Opening Line Report: NFL MVP


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Opening Line Report: NFL MVP

I previously broke down the initial Super Bowl LVIII odds after Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs put the finishing touches on their title over the Eagles in mid-February. The opening NFL MVP odds for the 2023 season have also started to trickle out at a variety of sportsbooks since last season officially concluded. Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow, and Josh Allen have emerged as the early co-favorites for the MVP at +700 odds. Justin Herbert (+900), Jalen Hurts (+1200), and Lamar Jackson (+1300) round out the top-six favorites for this season’s award.

I sifted through the MVP odds from the top nationwide sportsbooks to see if there were any value bets to make right now before these lines see more betting action in the future. It’s important to remember that the MVP award isn’t entirely driven by results on the field unless one player is head and shoulders above the competition. The MVP winner is often driven by a good narrative since media voters decide the award. Sure, the eventual MVP winner will have to play well to bring home the hardware, but a great storyline could put the eventual winner over the top. The main odds in this article are courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook as of Feb. 17.

Past Winners

YearMVPPreseason OddsTeam Record
2022Patrick Mahomes (KC)+80014-3
2021Aaron Rodgers (GB)+110013-4
2020Aaron Rodgers (GB)+300013-3
2019Lamar Jackson (Bal)+400014-2
2018Patrick Mahomes (KC)+350012-4
2017Tom Brady (NE)+38513-3
2016Matt Ryan (Atl)+750011-5
2015Cam Newton (Car)+520015-1
2014Aaron Rodgers (GB)+60012-4
2013Peyton Manning (Den)+60013-3

The MVP award is a quarterback-driven award as we saw once again last season with Mahomes taking home the award. Justin Jefferson finished with the sixth-most receiving yards in any season and he was the clear best player on a team that won 13 games, and he still finished fifth in voting with just 55 points out of 1049 in the new voting system. Quarterbacks have won the MVP in 10 consecutive seasons with Adrian Peterson being the last non-QB to capture the award in 2012. The position has claimed the MVP in 20 of the last 23 seasons with running backs claiming the other three awards (Peterson, LaDainian Tomlinson, and Shaun Alexander). It’s going to take a truly special season from a non-quarterback to win the award and even then, it’s not a guarantee to be a contender, as we saw with Cooper Kupp when he won the receiving triple crown in 2021 and didn’t even get a sniff in a down year for quarterbacks.

It’s also a prerequisite to play on a title contender, with the last nine winners each reaching at least 11 regular-season victories. If we stretch out the sample to the last 23 seasons, 22 MVP winners have won at least 11 games. Peterson is once again the major outlier as a non-quarterback MVP on a team that won fewer than 11 games. Dozens of players across all positions have odds to win the MVP across multiple sportsbooks, but I’m focusing on quarterbacks on teams that have the potential to win 11+ games this season.

The Favorites

Patrick Mahomes (KC) +700Josh Allen (Buf) +700Joe Burrow (Cin) +700
Justin Herbert (LAC) +900Jalen Hurts (Phi) +1200Lamar Jackson (Bal) +1300
Aaron Rodgers +1600Trevor Lawrence (Jax) +1600Dak Prescott (Dal) +1600
Tua Tagovailoa (Mia) +1600Deshaun Watson (Cle) +2500Jared Goff (Det) +2500
Justin Fields (Chi) +2500Geno Smith (Sea) +3000Brock Purdy (SF) +3000

The MVP came from +3000 odds or longer in five of six seasons in 2015-20, but sportsbooks were clearly tired of getting burned by long-shot quarterbacks winning the award. FanDuel listed 15 players at +3000 odds or shorter and all of them are QBs, including Brock Purdy (+3000) who is set for throwing-elbow surgery on Feb. 22. I see almost no value at the top of the board outside of Jalen Hurts (+1300, DraftKings), whom I believe should be listed with Josh Allen (+700), Patrick Mahomes (+700), and Joe Burrow (+700) among the favorites for the award.

Hurts has made huge gains in each of his first three seasons since being drafted in the second round in 2020, and he finished behind only Mahomes for the 2022 MVP. He’s coming off one of the best performances by a losing player in Super Bowl history, and he’ll have arguably the league’s best WR tandem with DeVonta Smith developing into a bona fide superstar next to A.J. Brown. It might not hurt to play more marquee games in 2023, and Philly’s defense could lose a few key players, which could boost his passing numbers if the Eagles play in more shootouts.

