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.