2020 NFL MVP Betting Odds, Candidates, and Picks

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In 2018, Patrick Mahomes defied the odds (50-1 to be exact) by winning the NFL MVP award in only his first year as a starter and his second year in the NFL. I was lucky enough to bet on him before the season began. However, I didn’t have the same foresight a year later when Lamar Jackson completed a similar feat. Jackson, too, was only in his second year, and it was his first full year starting. The quarterback used his arms and legs to win NFL MVP, cashing some monstrous bets at as long as 125-1 odds.

Will the recent trend of NFL MVP dark horses/longshots continue in 2020? Will Mahomes, now the MVP favorite, add another trophy to his mantle? Or will Jackson be the first player in over a decade to successfully defend the prestigious individual title?

We’ll try to answer all those questions and more as we look at NFL MVP betting trends, breakdown some of the more interesting 2020 NFL MVP candidates and odds, and conclude by making our NFL MVP betting picks for the upcoming season.

NFL MVP Betting Trends for the 2020 Season

  • Quarterbacks have won the last seven NFL MVPs awards
  • Adrian Peterson was the last non-QB to win MVP (2012)
  • Since 2001, only one NFL MVP has played on a team with fewer than 11 wins

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2020 NFL MVP Betting Odds and Candidates

Lamar Jackson +700

Best Price: DraftKings Sportbook

Implied Probability: 12.5%

In 2019, Lamar Jackson paralyzed defenses on his way to receiving unanimous MVP Award honors. Just 22 years old at the time, Jackson, who is still younger than the most recent No. 1 overall pick, threw for over 3,000 yards, ran for 1200 more to beat Michael Vick’s single-season QB rushing record, and accounted for 43 total touchdowns while leading the Baltimore Ravens to 14 regular-season wins, a division title, and the No. 1 seed in the AFC.

Jackson is spectacular but can he become the fifth quarterback to win back-to-back MVP awards in the Super Bowl era? It hasn’t been done since Peyton Manning successfully defended his 200 MVP. In doing so, Jackson would also join the likes of Joe Namath, Joe Montana, and Brett Favre. Talk about good company.

The answer to the question is of course yes. But that’s still not enough to bet on Jackson, who is now second to Patrick Mahomes in MVP odds at online sports betting sites.

As we’ve recently seen from quarterbacks who have led the league in touchdown percentages, Jackon’s numbers are likely to regress.

Mahomes’ touchdown percentage fell from 8.6% to 5.4% one year after his MVP season. In 2017, Carson Wentz led the league in touchdown percentage only to see it drop from 7.5% to 5.2% the following year. Jackson’s remarkable 2019 touchdown percentage of 9% is unlikely to hold up. That doesn’t mean he still can’t win MVP but it does mean it will at least be a closer race than we saw a season ago.

The bigger question is if the dual-threat QB can stay healthy while running with so much fearlessness and fervor.

At +700 odds, the implied probability of Jackson winning MVP again is 13.5%. What are the odds Jackson is forced to miss at least a week or two due to an injury? I’m no doctor but they can’t be far off.

And though the bar is set pretty low, I do expect defenses to do a better job at containing Jackson in the running game. More than a season’s worth of film to scout should help them prepare.

In addition to Jackson’s potential for injury, Mahomes, who sat out two weeks in 2019, is the biggest factor in the MVP race if he stays healthy. All things considered, I’m juking Jackson’s short odds in 2020.

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Tom Brady +1800

Best Price: FanDuel Sportsbook

Implied Probability: 5.3%

Last month I asked if Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were overvalued in the futures market. To that, my answer was yes. Things haven’t changed.

Brady will certainly improve from one of his worst offensive seasons now that he has some high-quality weapons in receivers like Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. The addition of longtime friend Robert Gronkowski will help as well.

Still, Brady’s recent numbers are disconcerting, especially for someone who will turn 43 by the time Week 1 of the NFL kicks off.

So is the ageless wonder really declining? I know the man seems immortal but consider this: Brady’s 2019 season included his lowest QBR since 2004 and his fewest touchdown passes since 2006. And 2019 wasn’t the beginning of Brady’s decline. In 2018, Brady averaged only 7.7 yards per attempt, good for 24th in the NFL.

Passing on Brady’s MVP odds is a no brainer.

Dak Prescott +1500

Best Price: BetMGM

Implied Probability: 6.3%

Prescott’s MVP odds have already fallen from +2000 to +1500. The movement can be explained in part by the Cowboys drafting rookie wide receiver CeeDee Lamb. Lamb’s arrival gives Prescott a third receiving threat in addition to Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup. But mainly, bettors like Prescott because the Cowboys offense has been one of the best in the league since Prescott has been under center.

Dak MVP talk increased throughout the 2019 season before Dallas dropped four of their final six games and missed the playoffs. Prescott finished the season one yard shy of the franchise’s single-season pass record held by Tony Romo.

Now, Prescott has a new coach after the Cowboys parted ways with Jason Garrett, signing former Packers head coach, Mike McCarthy. McCarthy is keeping Dallas OC Kellen Moore onboard which should help with the transition during this unprecedented offseason.