Deshaun Watson (+2500) and Justin Fields (+2500) have been catching some buzz as potential candidates, but they are reach options for me at their current odds. Watson played like an MVP earlier in his career with the Texans before playing worse than Jacoby Brissett in his first action since 2020. He’s capable of playing at a high enough level to win the award, but he’d have to blow away the rest of the field since voters won’t be dying to cast their votes for him because of his sexual harassment allegations. Fields would look to follow the path of Hurts and Lamar Jackson (+1300) in recent years to the top of the MVP vote, but the key difference is that Hurts and Lamar actually had good teams around them. The Bears may have massive cap space and the top overall pick, but expecting the league’s second-worst roster from 2022 to improve by eight games is a bridge too far to cross.


Jordan Love (GB) +4000Russell Wilson (Den) +4000Trey Lance (SF) +4000
Kenny Pickett (Pit) +4000Matthew Stafford (LAR) +5000Kirk Cousins (Min) +5000
Derek Carr +5000Daniel Jones (NYG) +5000Mac Jones (NE) +6000
Kyler Murray (Ari) +7500Sam Howell (Was) +7500Jimmy Garoppolo +7500

The mid-range MVP candidates also feature all quarterbacks with 12 signal-callers priced between +4000 and +7500 odds. Jordan Love (+6600, PointsBet) and Matthew Stafford (+6600, BetMGM) offer the best bang for the buck in this tier. Everybody and their mother is expecting the Packers to move on from Aaron Rodgers (+1600) and his excess drama this off-season, which will open the door for Love to finally showcase why the Packers drafted him in the first round in 2020. Love was considered a raw prospect when he came out of Utah State, it’s worth a chance that he’s cleaned up his biggest issues — accuracy, decision-making, and mechanics — while biding his time behind Rodgers. He’s attempted just 83 passes through three seasons, but he’ll be in a position to succeed immediately on a team that won 13 games in three straight seasons in 2019-21.

Stafford is one season removed from throwing for 41 TDs, averaging 8.1 YPA, and winning 12 games in Los Angeles’ Super Bowl-winning campaign. I don’t think the Rams will get back to the heights they experienced during the 2021 season, but it doesn’t hurt that he has one of the league’s best WRs at his disposal in Cooper Kupp. The Rams have quickly been written off after a five-win campaign in their title defense and the 2023 season could be setting up to be the swan song for Los Angeles’ core group, which would give Stafford a strong narrative if they can climb back into the mix in the weaker of the two conferences.

Long Shots

Players lined at +10000, including Justin Jefferson and Ryan Tannehill, and above all the way to Carson Wentz and George Kittle at +30000

I’m not interested in wagering on any of the long-shot options at +10000 odds or longer, but there were a couple of players who I at least paused to think about. Justin Jefferson (+10000) easily paced the NFL with 128 catches and 1809 receiving yards to propel the Vikings to 13 wins. Despite his outstanding season, he failed to receive a single first-place MVP vote on his way to finishing fifth overall. Christian McCaffrey (+20000) scored touchdowns in nine consecutive games to end the season and 13 TDs in 13 games in which he saw 48% of the snaps with the 49ers. No rookie has ever won the MVP in the Super Bowl Era, but there are worse bets on the board than Bryce Young (+20000), who has drawn comparisons to Patrick Mahomes (albeit a smaller version) in the pre-draft process. He certainly faces a steep learning curve on what will likely be a bad team, but it would be one helluva story if he took a bottom-feeder team to the playoffs as a rookie.

Brolley’s Bets

  • Jalen Hurts (Phi) to win MVP (+1300, DraftKings). Risk one unit to win 13 units.

  • Jordan Love (GB) to win MVP (+6600, PointsBet). Risk .2 units to win 13.2 units

  • Matthew Stafford (LAR) to win MVP (+6600, BetMGM). Risk .2 units to win 13.2 units

Tom is a Senior Writer at Fantasy Points who specializes in fantasy and betting analysis. He’ll be helping you to navigate the waiver wire and manage your fantasy teams while also keeping our betting content robust all year long, especially during the season. Tom's Best Bets against the spread won at a 60% clip or better in each of the last two seasons and he owned the last undefeated team out of 3000 entries in Scott Fish Bowl 12.