I previously broke down the initial Super Bowl LVII odds after Matthew Stafford and the Rams put the finishing touches on their title over the Bengals in mid-February. The opening NFL MVP odds for the 2022 season have also started to trickle out at a variety of sportsbooks since last season officially concluded. Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen have emerged as the early co-favorites for the 2022 MVP at +750, followed by the two-time reigning MVP winner Aaron Rodgers at +800. Joe Burrow (+1400), Justin Herbert (+1600), and Dak Prescott (+1600) round out the top-five favorites for this season’s award.
I sifted through the MVP odds for all 175+ players 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 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 bring home the hardware, but a great storyline or two could be what puts the eventual winner over the top. The main odds in this article are courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook as of Feb. 23.
|Year||MVP||Preseason Odds||Team Record|
|2021||Aaron Rodgers (GB)||+1100||13-4|
|2020||Aaron Rodgers (GB)||+3000||13-3|
|2019||Lamar Jackson (Bal)||+4000||14-2|
|2018||Patrick Mahomes (KC)||+3500||12-4|
|2017||Tom Brady (NE)||+385||13-3|
|2016||Matt Ryan (Atl)||+7500||11-5|
|2015||Cam Newton (Car)||+5200||15-1|
|2014||Aaron Rodgers (GB)||+600||12-4|
|2013||Peyton Manning (Den)||+600||13-3|
|2012||Adrian Peterson (Min)||+4000||10-6|
The MVP award is a quarterback-driven award as we saw once again last season. Cooper Kupp became just the fourth player to claim the Receiving Triple Crown, and he garnered just 1-of-50 MVP votes for his historic performance in a season without a slam-dunk winner. Quarterbacks have won the MVP in nine consecutive seasons with Adrian Peterson being the last non-QB to capture the award in 2012. The position has claimed the MVP in 19 of the last 22 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 Kupp last season.
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 22 seasons, 21 of the 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. DraftKings has given odds to 175+ players to win the MVP, but I’m focusing on quarterbacks on teams that have the potential to win 11+ games this season.
The MVP has also come from +3000 odds or longer in five of the last seven years. I prefer to focus my attention a little further down the board at this time of the year to try to pick off some value before a player’s odds get shorter later in the year, and it’s been more profitable to look down the board in the MVP market anyway. I’m typically not looking at the top of the board at this time of the year unless there is an egregious value since more bad outcomes than good outcomes can happen to the favorites over the next six to seven months before the season starts.
Josh Allen (Buf) +750
Patrick Mahomes (KC) +750
Aaron Rodgers (GB) +800
Joe Burrow (Cin) +1400
Justin Herbert (LAC) +1600
Dak Prescott (Dal) +1600
Matthew Stafford (LAR) +1800
Kyler Murray (Ari) +2200
Derrick Henry (Ten) +2500
Russell Wilson (Sea) +2500
I don’t see any big surprises with the top of the MVP betting list with quarterbacks claiming nine of the top-10 spots at +2500 odds or shorter. Derrick Henry (+2500, DraftKings) is the lone outlier in the group, which makes sense since he produced the first 2000-yard season since AP’s MVP-winning season. Henry finished 2020 with the fifth-most rushing yards in a season with 2037, but the difference is Henry didn’t receive a single MVP vote during his historic season while Peterson grabbed 30.5 votes to win over Peyton Manning in 2012.
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 Josh Allen (+900, Caesars) and Justin Herbert (+1600, DraftKings). Allen easily paced all quarterbacks with 23.7 FPG, besting the QB2 Herbert by 1.3 FPG, but the Bills slightly underperformed compared to their NFL-best +194 point differential. Buffalo finished as the AFC’s third seed with an 11-6 record, but they left a lot of meat on the bone with its 0-5 record in one-score games. Allen is rightfully an MVP favorite since he should be one of the league’s best players once again, and Buffalo should have a little better luck in the win department if they perform better in one-score contests.
If you already read my Super Bowl LVII Opening Line Report, you know that I’m bullish on the Chargers to win the Lombardi Trophy at +2500 odds. It makes sense then that I’d like Herbert’s MVP odds entering his third season. He exceeded all expectations when he broke a rookie record with 31 TD passes, and he continued to improve in his second season with 38 TDs and 5014 passing yards. He finished third in ESPN’s QBR behind only Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady, who combined for 49-of-50 votes for last year’s MVP award. Los Angeles has a difficult path to winning the AFC West competing against the likes of the Chiefs, Raiders, and Broncos, but Herbert will get some love if the Chargers end Kansas City’s six-year run as the division champions.