The Cowboys offense is likely to put up numbers that insert Prescott in the MVP conversation, but with a quarterback like Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson standing in the way of MVP votes, I prefer backing a quarterback with longer odds than those we’re getting from Prescott. And no, it’s not Kyler Murray…

Kyler Murray +2600

Best Price: BetMGM

Implied Probability: 3.7%

Kyler Murray has become one of the most popular dark horse candidates to win the 2020 NFL MVP after the Cardinals made a block-buster trade for wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. The hype surrounding Murray is justified, but betting on him to win MVP is not.

Fresh off a rookie season which included 3,700 passing yards, plus 644 yards and four touchdowns on the ground, Murray is set to make a leap in his second year under Kliff Kingsbury. The head coach’s fast-paced, spread offense that he brought from his time in college only adds to Murray’s intrigue and upside. The “Air Raid” as some call it, helped Murray earn Offensive Rookie of the Year honors, as the quarterback seemed to improve each and every week during this first year in the NFL.

Now the signal-caller has arguably the best receiver in the game to throw to, so what’s not to love?

The reason why Murray won’t win MVP — at least not yet — is simple: the Cardinals won’t win enough games.

As I highlighted under MVP Betting Trends at the beginning of this article, only one MVP has come from a team that has won fewer than 11 games. The Arizona Cardinals win projection? Over/Under 7 wins at FanDuel Sportsbook. They also share a division with the defending NFC champs and the Seattle Seahawks.

In fact, Arizona is picked to finish last in the NFC West according to oddsmakers. Betting on the Cardinals +900 to win the division at FanDuel Sportsbook — essentially a prerequisite to Murray winning MVP — might be more prudent. However if you do insist on backing Murray, you’ll want to do so by signing up at BetMGM where he’s listed +2600.

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2020 NFL MVP Betting Picks

Baker Mayfield +5000

Best Price: FoxBet

Implied Probability: 2%

Similar to Murray’s current hype, Mayfield was the MVP betting darling this time last year following the Browns acquisition of Odell Beckham Jr. Mayfield wasn’t a popular pick merely because of OBJ, though. Mayfield was coming off a season where he eclipsed Russell Wilson and Peyton Manning to set the NFL rookie touchdown record. As we all know by now, especially those who bet on him and/or the Browns in 2019, things didn’t go as planned.

Despite the fanfare, it wasn’t long before Mayfield and the Browns were sent back to the dog house. To say Mayfield struggled in 2019 might be an understatement. He tossed 21 interceptions while regressing in nearly every statistical category other than total yards. The Browns finished the season with six wins.

It actually sounds crazy looking back, but Mayfield entered the 2019 season with the second-shortest odds to win NFL MVP!

Anyways, the Browns’ struggles weren’t all Mayfield’s fault. Aside from Freddie Kitchens proving to be inept as a play-caller, the Browns gave Mayfield little protection, and Beckham Jr. did not manifest into the superstar they expected. Instead, the receiver recorded career worsts in drops and catch rate. Not only were his 11 drops the most of his career but it was also the most in the NFL.

The Browns addressed the offensive line concerns in the offseason, drafting Jedrick Wills in the first round and picking up Jack Conklin. The two are presumed to be the Browns’ starting offensive tackles and hope to give Mayfield some much-needed cushion in the pocket.

There’s also reason to believe Beckham will return to form. The receiver reportedly played with a sports hernia throughout 2019, which he underwent surgery for in January.

Additionally, the Browns signed tight end Austin Hooper in free agency and will have Kareem Hunt in the backfield for presumably an entire season. Nick Chubb is still the Browns primary rusher but Hunt has proven to be a formidable receiving threat as a running back. In just eight games, he racked up 37 receptions gaining an average of 7.7 yards.

Mayfield’s short MVP odds last year were the product of an overreaction by bettors and oddsmakers but so too are his long MVP odds heading into the 2020 season.

Mayfield +5000 at FoxBet is my favorite longshot bet to win NFL MVP for 2020.

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Patrick Mahomes +400

Best Price: PointsBet

Implied Probability: 20%

We’ve already talked about Patrick Mahomes a bit in this piece. Mahomes kicks off his 2020 MVP campaign on Thursday Night Football versus Deshaun Watson and the Texans in just a few weeks. If Mahomes stays healthy, unlike last year, it’s tough to picture anyone else winning. Mahomes missed two games and played on a bad ankle for most of the season, yet still threw for over 4,000 yards (10th) while connecting for 26 touchdown passes (8th) and finding the end zone twice with his legs.

Mahomes is hands down the best player in the NFL. If you didn’t believe it before the playoffs, you probably believe it now.

Not only is Mahomes the best player in the NFL but he’s the best player on the best team in the NFL . The Chiefs win total is 11.5 at PointsBet, tied with the Ravens for the highest mark among NFL teams. In the offseason, Kansas City’s front office was able to keep wide receivers Sammy Watkins and Demarcus Robinson, then used the draft to add to Mahomes’ already loaded arsenal by selecting LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Edwards-Helaire was drafted by Kansas City for his receiving and route-running ability. He’s now among favorites to win Offensive Rookie of the Year.

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Moreover, following the Chiefs’ first Super Bowl victory in 50 years, Mahomes said on HBO’s The Shop that he was just beginning to truly understand how to read defenses. So it’s quite possible we haven’t even seen the best from a quarterback who has already played at historic levels.

Do I think Mahomes wins at least one MVP over the next four years? Yes. But given the uncertainty of the 2020 NFL season, I don’t want to bet on these short of odds. However, if you’re sticking with Mahomes: Bet on Mahomes +400 to win NFL MVP at PointsBet!

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