The 2020-21 NFL season came to a close with Tom Brady winning yet another Super Bowl MVP and Aaron Rodgers taking home his third regular season MVP. Odds are already up for the next MVP at DraftKings Sportsbook with Patrick Mahomes, Rodgers, Josh Allen, and Russell Wilson atop the list. We break down the chances of each candidate below.
NFL MVP odds
NFL MVP odds report
Patrick Mahomes: Playing with a bum foot behind a patchwork offensive line that allowed a Super Bowl record number of pressures, Mahomes still unleashed some unreal throws that could have kept the Chiefs in the game. He’s the most talented QB in the game today and is a magician in a sophisticated offensive scheme.
Aaron Rodgers: Rodgers finished the season on a ridiculous tear with a 77.2% completion rate and 15:1 TD:INT ratio over his last 5 wins. He posted the second-best passer rating (121.5) in NFL history, trailing only his own mark of 122.5 set during his 2011 MVP campaign. Now the Packers front office is under pressure to surround him with the right weaponry or he could force his way out of town.
Josh Allen: If Allen’s progression is linear, he should make another huge leap in his fourth season. The third-year pro shattered Buffalo’s franchise records with 4,544 passing yards and 50 total TDs last season and he should continue to improve mentally while utilizing his incredible physical skills.
Russell Wilson: After leading the MVP race over the first half of the season, Wilson’s production dropped off a cliff under former OC Brian Schottenheimer. New OC Shane Waldron has indicated he wants to focus on the run game more, but that will set up explosive deep passes off play-action.
Tom Brady: The 43-year-old GOAT once again enters the season leading the defending champs and he could pick up right where he left off. Now he has much better chemistry with Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Antonio Brown in Bruce Arians’ aggressive passing attack.
Matthew Stafford: It will be exciting to see what Stafford can do as the face of a competent franchise. The Lions wasted his talent for years and now he’s at the control of Sean McVay’s brilliant scheme.
Lamar Jackson: Jackson simply couldn’t get much going through the air in his effort to repeat as MVP last year. He also came down with COVID mid-year, but still dazzled with highlight-worthy rushing plays.
Dak Prescott: Coming off a gruesome leg injury, Prescott will also be a leading candidate for Comeback Player of the Year. With 1,856 passing yards through four-plus games, he was on pace to put historic numbers last year and he has a superb trio of WRs to target.
Deshaun Watson: We don’t necessarily know where Watson will be playing next season. If he’s still in Houston, it’s hard to imagine him constructing an MVP campaign since the Texans are tied with the Lions for the worst odds (+10000) to win the Super Bowl.
Justin Herbert: The Offensive Rookie of the Year posted 4,336 passing yards and a 31:10 TD:INT ratio under a relatively inept coaching staff. The arrow is pointing straight upwards for Herbert.
Kyler Murray: Murray briefly generated MVP buzz by out-dueling Russell Wilson in a mid-season matchup. Then he started to struggle while battling a shoulder injury and his team dropped four out of five, before eventually falling out of the playoffs.
Christian McCaffrey: There is no comparison to McCaffrey in terms of workload in today’s NFL. He tallied the most receptions (116) ever by an RB and the third-most scrimmage yards (2,392) during his last full season in 2019.
Carson Wentz: Wentz was traded to a favorable landing spot in Indianapolis and his MVP odds subsequently moved from +4000 to +3000. Perhaps he can resurrect his career with his former offensive coordinator Frank Reich.
Ryan Tannehill: While certainly underrated, Tannehill is unlikely to see the volume required for a QB to enter the realm of MVP favorites. Tennessee has finished in the top three in rush-play percentage in each of the past two seasons.
Derrick Henry: A true throwback, Henry became the first back to rush for 2,000-plus yards in consecutive seasons since 1968. But the Titans need to complement their run game with a strong defense and they were awful on that side of the ball last season.
Baker Mayfield: Kevin Stefanski set Mayfield up for success and the Oklahoma product managed games well with just 8 interceptions on the year. Cleveland is also a run-heavy team, but Mayfield could post bigger numbers with Odell Beckham Jr. (ACL) back on the field.
Jameis Winston: If Drew Brees retires, Winston could step in at the controls of a high-powered Saints offense. He would still cede work to Taysom Hill, though, and has always had issues with ball security.
Joe Burrow: Burrow looked dynamic in his rookie campaign before taking a season-ending hit behind his deficient offensive line. Cincy will look to address some of those issues in the draft this April.
