Awards Watch: Official NFL MVP Ladder For 2017 Season
All MVP odds come courtesy of Bovada and are accurate leading into games set to kick off during Week 10. Players are ranked in order of increasing appeal to potential bettors.
5. Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams (+10000)
Almost all of our top MVP candidates play the quarterback position—except this guy.
Todd Gurley is the straw that stirs the drink that is the Los Angeles Rams’ offense. They place first in points scored per game entering Week 10, and while Jared Goff has been good under center, he hasn’t been MVP great.
That honor belongs to Gurley, who continues to be a workhorse out of the backfield. Not only is he still carrying a heavy workload on the ground, but he’s morphed into a viable option in the passing game. Kareem Hunt of the Kansas City Chiefs is the only player to rack up more yards from scrimmage, and he has the benefit of a sneaky-great quarterback who isn’t afraid to take chances in Alex Smith.
Gurley doesn’t have that type of safety net. Nor do the Los Angeles Rams create an especially large bundle of wide-open lanes for him with big-time threats downfield. He is worker bee through and through, and although his odds are far from favorite level, he’s the most intriguing dark horse around so long as the Rams are winning.
4. Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs (+800)
Mr. Game Manager Extraordinaire is finally tilting more toward the superstar line for quarterbacks.
Alex Smith is usually celebrated for his offensive economics—very few turnovers, lots of short passes, and a ton of handoffs that pave the way for a few fantastic play-actions that, in turn, permit him to throw some touchdowns. But not this year.
The Chiefs are more reliant on his arm than ever, even as Hunt tears up the league out of the backfield. Smith ranks among the top four in the NFL in total passing touchdowns and quarterback rating, and his adjusted net yards per pass attempts is second to none when looking only at quarterbacks who have attempted more than one pass and started in more than two games.
What’s more, the Chiefs offense currently ranks fifth in points per game, and the team is tracking toward an 11-win season. He’ll get plenty of consideration once the MVP ballots are sent out.
3. Tom Brady, New England Patriots (+210)
There are only three certainties in life: Death, taxes and Tom Brady stealing plenty of MVP love.
At first blush it looked like the New England Patriots might not be good enough for him to garner attention. They dropped two of their first four games, and the defense was struggling. That latter part has nothing to do with Brady, but NFL MVPs traditionally hail from exceptionally good teams.
That won’t be a problem now. The Patriots are 6-2 entering Week 10, arming themselves with the third-best record in football. The offense is seventh in points scored per game, Brady is tied for fifth in total touchdown passes, and his interception rate trails only Alex Smith among everyday starters under center.
Voter fatigue will detract from his appeal. People are sick of recognizing him for cyclical greatness. But he has the second-best MVP odds at the sportsbooks for a reason: He deserves them. And if the payout were just a tad higher on potential wagers, he might even be moved up a spot or two on this list.
2. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles (Even)
Carson Wentz could technically finish first. He has the best odds overall for a reason: He’s piloting a top-two offense for a Philadelphia Eagles squad with the NFL’s best record. And he’s doing so while having thrown more touchdowns than anyone in the league, with a passer rating that outstrips the mark Aaron Rodgers was posting in Green Bay before suffering what should be a season-ending injury.
Knowing how often this award goes to whoever is considered the best player on the best team, Wentz is a solid bet. You’d be wise to get on him now, because that even money may only decline.
Hence why he actually isn’t No. 1. Even-money dice rolls should offer more certainty than this—a la Cam Newton in 2016. That we can still talk ourselves into two, maybe three, and possibly four, other players taking home the hardware over him detracts from his betting mystique, albeit only slightly.
1. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints (+1600)
Drew Brees is quietly a fantastic option in this MVP field.
Gone are the New Orleans Saints of the past few years—the team that buoyed its stats in garbage time while vomiting points on the defensive and bowing out of games earlier than it should. That squad has been replaced by one with a half-competent defense, which has helped shine a light on a 6-2 record, which has then allowed Brees to soak up more of the spotlight.
The Saints are sixth in points scored per game, and Brees is, without question, the main reason why. He continues to spread the ball around, even accounting for his two-headed running back attack, and his QB rating is almost identical to Brady’s.
With New Orleans in line to pick up 12 victories, he’s on course to receive plenty of official endorsements. And yet, while he projects as one of the three favorites, his odds paint him as no more than a common candidate, unlike Wentz.
You’d do well to pounce on Brees before the sportsbooks start to catch on.
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