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2021 MVP Odds Opening Line Report

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2021 MVP Odds Opening Line Report

I previously broke down the initial Super Bowl LVI odds after Tom Brady and the Buccaneers put the finishing touches on their title over the Chiefs. The opening NFL MVP odds for the 2021 season have also started to trickle out since last season officially concluded. Joe Dolan and I broke down the Super Bowl and MVP odds for the 2021 season on a recent Fantasy Points Podcast. Patrick Mahomes emerged as the betting favorite at +500 while the reigning MVP, Aaron Rodgers, sits at +800. Josh Allen (+1300), Russell Wilson (+1300), and Matthew Stafford (+1500) round out the top-five favorites for next season’s award.

I sifted through the MVP odds for all 75 players or so to see if there were any value bets to make right now before these lines see more betting action in the future. 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 many times driven by a good narrative since the award is decided by media voters. Sure, the eventual MVP winner will have to play well to win the award, but a great storyline or two could be what puts him over the top. The odds in this article are courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook as of Feb. 15.

Favorites

  • Patrick Mahomes (KC) +500

  • Aaron Rodgers (GB) +800

  • Josh Allen (Buf) +1300

  • Russell Wilson (Sea) +1300

  • Matthew Stafford (LAR) +1500

  • Tom Brady (TB) +1600

  • Lamar Jackson (Bal) +1600

  • Dak Prescott (Dal) +1700

  • Deshaun Watson (Hou) +1700

  • Justin Herbert (LAC) +1800

  • Kyler Murray (Ari) +1800

  • Ryan Tannehill (Ten) +2500

Bets I’d consider

I don’t see any big surprises with the top of the MVP betting list with 12 quarterbacks claiming the top-12 spots at +2500 odds or shorter. I’m never going to say never, but you’re rarely going to see me lay such short odds for the MVP award at this time of the year unless I see someone who is completely mispriced. I don’t see any players at the top who are standing out as strong values, but I think you can make much worse bets than Matthew Stafford (+2000, William Hill) and Dak Prescott (+2000, FoxBet).

Stafford has been stuck in football hell for the last 12 years. He has just three postseason berths despite being touted as one of the most physically gifted quarterbacks in the league by us and by many others. Stafford has no more excuses this year after the Rams traded for him to put this talent-laden roster over the top. He’ll be playing under one of the best offensive minds in Sean McVay and this is the most complete offensive roster he’s ever orchestrated. It doesn’t hurt that he’ll be going from football obscurity in Detroit to the nation’s second-biggest media market in Los Angeles. Stafford has never received a single MVP vote but I wouldn’t be surprised if that changes in his 13th season.

Prescott has his work cut out for him to even play in 2021 after suffering a catastrophic leg injury in Week 5. His recovery is reportedly on schedule despite a second surgery on his right ankle in December. Prescott was easily headed toward the best campaign of his five-year career with 1856 passing yards and nine TD passes in just four-plus games. Dak is expected to remain in Dallas as he continues to negotiate a long-term contract with the franchise, and he’ll have arguably the best WR trio in the league in Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and Michael Gallup. Dak has the chance to post some huge numbers this season if he’s close to full health when the season starts. His rehabilitation story could put him over the top if he can power America’s Team to at least an NFC East title.

Mid-Range

  • Derrick Henry (Ten) +3300
  • Christian McCaffrey (Car) +3300
  • Baker Mayfield (Cle) +4000
  • Carson Wentz (Phi) +4000
  • Jameis Winston (NO) +4000
  • Joe Burrow (Cin) +5000
  • Kirk Cousins (Min) +5000
  • Tua Tagovailoa (Mia) +5000
  • Dalvin Cook (Min) +6600
  • Cam Newton (NE) +6600

Bets I’d consider

DraftKings has 10 players listed between +3300 and +6600 odds to win the MVP and no player really stands out as a strong value. I’m inclined to avoid this part of the board entirely. I’d prefer to throw a couple of darts with the long-shot options or I’d take the shorter odds with Stafford and/or Prescott. Christian McCaffrey and Derrick Henry have the shortest odds for the non-QBs as they’re tied for the 13th-shortest odds on the board at +3300. I bet on Henry to win the MVP last season at +7500 odds and he could barely sniff the award despite becoming the eighth player to run for 2000 yards.

