NFL MVP Odds: Do Any Longshots Have A Legitimate Chance?
There’s still more than 70 days until the 2023 NFL season — with Chiefs odds and Lions odds in the spotlight for the Thursday Night Kickoff on Sept. 7. But this period also means bettors have a surplus of time to dive into futures markets, including NFL MVP odds. With that in mind, let’s break down one longshot wager to consider, beyond the favorites of Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert and Jalen Hurts.
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Historical Context For The Award
Betting odds have been quite friendly to longshot candidates in this market over the last decade. Below are the NFL MVP winners since 2013. Among them, Matt Ryan (+7500) possessed the biggest price tag in 2016, holding off Tom Brady by four votes, while Cam Newton and Lamar Jackson were both longer than +4000 before Week 1.
NFL bettors, who didn’t cash the Ryan ticket, are far more likely remember the gambling outcome of Super Bowl LI. That’s because Falcons backers suffered arguably the all-time worst bad beat, failing to cover the point spread after leading 28-3 midway through the third quarter.
Adrian Peterson (+4000) was one of the premier running backs in NFL history. He just barely missed the cut over this span. He’s the only tailback to win the award in the last 16 seasons.
A name like Christian McCaffrey may garner some interest, thanks to both his duel-threat worth in the 49ers’ offense and odds. However, the implied probability for a player at his position to obtain the trophy is baked into the number (0.50%).
Does Giants QB Daniel Jones Have MVP Potential?
Several Giants odds surpassed expectations last season, including their win total and the 2023 NFL Coach of the Year award. I targeted them on my futures card, pointing to the coaching upgrade as a significant factor. Despite getting trounced in the divisional round by the Eagles, they rewarded season-long bettors by cashing their postseason odds. That and their win total were offered at plus-money prices.
In Jones’ first season under ex-Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, he manufactured a top-10 EPA per play and completion percentage over expected (CPOE) among qualified quarterbacks in the regular season. His 11 total turnovers were the fewest over his four-year career in the pros, too.
With that refinement came more of a game-manager role, as New York ranked just outside of the top 10 in percentage of rushing plays. Then again, Jones also delivered in that area, amounting the fifth-most rushing yards among signal callers. He finished behind Justin Fields, the aforementioned Jackson, Allen, and Hurts in that department.
Granted, Jones isn’t going to post Jackson-like numbers on the ground. But he’s already in the ballpark of Newton’s output in 2015, making him an appealing option because of his multi-dimensional role. Hurts, who fits a similar mold, was in the conversation for much of 2022 before suffering a shoulder injury in late December.
Therefore, there’s a greater range of extreme outcomes for Jones than Jordan Love, Brock Purdy, Derek Carr, Kenny Pickett, Kirk Cousins, Trey Lance or Mac Jones — all of whom possess similar or shorter odds than Jones. This notion is part of what makes him an alluring longshot bet in Daboll’s high-ceiling offense.
Talent Surrounding Jones
New York elevated its skill position pieces, including former Raiders tight end Darren Waller to pair with Daniel Bellinger. Outside of tenured Giants tailback Saquon Barkley, there aren’t any headline-worthy names.
Nevertheless, upside exists in Wan’Dale Robinson, who suffered a torn ACL in his rookie campaign. They even added a pair of vertical threats in third-round pick Jalin Hyatt and Paris Campbell while still possessing the steady Isaiah Hodgins and Darius Slayton.
Regarding the Giants’ offensive line, only the Chargers and Vikings allowed more total pressures last season. There’s reason to believe that Jones will inherit better protection, though. Not only did Big Blue add rookie second-round center John Michael Schmitz, but right tackle Evan Neal could end up making a similar leap to Andrew Thomas in his second season.
Buy Into The Giants — Collectively?
The NFC is unquestionably worse than its counterpart. Couple that with the Eagles avoiding any sort of major injuries, which is an unlikely to sustain itself in consecutive seasons, amid their run to the Super Bowl. Hence, there may be room for variance at the top of the food chain, especially if the Giants’ run defense improves.
Should offseason acquisitions Bobby Okereke and A’Shawn Robinson pay off, it’s a fair assumption that New York could ascend.
Now, one could argue that the Cowboys showcase the most appealing alternative NFL win totals in the NFC. That also speaks to promise of the division — beyond the Commanders. Jalen Hurts and Dak Prescott showcase NFL MVP odds in the teens to boot.
But the point of this exercise revolves around a longshot. Jones is a worthy candidate of a small dart throw in that regard.
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