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Packers QB Aaron Rodgers Favored on 2018 NFL MVP Odds

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Aaron Rodgers will have to overcome a daunting schedule to make good on being the favorite to be chosen the NFL’s most valuable player this upcoming season.

As NFL training camps open, the Green Bay Packers quarterback is a +550 favorite on the 2018 NFL MVP odds, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The reigning MVP, Tom Brady (+800) of the New England Patriots, is the second favorite, followed by Carson Wentz (+850) of the reigning Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles.

The honor has become a quarterback award, having gone to a passer in 14 of the last 17 seasons.

Rodgers, a two-time NFL MVP, has a good pre-written narrative since the Packers are seeking a bounce-back season after missing the playoffs for the first time in almost a decade in 2017. There is a chance of voter fatigue with Brady, who has won the MVP award three times, but never back-to-back (something only Peyton Manning has pulled off in this century).

The fact that the Eagles won it all last season after Wentz was sidelined might work against him removing any doubts of how important he is in Philly.

Beyond that big three, the top of the board also offers the New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees (+1500), the San Francisco 49ers’ Jimmy Garoppolo (+1500), the Carolina Panthers’ Cam Newton (+2000), the Seattle Seahawks’ Russell Wilson (+2000) and the Houston Texans’ Deshaun Watson (+2000).

As anyone angling to land Alvin Kamara in a fantasy draft knows, the Saints are no longer a pass-happy team these days and that might work against Brees compiling MVP numbers. Newton and Wilson’s respective teams also appear to be in down cycles.

Garoppolo and Watson, who are both looking to complete their first full seasons as starters (the former due to a trade, the latter due to an injury) are much more intriguing longer shots. Of the two, Watson might have more upside due to both his current price and the relatively softer competition in the AFC South.

Only one quarterback – Earl Morrall in 1968 – has ever had a MVP season immediately after changing teams, so that might give bettors cold feet about the Minnesota Vikings’ Kirk Cousins (+2200). Or maybe it shouldn’t, seeing how so few MVP-calibre passers change teams during their peak years.

Brady (+400) and Brees (+400) are also co-favorites to lead the league in passing yards, although no player over the age of 40 has ever led the NFL in that stat. Interestingly enough, no quarterback under age 30 has racked up the most yards in a season since 2010. The assumption that will continue could mean that bookmakers and bettors alike are overlooking younger talents, such as the Kansas City Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes (+3300) and the Texans’ Watson (+4000), who are each second-year pros.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

Two teams are set to dominate the 2019 NFL Draft: Patriots and…the Raiders?

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The owner of the 2019 NFL Draft? Oakland, with rookie GM Mike Mayock, who counts Bill Belichick as one of his best friends in football.

The power broker, potentially, of the 2019 NFL Draft? New England, which will have the ammo to move up, down and sideways—and Belichick has always loved wheeling and dealing on draft weekend.

The Raiders have four picks in the top 35. The Patriots have one pick in the top 55. But that’s a misleading part of the story. There’s great depth in this draft from pick 25 to 100 and even deeper, some scouts at the Senior Bowl thought. So there could be fine value in the Patriot picks when they are slated to choose five times in a 45-pick span from 56 to 101.

Raiders and Patriots picks in the top 110 overall choices of the draft, as of today:

• New England: 1st round, 32nd overall; 2-56; 2-64; 3-73; 3-97^; 3-101^

• Oakland: 1st round, 4th overall; 1-24; 1-27; 2-35; 3-66; 4-106

^ Projected compensatory picks for the losses of Nate Solder and Malcolm Butler in free agency, as calculated by Over the Cap’s Nick Korte.

Read more from Peter King’s Football Morning in America by clicking here

Bengals coach Zac Taylor has had no time to process the Rams’ crushing Super Bowl LIII loss

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Don’t you always wonder what it’s like for a man to coach in the Super Bowl, then, a day or two later, get introduced as the new coach of Team X? It’s crazy. Happened twice last week. The Patriots found it odd that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross was in their Atlanta lobby at 9 a.m. Monday, 5.5 hours after the Super Bowl victory party ended, to ferry new coach Brian Flores (ex-Patriots defensive coordinator) to south Florida to be introduced as coach Monday afternoon. Zac Taylor had a few more hours to get his family to Cincinnati. The former Rams quarterback coach’s introductory press conference was Tuesday.

So it was interesting to hear Taylor’s reaction over the weekend when I asked him: “How disappointing was it to play the way your offense played in the Super Bowl?”

“I haven’t had a chance to process it, quite honestly,” he said from Cincinnati. “There just hasn’t been time. I haven’t watched the game. Honestly, I’m conflicted. It’s devastating to work so hard to get to the championship game, and for your entire team to pour everything they’ve got into it, and then to lose like that.

“But five or six hours after the game, I’m on a plane to Cincinnati, on the way to fulfill a dream I’ve had for so long—to be a head coach in the NFL. And then your brain goes there. It’s just … it’s just the way it is, and you’ve got to turn the page.”

There was some discomfort in his voice, bordering on pain. It’s easy to sit back and say, Buck up, buddy. You’re about to make millions to coach a football team. True, but if you’ve been a football coach for a while, and you help your team get to the Super Bowl, regardless of the outcome, it’s got to be odd to just walk out the door a few hours after the biggest game of all of your lives, no time to process or adjust, and you move on while everyone else wallows.

One other question. I asked Taylor if he’d had much of a chance to consider how close the Rams came to taking a lead with four minutes left in the third quarter, when Jason McCourty, panic-stricken, ran 20 yards in 2.4 seconds (per NFL Next Gen Stats) to bat a decisive touchdown away from Brandin Cooks in the back of the end zone. If Jared Goff was a millisecond quicker with his throw, the touchdown would have given LA a 7-3 lead and put huge pressure on New England. Instead, the Rams settled for a field goal to tie it, 3-3.

Taylor: Sigh.

“In football, you just miss by inch sometimes,” he said. “You can be an inch from … “

Sigh again.

“That’s football in a nutshell. That’s football.”

I thought that would be it from Taylor, but he brightened, as his mentor Sean McVay would have. Taylor continued, “Criticism, pressure, adversity. We want our staff and our players to understand that this is the NFL. This is why you do this job. The energy, the camaraderie, can’t be duplicated, except maybe at the craps table in Vegas when you’re on a roll.”

The Bengals have needed some energy, and an offensive spur. I’m looking forward to seeing what Taylor can provide.

Read more from Peter King’s Football Morning in America by clicking here