Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz looked like he was a shoo-in for the MVP award this season. They were 10-2 going into last week and had the lead against the Rams when Wentz went down with an knee injury. Unfortunately for the Eagles, he has a torn ACL and will miss the rest of this season and possibly the start of next year.
Now that he’s most likely out of the race with three regular season games to go, there is no clear-cut favorite to win the MVP this season.
We look at the top betting favorites and decide if any are worth putting a few jellybeans down on them.
Can Wentz still win the MVP, even though he won’t play the final three games?
QB Tom Brady (-200) – The Patriots are 10-3 on the season and Brady had one of the worst games of his career in a loss to Miami on Monday Night Football. He still leads the league in passing yards (3,885) and passer rating (105.2). He has thrown 27 touchdowns to six interceptions. Brady could win the MVP if no one else takes it from him. Someone will need to wow the voters.
QB Carson Wentz (+400) – There’s still an outside shot that Wentz could still win the MVP award. He threw 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions and lead his team to a league-best 11-2 record. He is currently the leader in passing touchdowns by four and will most likely be surpassed by Russell Wilson, Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady and maybe Philip Rivers and Matthew Stafford. If those quarterbacks go into a slump and he’s still right there among the leaders by year-end, he could still grab the MVP award.
QB Russell Wilson (+400) – Seattle is 8-5 and aren’t having the kind of slam dunk season Wilson would need to get the MVP award. He has already tied his record for interceptions (11) and his passing percentage is a career-worst (61.9%). His offensive line is in shambles and he’s paying the price. I don’t think Wilson would be a wise bet.
WR Antonio Brown (+700) – I like the MVP odds Brown currently carries right now. With three games left, he already has 99 receptions, 1,509 yards and nine touchdowns. His opponents for those games are the Patriots, Texans and Browns…who are all poor against the pass. He could likely pass Calvin Johnson’s record of 1,964 receiving yards and could even surpass 2,000 receiving yards. If he hits that mark, the man deserves the MVP award.
QB Drew Brees (+1000) – The reason Brees is one of the MVP betting favorite is because of the Saints record of 9-4. He isn’t the main reason they are tied for the NFC South lead. The Saints backfield is the main reason, but running backs Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara split the vote. Brees has been efficient, but I don’t think he will win the MVP this season.
RB Le’Veon Bell (+5000) – Bell is leading the league in rushing with 1,105 yards, but he is only averaging 3.9 ypc. Chiefs RB Kareem Hunt trails him by 59 yards and has rushed the ball 65 less times. Bell is getting a lot of carries, but Brown deserves the MVP more than Bell.
RB Todd Gurley (+5000) – Gurley should probably have better odds than Bell since he’s been way more effective. He’s rushed for 1,035 yards, 10 rushing touchdowns AND has 51 catches for 602 receiving yards and three receiving touchdowns. There’s a shot that he will have over 2k total yards and probably approach close to 20 total touchdowns. Gurley is my longshot pick since I could see him leapfrogging a few of these guys if Brown fails to break Calvin Johnson’s receiving record.
QB Alex Smith (+7500) – Smith was the front-runner for the award through the first five games of the season, but he cooled off and was ice cold up until the last two weeks. Smith would need an unbelievable final three weeks of the season to jump all of these contenders…I don’t see it happening.
QB Jared Goff (+7500) – If Goff started out the year a little better, we could have been talking about Goff being the leader of the pack. The Rams relied heavily on Todd Gurley in the year and Goff didn’t really get going until the Thursday Night Football game against the Niners in Week 3. He has a ton of weapons and should be the MVP race many more times in his career.
If I were to pick one, I’d lay some jellybeans on Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown. He has favorable match-ups the final three games and is a threat to break the season receiving yards record. If I wanted to lay a small amount on an underdog, I’d go for a hail mary and take Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley.
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.