According to betting markets, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes — the reigning Associated Press NFL Most Valuable Player — is the odds-on favorite to be named NFL MVP in 2019.
Here’s how the oddsmakers now see the top 25 (via MyBookie.ag):
NFL MVP Odds
As we know, betting odds don’t necessarily translate into an actual probability something will happen. Instead, they are set so that something close to an equal amount of money will be placed on both sides of the bet — which gives the betting house the best chance to turn a profit. As such, betting odds best represent the opinion of the betting public.
But not everyone is buying into the idea that Mahomes will repeat as MVP.
Louis Riddick, who was a scout for Chiefs head coach Andy Reid when Reid was with the Philadelphia Eagles — and is now an ESPN analyst — thinks it will be Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz.
QB Carson Wentz will be the #nfl #mvp for the 2019 season. Just wanted to put that out there on this spectacular holiday. You’re welcome. #eagles— Louis Riddick (@LRiddickESPN) May 27, 2019
A year ago, Riddick was saying Mahomes would “set the league on fire” in 2018. Back in October, he said he’d “give all 52 players on the roster” to get Mahomes. Now he’s all in for Wentz. Our SB Nation colleagues at Bleeding Green Nation (naturally) see his point.
There’s reason to feel good about Wentz as a potential MVP candidate. He obviously came very close to winning the award prior to suffering an ACL injury in 2017. And unlike last year, Wentz will have a full offseason to get ready for the upcoming campaign.
Former Chiefs offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz — the brother of current right tackle Mitchell Schwartz — isn’t sold on an Mahomes MVPeat, either. In an article for SBNation, Schwartz noted that both Tom Brady and Peyton Manning had drop-offs in production after their 50-touchdown seasons.
I expect Mahomes to have a slight drop-off as well. Mahomes could be without Tyreek Hill, too. If Hill is out, Mahomes will still complete a high percent of passes, but the big yards after the catch could disappear. Secondly, teams have spent all offseason trying to figure out ways to stop Mahomes. I wouldn’t put my money on Mahomes.
Schwartz said he thinks that a bet for Wentz has value, but that he’d put his money on Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers this season.
This is where I’m putting my money. Aaron Rodgers is primed for a monster season and you’re getting supreme value in this pick. He’s finally in a new offense and it will refresh his play. While they might be lacking in weapons with household names, this offense should provide ways for their receivers to get open. The Packers have outstanding pass-protecting tackles that will keep Rodgers upright. Their defense is greatly improved and it will lead to more victories. If the Packers win the NFC North (I think they do), Rodgers wins the MVP award.
On Tuesday, ESPN analyst Bill Barnwell took a more comprehensive approach.
He pointed out that the overwhelming majority of NFL MVPs since 1957 have been quarterbacks, followed by running backs, defensive tackles and so on. So he set up position groups (and subgroups) in that order and picked his favorite in each subgroup.
The first was what he called his Hall Of Fame quarterback group;
This is easy, right? Any of the guys who already have been fitted for gold jackets can win MVP in any given year. Late-career awards for guys such as Tom Brady (at age 40) and Peyton Manning (37) have proved that there’s no expiration date for glory. I shouldn’t need to explain this one.
Barnwell likes Rodgers from this group, saying, “Freeing Rodgers from the grasp of Mike McCarthy can only help matters.”
Barnwell has Mahomes in his Rookie-Deal quarterback group but thinks San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is the best candidate in that group to win MVP — although he isn’t counting anyone out among the young quarterbacks.
It would hardly be shocking if Baker Mayfield, who was one of the best starting quarterbacks in the league during the second half of his rookie season, is a legitimate MVP candidate in 2019 after the Browns added Odell Beckham Jr. I think it would even be foolish to totally count out Kyler Murray, who has transcendent athleticism and will be playing in a Cardinals scheme designed to rack up numbers. Some of these guys will fall off and play middling football, of course, but there’s every reason to believe one of these guys will put together an MVP-caliber season. One of them did just that a year ago.
In his Established Veterans quarterback group, Barnwell likes Minnesota Vikings signal-caller Kirk Cousins.
If the Vikings’ offensive line is better after signing Josh Kline and drafting Garrett Bradbury, Cousins can add that to the league’s best wide receiver pairing and a running game that should be better with Gary Kubiak coming on board as an adviser. A great defense should ensure an impressive record if Cousins holds up his end of the bargain too. If the Vikings go 13-3 and Cousins has a great season, he’ll be up there.
Among running backs, Barnwell sees New York Giants back Saquon Barkley as the most likely candidate. Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt is his choice as the most likely defensive player, and Justin Tucker is the most-likely kicker.
But Mahomes is not without his fans among national writers and talking heads. Barnwell’s article includes a video from an ESPN NFL Live segment where Josina Anderson enthusiastically picks Mahomes as the front-runner for this year’s MVP, and Damien Woody picks Wentz and Mike Tannenbaum goes with Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald.
MVPeats are not unknown. On two separate occasions, Peyton Manning was picked in back-to-back years. Joe Montana was selected in both 1989 and 1990. But both of those quarterbacks were well into their careers. Should Mahomes win the award in 2019, he would be the youngest quarterback to repeat, and would draw comparisons to the great running back Jim Brown — who won the inaugural AP MVP in his rookie season of 1957, and then again in 1958.
What do you think?
What chance would you give Patrick Mahomes to repeat as NFL MVP?
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