Tom Brady opened the season as one of the favorites in 2022 NFL MVP odds. Brady was as low as +800 at BetMGM on Aug. 9. He was tied for the second favorite with Patrick Mahomes. The favorite at the time was Josh Allen at +700.
Brady’s odds have since shifted to +4000, after losing to the Packers and Chiefs in Week 3 and Week 4, respectively. Does he still have a path to win the award, and if so, are those odds worth betting?
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WHY BRADY COULD STILL WIN THE MVP
Strength Of Schedule
The Bucs have the easiest remaining schedule in this season. They play the Steelers, Panthers twice, Ravens, Rams, Seahawks, Browns, Saints, 49ers, Bengals, Cardinals, and Falcons. Brady’s MVP odds have plummeted but given the remaining strength of schedule, there may be some value on him.
The Bucs offense has a chance to right the ship over the upcoming weeks. They don’t play a defense that ranks top 10 in Defensive DVOA until they face the Rams in Week 9. The Rams are 10th in defensive DVOA, but they have only managed 23 pressures through five games, the lowest of any team in the NFL.
Blocking Aaron Donald is still no easy task, as he has the second-highest pass rush win rate this season for defensive tackles, only trailing Chris Jones of the Kansas City Chiefs. If the Bucs offensive line can get some things figured out over the next few weeks, they could keep Brady upright so he has success against a reeling Rams team.
Although the 49ers are one of the league’s toughest defenses through five weeks, they will likely face some regression as cornerback Emmanuel Moseley tore his ACL against the Panthers. Moseley was the No. 26 graded coverage cornerback in the NFL by Pro Football Focus.
The Bucs should be more than happy to play the 49ers in December when they have had some time to work out some offensive line issues.
Through five games, the Bucs offensive line sports the fifth-lowest pass block win rate in the NFL so far this season, per ESPN. The Bucs lost offensive linemen Ryan Jensen and Aaron Stinnie to season-ending injuries. Stinnie was expected to compete for the starting left guard spot, but those duties have now fallen to rookie second-round pick Luke Goedeke. Goedeke has graded out as PFF’s sixth-lowest pass blocking guard so far this season. The more snaps he gets before he plays a strong Niners defense, the better. Tackle Donovan Smith returned from injury in Week 4.
Mike Evans and Chris Godwin have missed a combined three games because of injury and suspension. Tampa Bay is due for some positive regression in the passing game if these two can stay on the field. Chris Godwin has been dealing with a knee and hip injury. If the Bucs are able to get him healthy before they play the Rams in November, it could be a huge boost for their offense.
Brady finally beat the Saints in the regular season! Since joining the Buccaneers in 2020, Brady was 0-4 against the Saints. With the help of three Jameis Winston interceptions, the Bucs were able to go on the road and beat the Saints 20-10 in Week 2.
This being said, the Bucs should be bigger favorites against the Saints when they face off in Week 13 in Tampa Bay, barring any major injuries.
The Bucs also play the Panthers twice still. Need we say more? In all seriousness, the Panthers could be selling off parts of their team in order get a quarterback in next year’s draft. If they do this, they pose little threat to upset the Bucs when they play.
Brady MVP Odds Correlated to Dropback EPA
EPA is a valuable advanced statistic for NFL handicapping. It stands for Expected Points Added and gives a value to every play in a game.
Dropback EPA has been directly correlated to the MVP award since 2016. Since 2016, the quarterback who led the NFL in Dropback EPA has won the MVP award. The last player to win the MVP award but not lead the NFL in Dropback EPA was Cam Newton in 2015 for the Carolina Panthers. Carson Palmer led the NFL in Dropback EPA that season.
Brady and the Bucs posted the No. 3 dropback EPA last season and No. 5 in their Super Bowl season of 2020.
Brady and the Bucs currently sit at eighth in Dropback EPA at .116 but given their remaining schedule this number could be on the rise in upcoming weeks. For reference, the Bills have the highest Dropback EPA in the NFL at 0.327. However, Buffalo and Kansas City may be tough to catch.
Linking Brady MVP Odds to Winning the Conference
In the last nine seasons, the MVP award winner has finished first in their conference seven times.
Matt Ryan finished second in the NFC in 2016 and won the MVP award. Aaron Rodgers finished second in the NFC and won the award in 2014. Given their weak remaining schedule, the Bucs have positioned themselves nicely to finish first in the NFC.
The current problem they are facing is the Eagles and Jalen Hurts who have not lost a game yet. Philadelphia is also projected to be favored in every game for the rest of the season.
NFL Passing Leaders Through Week 5
The winner of Sunday afternoon’s game between the Chiefs and Bills will undoubtedly be the favorite to win the MVP award following the game. As it stands right now, Josh Allen is the favorite at . Patrick Mahomes is the second favorite at .
Brady is the seventh or eighth favorite right now depending on where you shop for NFL MVP odds. If he is able to secure the No. 1 seed in the NFC and continues to accumulate yardage and touchdowns, he has a better shot at winning the award than the 2.4% probability his 40-1 odds imply.
Best of luck!
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