Kirk Cousins: The Vikings were forced to throw more often towards the second half of 2020 and Cousins flashed upside with 270-plus passing yards in seven of his last eight games. He has two truly elite WRs now with Justin Jefferson breaking out.
Dalvin Cook: When healthy, Cook was a terror out of the Vikings backfield. He eventually broke down due to multiple injuries and the tragic death of his father. Perhaps he comes out with increased motivation next season.
Derek Carr: Few teams showed the same highs and lows as Jon Gruden’s Raiders, and Carr was impressive when Vegas had it rolling.
Alvin Kamara: With Michael Thomas struggling last year and Brees aging, the Saints clearly became Kamara’s team. He has a better shot at earning MVP consideration than Winston.
Trevor Lawrence: The hype has already begun for Lawrence, who is a gigantic favorite to be selected first overall by the Jaguars with -5000 odds at DraftKings Sportsbook.
Matt Ryan: Matty Ice has won an MVP before and he could put up big numbers IF Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley are healthy all year.
Saquon Barkley: Barkley is an explosive athlete with workhorse ability if the Giants are able to be successful in the other phases and feed him the rock.
Jalen Hurts: This young man simply has a knack for winning and those intangibles can transcend his deficiencies as a pocket passer.
Cam Akers: The Rams could establish a dominant run game behind their impressive offensive line and Akers is set to take off in his second year.
MVP futures betting
NFL MVP bets are among the most popular in the futures betting market every year, and now it’s becoming easier than ever to plunk some money down on your best bet to win the award in 2021.
All player markets currently offered are at plus-money in terms of odds. This means bettors correctly pegging the eventual award winner will make several times their original wager.
One trend will be very apparent as we delve into this year’s top candidates: it’s highly probable the MVP award ultimately goes to a quarterback. Twelve of the last 14 MVPs have been QBs. Running backs LaDainian Tomlinson (2006) and Adrian Peterson (2012) are the only ones to break the grip over that span. It took monumental, career seasons to do it.
Of active signal-callers, there have been only two repeat winners during that span – Tom Brady (2007, 2010, 2017) and Aaron Rodgers (2011, 2014, 2020).
How to bet NFL MVP futures
Maximizing a wager on any future outcome pertaining to a sporting event — or in the case of the NFL MVP award winner, an end-of-season occurrence – is heavily predicated on timing. By their very nature, odds on futures wagers are subject to varying degree of fluctuation. In the case of player-level futures like NFL MVP, a number of different factors can influence the trajectory of his futures odds as the games unfold week to week.
Any multi-week injury to the player naturally will cause odds to get much longer. Any serious MVP candidate essentially must play as close to 16 games as possible in order to accrue the kind of numbers necessary to have a realistic chance at the award. A player that begins the season considerably underperforming or goes into an in-season, multi-game funk will also see their odds drop.
Naturally, a reverse effect is seen if a player begins to significantly outperform preseason expectations. Another factor that can particularly shoot quarterbacks up the ladder is when a supporting offensive cast turns out to be even better than expected. Such a development often helps the candidate’s own numbers to an appreciable degree.
Where can you bet on MVP futures?
NFL MVP futures markets are available at all legal, regulated sportsbooks. NFL MVP futures are located behind the NFL tab in online sportsbook platforms, under a specific Futures tab. Typically, NFL MVP futures may often be found behind a “Player Futures” or “Awards” tab. Within that section, bettors will find a listing of all of the “wagerable” players in that betting market, along with their corresponding odds at that point in time.
How is the NFL MVP award typically decided?
The officially recognized NFL MVP award – the one that NFL MVP futures wagers are graded on – is that which is awarded by the Associated Press. A panel of 50 sportswriters conduct their vote at the conclusion of the regular season and prior to the beginning of the playoffs. The timing ensures that the regular season is the sole performance sample that is considered when the vote is conducted. The announcement of the MVP award winner occurs the day before the Super Bowl.
Despite the “spirit” of the term “most valuable player” – specifically, the characterization bestowed on a player whose absence would have the greatest negative impact on his team – that in itself is usually not enough without sufficient accompanying statistical reinforcement. Look no further than 2020 as an example. Based on the purest “most valuable player” definition, a strong case could have been made for other players besides Rodgers.
How far would the Buccaneers have gotten without Tom Brady? How far would the Bills have gotten without Josh Allen?
That said, stats are usually the tie-breaker. Rodgers passed for a league-high 48 TDs. The next closest player was Wilson with 40. Rodgers also threw just five INTs and may have gotten some sentimentality votes over the younger Mahomes, who likely has many more MVP awards coming his way in the years to come.