back in Green Bay next season, but if he is traded, he could easily wind up in Denver or any of three or four other places. Other names who are in situations that are at least a little questionable include Kyler Murray in Arizona, Russell Wilson in Seattle, Kirk Cousins in Minnesota, and Carson went in Indianapolis.

Does the “rookie contract QB” theory hold up in this race?
There was a three-year period, from 2017 through 2019, where the smartest bets were all second year quarterbacks. In 2017, Wentz would have won the award if he hadn’t suffered a knee injury late in the season. (Tom Brady ended up taking it instead.) In 2018 and 2019, the MVPs were Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson, respectively, each in his second season in the league at the time. Rodgers’ reign the last couple seasons has kind of trumped that theory, but if you think that “young QB” theory is a good way to identify value, then I would recommend Justin Herbert at 16/1. A lot of people will be on Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow, but I think the Bengals might take a step back from their Super Bowl run a year ago.

Who’s the best non-quarterback choice?
The MVO has become essentially a quarterback’s award, with Offensive Player of the Year morphing into the de facto “non-QB” MVP award. Along those lines, it’s always interesting to see how far down the list you have to go before you get to a non-quarterback. On this odds board, there are ten quarterbacks listed before we get to a non-QB, with running backs Derrick Henry and Jonathan Taylor checking in at 28/1.

Each of them was in the MVP race of the last two seasons, respectively, with Henry rushing for over 2,000 yards in 2020, and Jonatha Taylor winning the rushing title this past season in 2021. Next on the board is Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp, who actually received an MVP vote in 2022. It will be tough for someone other than a quarterback to win it in this space age passing era we now live in, but Taylor and Kupp are decent choices.

Who are the most glaring omissions?
There is no choice on the board for “Field” (gambling parlance for “guys not listed on here”), but if there were, and I were to choose it, I would be banking on any of the following three players having huge seasons. First, Dallas do-everything-on-defense superstar Micah Parsons, who was the Defensive Rookie of the Year this past season, could make a great case if he has a similar season in 2022, and the Cowboys finish at the top of the NFC.

Second, DeAndre Hopkins, remember him, Texan fans? Hopkins missed most of the last two months of the season, while the Cardinals regular season turned from dark horse Super Bowl contender to non-threatening wild card team. In fact, after their 7-1 start, Hopkins played in just two games, had a total of seven catches, and the Cardinals finished on a 4-5 run, including 1-3 over the final month.

Finally, I still think there’s an outside chance Tom Brady plays this coming season. He was the runner-up for the MVP in 2021, so it would stand to reason he could make a run, if he plays, in 2022.

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.




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