Jameis Winston (+6600, FoxBet) and Baker Mayfield (+4000, DraftKings) are my favorite options in this range if I wanted to bet this group. The MVP award is consistently a quarterback-driven award and these QBs are intriguing to me because both of their teams have conceivable paths to the top of their conference. All indications are that Winston is going to get a shot to be New Orleans’ starting quarterback with Drew Brees most likely heading for retirement. I’m skeptical that Winston is going to be a brand-new quarterback after sitting on the bench for all of 2020, but he certainly has a path to posting big numbers in a well-oiled Saints’ offense. Winston could get some buzz if he keeps the Saints ahead of his former team in the NFC South. He also has a redemption narrative if he’s able to rebound from being the first player to throw 30+ TDs and 30+ INTs in the same season back in 2019 with Tampa Bay.

Mayfield got his career back on track under Kevin Stefanski, and the duo hit their stride late in the regular season and into the playoffs. Baker threw for a career-high 26 touchdowns with just eight interceptions last season after throwing a combined 35 INTs in his first two seasons. He also posted strong numbers despite the Browns having a horrific three-game stretch of weather games in Weeks 8-11, which kept his overall numbers in check. The Browns broke the ceiling last season by ending a 17-year playoff drought last season. The next step in the ascension of the organization could be an AFC North title and a top-three seed to give him an outside shot at the MVP.

Long Shots

  • Derek Carr (LV) +8000
  • Sam Darnold (NYJ) +8000
  • Alvin Kamara (NO) +8000
  • Trevor Lawrence (Jax) +8000
  • Drew Lock (Den) +8000
  • Davante Adams (GB) +10000
  • Saquon Barkley (NYG) +10000
  • Nick Chubb (Cle) +10000
  • Jared Goff (Det) +10000
  • DeAndre Hopkins (Ari) +10000
  • Jalen Hurts (Phi) +10000
  • Daniel Jones (NYG) +10000
  • Ben Roethlisberger (Pit) +10000
  • Matt Ryan (Atl) +10000

38 other players listed at +12500 odds and longer

Bets I’d consider

This range had by far my two favorite bets on the board as of the middle of February. I’ve already wagered on both Matt Ryan (+10000, DraftKings) and Jalen Hurts (+10000, DraftKings) at their long-shot MVP odds. Sure, there’s a good chance that both the Eagles and the Falcons could stink once again this season after both teams finished with four wins each in 2020. However, we need to look back to just a couple of seasons ago when both of these rosters were competing at the highest level in the Super Bowl. These teams aren’t devoid of talent and the new coaching staffs in Philly (Nick Sirianni) and Atlanta (Arthur Smith) could get these organizations back on track.

Ryan already has an MVP trophy in his recent past. He won the award in 2016 when he threw for 4944 yards and 38 TDs while averaging a ridiculous 9.3 YPA. It looks like the Falcons will be moving forward with both Ryan and Julio Jones in the fold this season, and I’m intrigued to see what Smith can do with Ryan and a talented cast of receivers among Julio, Calvin Ridley, and Hayden Hurst. Smith salvaged Tannehill from the trash heap two seasons ago and Tannehill earned a nine-figure contract extension last off-season. Smith’s fresh perspective could be just what Ryan needs as he heads into his age-36 season. Ryan is being offered as short as +3500 odds to win the MVP at FoxBet so be sure to find the price possible.

Hurts also has a history of big-game hunting for top awards during his time at Oklahoma and Alabama. He was a contender for the Heisman Trophy during his college career, including when he finished as the 2019 runner-up to Joe Burrow, who had arguably the greatest season by a college quarterback of all time. The Eagles are on the verge of trading Carson Wentz and handing the keys to the offense to Hurts, who showed plenty of promise at the end of his rookie season. He finished as fantasy’s QB6 in Weeks 14-17 with 919/5 passing and 272/3 rushing in the final four games. Hurts showed he could post some big numbers as a passer and as a runner, and he’d become the toast of Philadelphia if he can author a major turnaround after all of the Wentz’ drama in 2019. Hurts is as short as +5000 to win the MVP at FoxBet so make sure you get true long-shot odds before betting on him.

Brolley’s Bets

Jalen Hurts (Phi) to win the 2021 MVP (+10000, DraftKings). Risk .5 units to win 50 units

Matt Ryan (Atl) to win the 2021 MVP (+10000, DraftKings). Risk .5 units to win 50 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 61.5% clip in 2019 and he was a perfect 8-0 on his Best Bets for season win totals in 2020.

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