Thanks to William Hill, bettors now have another opportunity to wager on sports in this current bleak landscape, assuming that they’re ready to hold those tickets for a while. The oddsmakers at William Hill have released odds for the 2020-21 NFL Regular Season MVP. It should come as no surprise that Patrick Mahomes has opened as the favorite at 9-2 (+450), but there are some interesting notables as we move down the list.
In another non-shocker, bettors have to look down the list to the (Yo!) 11 slot before they’ll find a non-quarterback. At first glance, 10 may seem like a lot of QB’s before another skill position player is even offered, however it’s important to remember the trends in the NFL over the past decade or so.
In the last 13 years there has only been one MVP winner that didn’t come from under center, which was in 2012 when Adrian Peterson clocked in three yards shy of 2100 for the season. With that in mind, this list being top-heavy with QB’s makes complete sense, but there are a few wrinkles within the order that are worth noting.
Patrick Mahomes 9-2
Lamar Jackson 7-1
Russell Wilson 10-1
Tom Brady 18-1
Deshaun Watson 20-1
Kyler Murray 20-1
Drew Brees 25-1
Dak Prescott 25-1
Carson Wentz 25-1
Aaron Rodgers 25-1
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Value and Surprise
As we look for the best values, the first name to jump off the board is Russell Wilson at 10-1. If Lamar Jackson hadn’t exploded on to the scene last season, especially with his legs, it’s highly likely that Wilson would have been the MVP unanimously.
Unfortunately for the Seattle signal caller, Jackson isn’t the only factor that will hurt him when it comes time to vote. Wilson is at a disadvantage of not only playing on the West Coast, but in a smaller market on the West Coast. The simple fact is that not as many eyes are on his games and his phenomenal performances are able to still fly under the radar a bit. Make no mistake though, Wilson has the skill-set and all the talent around him to be able to put up MVP-caliber numbers. Should he be able to overcome the logistical disadvantage of playing in Seattle, his talent level makes him a solid value at 10-1.
The first surprise on the list comes at number six with Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray. Murray isn’t a surprise because he lacks any ability, we’re actually fairly high on the Cardinals this season, but Murray has only one season of NFL experience and plays on a team that is often overlooked as well. It was a bit of a shock to see him open with shorter odds than players like Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers. It may well be a clue, however, as to how oddsmakers are valuing the weapons he has around him, especially with the addition of Deandre Hopkins this off-season.
The last spot on this top-10 list where we see a decent value is in the aforementioned Aaron Rodgers. A-A-ron clearly has the talent and ability necessary to win the MVP as he already has two on his mantle. The only real reason that we can deduce as to why his odds aren’t shorter is that he’s now in Matt LaFleur’s system.
As we saw last season, LaFleur seems determined to rely more heavily on the running game and not asking Rodgers to shoulder as much of the load, especially when it comes to his scrambling ability/getting hit. While this concept appears to be great for winning football games and keeping your QB healthy, it may not be the best for winning individual awards.
Rodgers can still sling it with the best in the league, he just may not be required to do so, and as such, his numbers may not look as great on paper as his performances do on the field.
Rest of the Field
The bookmakers at William Hill have put out odds on over 70 players, some that aren’t even in the NFL yet. See the full list here. While it’s fun to look down the list at the enormous long-shots, there is one more spot where we see realistic value: Derrick Henry 30-1.
While it’s highly unlikely for a non-QB to win this award, it’s even more unlikely for a non-QB on a below-average team to win this award, which is why we’ve narrowed it down to just Derrick Henry. Saquon Barkley of the Giants and Christian McCaffery of the Panthers are also getting 30-1 odds putting them in a dead-heat with Henry for shortest odds of non-quarterbacks.
Unfortunately for the G-Men and Panthers, it’s difficult to envision either of those teams being good enough to garner any MVP love for their star running backs. The Titans, on the other hand, showed last season that they do, in fact, have the horsepower to be in the conversation. It’s for this reason, if bettors are looking for some long-ish odds, that Henry is the only realistic play to make.
*Odds provided by William Hill