Lamar Jackson (Bal) +2800
Jonathan Taylor (Ind) +2800
Cooper Kupp (LAR) +3500
Deshaun Watson (Hou) +3500
Jalen Hurts (Phi) +4000
Derek Carr (LV) +5000
Deebo Samuel (SF) +5000
Kirk Cousins (Min) +5000
Trey Lance (SF) +5000
Mac Jones (NE) +6000
The two bets I’m giving out in this article come from this range, and my favorite wager on the board is on Lamar Jackson (+2800, DraftKings). He’s the last non-Rodgers MVP winner for his breakout campaign in 2019, and he was the second favorite to win the award at +1050 at the midway point last season. Baltimore collapsed in the second half of the year with Lamar missing five of the final eight games because of illness and an ankle injury. Lamar has fantasy’s TE1 at his disposal in Mark Andrews, one of the NFL’s best deep threats in Marquise Brown, and a promising second-year WR in Rashod Bateman. The Ravens will also get J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards back at running back, which leaves them focusing on improving their offensive line this off-season. The Ravens have the recipe to get back to being one of the league’s elite offenses like they were in 2019-20 with a little better health and a couple of hits along their O-line. The Ravens own the eighth-best odds (+2000) to win the Super Bowl so they certainly have the firepower to get to 11+ victories next season.
The second bet I’m making at this time is on Trey Lance (+7500, Caesars). The second-year quarterback is most likely to take over the offense for one of the best teams in the league barring a dramatic turn with Jimmy Garoppolo either staying or Brady coming out of retirement to play in the Bay Area. Lance is an incredibly gifted dual-threat quarterback who stayed mostly on the sidelines as a rookie last season, but the 49ers traded significant capital last year to move up from No. 12 to No. 3 to draft Lance to get the franchise over the hump. Lance will have the league’s most dynamic receivers after the catch at his disposal in Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, and Brandon Aiyuk. He’ll also get plenty of help getting the rock to his playmakers from arguably the best offensive schemer in the league in Kyle Shanahan. The 49ers are tied for the 4th-best odds (+1400) to win the Super Bowl, and we’ve seen first-time, full-time starters Mahomes (2018) and Jackson (2019) win the award in the last four seasons.
Davante Adams (GB) +8000
Trevor Lawrence (Jax) +8000
Jameis Winston (NO) +8000
Ja’Marr Chase (Cin) +8000
Matt Ryan (Atl) +10000
Baker Mayfield (Cle) +10000
Austin Ekeler (LAR) +10000
Alvin Kamara (NO) +10000
Justin Fields (Chi) +10000
Jimmy Garoppolo (SF) +10000
Ryan Tannehill (Ten) +10000
Dalvin Cook (Min) +10000
Nick Chubb (Cle) +10000
Christian McCaffrey (Car) +10000
143 others at +13000 or longer
I’m not too interested in wagering on any of the long-shot options at +8000 odds or longer, but there were a few players who I at least paused to think about, including Christian McCaffrey (+10000, DraftKings). CMC has played in just 10-of-33 games the last two seasons, but he was the premier skill player before that in 2018-19 with a combined 4375 scrimmage yards and 32 touchdowns. The Panthers have floundered with just five wins in each of their first two seasons under Matt Rhule, but CMC could lead a major turnaround with the Panthers playing in the potentially terrible NFC South.
Justin Jefferson (+15000, DraftKings) is the other skill player I’d consider at his long odds. He backed up his NFL record-breaking rookie season with an even better sophomore season, and he now owns the most catches (196) and receiving yards (3016) by any receiver through two seasons. New Vikings HC Kevin O’Connell could look to revolve the offense around Jefferson like the Rams did last season with Kupp, and Minnesota has the potential to bounce back in a weak NFC North after underperforming the last two seasons under Mike Zimmer.
The last two players I considered but ultimately didn’t wager on were second-year quarterbacks Trevor Lawrence (+10000, Caesars) and Justin Fields (+15000, Caesars). The first and 11th overall picks in the 2021 NFL Draft were two of the league’s worst quarterbacks last season, but they’re both still loaded with talent and their situations should improve in Year Two. Both young QBs received suboptimal coaching last season and they were plagued by injuries to their top offensive weapons, which severely hindered their development. Even if Lawrence and Fields make huge gains in 2022, the Bears and Jaguars have a lot of work to do to reach 11+ victories so it’s probably asking a little much for them to be legitimate MVP contenders this season.
Lamar Jackson (Bal) to win the 2022 MVP (+2800, DraftKings). Risk one unit to win 28 units.
Trey Lance (SF) to win the 2022 MVP (+7500, Caesars). Risk .4 units to win 30 units.