The 2018 NFL MVP race feels like a two-man competition. That’s not hyperbole, either, as the best NFL betting sites are down to a very short list for who they’ll take wagers on.
Sportsbetting.ag is one of the more trusted pro football betting websites and right now they’re only allowing you to bet on seven different options.
It’s hard to blame them.
Would-be MVP contenders like Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady simply aren’t rivaling the likes of Drew Brees and Patrick Mahomes. And nobody else is really pushing for the highest honor in terms of statistical output and overall impact on their own team.
2018 NFL MVP Odds
The best way to get a good grasp of the current NFL MVP race is to simply take a look at the latest odds.
Sportsbetting.ag only offers seven players to bet on. Here they are with their latest odds:
- Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints (-165)
- Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs (-110)
- Philip Rivers, QB, Los Angeles Chargers (+1800)
- Aaron Donald, DL, Los Angeles Rams (+2500)
- Jared Goff, QB, Los Angeles Rams (+3300)
- Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams (+3300)
- Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers (+5000)
While I’m content with this list and the odds are pretty appealing, I do think we’re forgetting a few viable options.
Andrew Luck is probably the favorite to win NFL Comeback Player of the Year:
Colts quarterback Andrew Luck making a case for Comeback Player of the Year https://t.co/Oo6bGR5noc
— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) December 7, 2018
If Luck gets the Colts into the playoffs there’s an MVP argument for him somewhere out there. He certainly has the numbers and accomplishing that after a year away from football would be something special.
Russell Wilson is another quarterback who gets precious little love.
He’s kept the Seahawks alive for the playoffs and has a sick 29-to-5 touchdown to interception ratio. He’s the single reason why Seattle is as dangerous as they are right now, but he’s for whatever reason not as sexy as Brees or Mahomes.
Not as sexy? Fine, but nobody is cooler than this:
I’d like to see these guys at least get odds and why not toss in the likes of Adam Thielen, Ezekiel Elliott, and a few others? They might not win, but they’d create extra incentive for some additional long shot wagers.
The Main Threats
The real threats are going to be Mahomes and Brees. I hate to say that with four games left in the regular season and a good amount still undecided, but that’s the reality.
Both of these guys are lighting it up and have also led their respective teams to blistering 10-2 records. How they end, what playoff seeding they get and possibly even how they initially fare in the playoffs may go a long way in separating them.
Brees has the edge right now because he’s been here, done that. But he’s never gotten the hardware.
There isn’t a more deserving human being in pro football, while Brees is also completing over 75% of his passes. He has 30 passing scores and just three total turnovers on the year and is probably going to end the year with 4,000+ passing yards.
Mahomes has Brees beat by a mile in the turnovers department, but his Chiefs have been the talk of the league all year. He still has an outside shot at breaking the single-season passing touchdown record, too, while the loss of stud rusher Kareem Hunt will either expose him or catapult him to new MVP heights.
Brees is tried and true and he’s possibly earned this. But Mahomes is having the better season.
One Sneaky Sleeper
Not feeling the upside in Brees or Mahomes? I can’t knock you for reaching for a little value and if you’re going to do it, why not aim high?
Todd Gurley is obviously an elite value at +3300, but he’s slowed down to the point where he’s probably not breaking any high-level records this year. Teammate Goff has been exceptional, but these guys in a sense cancel each other out.
Defensive players don’t win this award and Aaron Donald realistically can’t touch Brees or Mahomes. However, if he somehow breaks the single-season sack record (he has 16.5 right now), he’s certainly going to be worth a flier bet at +2500.
The MVP sleeper bet has to be Rivers, though.
If you want to string together an argument for Brees, it’s going to look a lot like Rivers’. Their numbers are strikingly similar, as Rivers actually has more passing yardage, just two fewer touchdowns, and just three more picks.
Rivers has been incredibly accurate, too, as he’s currently toeing the 70% completion percentage threshold.
The team success is there during Rivers’ seemingly career-best season. The Chargers are 9-3 and still have a shot to win the AFC West and lock up a first-round bye, if not the AFC’s top seed. Things still need to break their way, but with a showdown against the Chiefs looming, the stretch run might tell us L.A. is actually the best team in football.
In turn, could the final four games vault Rivers up the ladder and make him the favorite to win NFL MVP? Probably not, but at +1800 there might not be a better flier bet in football right now.
Is the NFL MVP Mahomes or Bust?
If you ask me, Mahomes offers an amazing price at -110 right now and this should be an open and shut case. His numbers are absurd. His team has lost two games – both by three with his defense giving up 40+ points – and he looks great doing it.
The problem with voting for Drew Brees is it’d be filed under “handouts” in my book. Brees has had an amazing year, don’t get me wrong. The numbers are also fantastic. But his team has just as many losses as Mahomes’ and the numbers absolutely lean in Mahomes’ direction.
Brees does have the narrative of never winning a league MVP trophy. He’s having a personal and team year that certainly fits the bill of an MVP, too.
But the MVP isn’t about what a player may be owed. This isn’t a career-earned trophy. This is about who is the best player when it comes to team importance, league impact and overall production.
Mahomes’ rise in pretty much one offseason is nothing short of astonishing. Brees has been doing this forever and his numbers aren’t where they need to be to catch Mahomes.
There is still some season to be played and I absolutely leave the door cracked open for the voters to hand this award to Brees. But that doesn’t mean they should.