Although he did not receive a Most Valuable Player vote for the 2021-22 season, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes enters the offseason as the co-favorite for the next award, per Caesar’s Sportsbook. Mahomes joins the 2021-22 league MVP, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, at 7-1 odds to lead the field.
AFC quarterbacks are well represented in the top five — and on the Chiefs’ 2022 schedule. Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills is ranked third at 9-1 odds. Joe Burrow of the AFC Champion Cincinnati Bengals and Justin Herbert of the Los Angeles Chargers round out the top five at 12-1 and 14-1 odds respectfully. The Chiefs will host the Bills next season while playing the Bengals on the road. As a division opponent, the Chiefs will face the Chargers twice.
Another division opponent quarterback, Las Vegas Raiders starter Derek Carr, is tied with Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts and San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel for 14th with 40-1 odds.
The frontrunners Mahomes and Rodgers have never faced each other.
In 2019, Mahomes missed their much anticipated Sunday Night Football matchup following a knee injury. The two were scheduled to face off during Week 9 of the recently-concluded season; Rodgers missed the game after being placed on the COVID-19 reserve list.
Rodgers has yet to commit to playing the 2022 season. His most recent offensive coordinator, Nathaniel Hackett, was recently introduced as the new head coach of the Denver Broncos, fueling suspicion they may try to swing a trade for the now four-time MVP.
The question of where Rodgers plays appears to have no effect on his odds for next season’s award.
“If he stays in Green Bay, he will probably stay the same price. He won’t go to a team with lesser talent. He’s only going to go where he can win a title,” Caesars Sportsbook director of trading Craig Mucklow told ESPN, while also not assuming regression for the 38-year-old Rodgers. “Age is just a number because really the two front-runners last year were [Tom] Brady and Rodgers.”
The Chiefs will play each team from the NFC West in 2022 — a division the sportsbook recognizes as being full of top talent. Quarterback Matthew Stafford of the Super Bowl Champion Los Angeles Rams is slated sixth with 15-1 odds — while the MVP of Super Bowl LVI, wide receiver Cooper Kupp, is tied for 10th in the odds with Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray at 25-1. The Chiefs will host the Rams and travel to face the Cardinals. They will also host the Seattle Seahawks — whose quarterback Russell Wilson is listed at 30-1. The Chiefs will travel to the bay area to face Samuel and the 49ers.
Two running backs rank in the top 15 — and the Chiefs will see both of them in 2022. Derrick Henry of the Tennessee Titans ranks seventh at 18-1 while the reigning rushing champion, Jonathan Taylor of the Indianapolis Colts, is tied for 12th with Wilson at 30-1. The Titans will travel to Arrowhead, and the Chiefs will meet the Colts on the road.
Baltimore Ravens and Dallas Cowboys quarterbacks Lamar Jackson and Dak Prescott, respectively, are tied in the eighth position with 22-1 odds. For the first time since they became starters, Mahomes and Jackson will not face each other in the regular season. Having just seen the Cowboys in Week 11, the Chiefs and Cowboys conceivably will not play again until the 2025 season.
One candidate the Chiefs presumably will not see is quarterback Tom Brady, who recently announced his retirement. As a sign that the gambling industry does not fully believe that he is finished, the book is taking bets for Brady to wind the hardware, listing him at 45-1, good to rank 17th. A last-minute Brady change-of-heart would likely see him returning to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a scheduled Chiefs’ road opponent.
With the Chiefs already scheduled to face 11 MVP candidates, uncertainty surrounding Rodgers and Brady threatens to add to the gauntlet of elite players on deck for next season.