- Betting odds suggest the NFL MVP race has three serious contenders.
- Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes has been the favorite for most of the season.
- There is significant value available based on current league standings.
By and large the NFL MVP must play for one of the top teams in the league (recent MVP’s include Tom Brady, Matt Ryan, Cam Newton, Aaron Rodgers, and Peyton Manning), and obviously perform at a very high level. From the get go this year Kansas City signal caller Patrick Mahomes has been terrific. With two weeks left in the regular season the race for MVP appears down to Mahomes, Saints quarterback Drew Brees, and Chargers trigger man Philip Rivers.
When we looked at MVP odds during the middle of the season, Mahomes was the favorite, but we liked the value on Brees. For the most part, that remains the case, though Rivers is putting together an excellent resume. It is worth noting, should Rams tackle Aaron Donald find a way to match the league record for sacks in a season (he needs six over the last two weeks) he’d be forced into the conversation too.
Let’s take a look at the latest odds and break down the top candidates. Our odds come from Sportsbetting.ag.
2018 NFL MVP Odds
|NFL MVP Candidate||Sportsbetting.ag Odds (Dec. 18)|
|Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs)||-200|
|Drew Brees (Saints)||+225|
|Phillip Rivers (Chargers)||+400|
|Andrew Luck (Colts)||+5000|
During a season where Brady has 24 touchdown passes, and Rodgers has 23, Mahomes has fired for 45 scores. He leads the league with 4,543 yards through the air. The question for Mahomes is simple, how will Kansas City finish up?If the Chiefs beat Seattle on Sunday or the Chargers lose to the Ravens Saturday, Kansas City will almost certainly win the AFC West, and be the top seed in the playoffs.
Then we can claim Mahomes has been the best offensive player in the league not only using stats, but in impacting the team and standings. However, if the Chiefs don’t win the division, it is hard to see him taking the MVP award by faltering down the stretch and leading a team to the number five seed.
There is a lot to like about Brees as an MVP candidate. The Saints are the favorite to win the Super Bowl, and he is their best player. Voters also sometimes consider lifetime achievements, and Brees, a sure shot Hall of Famer, has never won the league MVP.
His numbers this year are excellent. Completing nearly 75-percent of passes is the best among quarterbacks in more than 15 years. Brees has the top passer rating in the NFL, and 31 touchdowns with just five interceptions.
Like Mahomes, this is going to take some doing at the end of the regular season. Rivers and the Chargers have had a great year, but he is not going to win the award as a number five seed. In order to grab the trophy, Los Angeles must pass Kansas City and earn the division title. If they do it, he will be a big reason why and stand a great chance.
Rivers has not won an MVP, but at the age of 37 he is having perhaps his best year. Among quarterbacks who have played the whole year he leads the league in yards per attempt, and is third in completion percentage and touchdowns tossed.
Where is the value?
Mahomes and Rivers must still each accomplish something, getting a relatively difficult win or two in order to clinch the division title with the other team breathing down their back. The equation is easier for New Orleans. They need one win over the final two weeks, and both game are at home.
Brees has never won an MVP award, but this looks like a pretty good opportunity.