- Tua Tagovailoa MVP odds are down to +550 after Week 2, crowning him as an early-season favorite.
- NFL MVP odds for 2023 are dominated by quarterbacks – particularly in the AFC.
- Jalen Hurts’ MVP odds have emerged as a popular public target.
- NFL MVPs are rarely given to running backs, but 2023 could have one key exception.
The NFL season is now underway, which means it’s the perfect time to start breaking down NFL odds and getting involved in NFL futures betting.
Fortunately, I write and analyze major futures markets like Super Bowl odds. I also closely follow (and write about) the week-to-week evolutions of the NFL MVP betting market, too.
Here are some early notes and numbers that should give you a great baseline to bet your ticket.
NFL Odds To Win MVP: History Matters, So Pick a Quarterback
Any time you’re betting into an awards market for futures, it’s important to consider the nature and history of recent award winners.
For both NFL MVPs and Heisman Trophy winners, the award has become heavily quarterback-centric over the last 10 to 15 years. (And by the way, I write about Heisman Trophy odds, too.)
For NFL MVP specifically, only one non-quarterback has won the award over the last 16 seasons. That was Adrian Peterson in 2012, when he returned quickly after an ACL tear and came eight yards short of breaking Eric Dickerson’s single-season record. Peterson finished with 2,097 yards.
Other than that, it’s all quarterbacks. I’ve provided the full historical list dating back to 1957 at the bottom of this article, in case you want to review everything before betting into the market.
The history is clear, though. If you want to bet a skill player, head over to AP Offensive Player of the Year. AP NFL MVP, though – that’s become an award for quarterbacks.
Zach Wilson’s odds to win NFL MVP at @BetMGM
+25000: This morning
+15000: Now pic.twitter.com/6LVeLJcrBn
— John Ewing (@johnewing) September 12, 2023
NFL MVP Odds 2023
|Player||Current Odds||Opening Odds||Highest Finish|
|Tua Tagovailoa||550||1000||T-9th (2022)|
|Patrick Mahomes||650||650||Winner (2022)|
|Josh Allen||900||650||2nd (2020)|
|Jalen Hurts||900||1000||2nd (2022)|
|Trevor Lawrence||1200||1400||T-7th (2022|
|Lamar Jackson||1200||1600||Winner (2019)|
|Joe Burrow||1600||650||4th (2022)|
|Justin Herbert||1600||900||T-9th (2022)|
|Dak Prescott||1600||1400||6th (2016)|
|Derek Carr||4000||4000||T-3rd (2016)|
|Micah Parsons||4000||15000||T-7th (2022|
|Tyreek Hill||6600||10000||T-9th (2022)|
|Justin Jefferson||6600||10000||5th (2022)|
AFC Quarterbacks Dominate NFL MVP Odds for 2023
It’s not terribly surprising to see the three most popular AFC quarterbacks – Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow, Josh Allen – at the top of the table here. NFL fans and bettors alike widely consider these three players to be among the best quarterbacks in football right now.
Mahomes, who is the reigning MVP, is an understandably popular choice among both sharp and public bettors. As of Sept. 12 at the BetMGM online sportsbook, 9.4% of all NFL MVP tickets and 14.9% of all MVP handle are on Mahomes, which trails only other player. (More on that popular guy in a second!)
There may be some reticence to bet on a back-to-back MVP performance, but bettors with larger bankrolls are clearly unafraid to go back to the well with Mahomes. There is even precedent for repeat MVP performances, since Aaron Rodgers won the award in consecutive years as recently as 2020-21.
Burrow is third in tickets (8.8%) and fourth in handle handle (8.9%). However, his odds have fallen down the board a few slots after the Bengals’ 0-2 start. (Before you panic, do remember that the Bengals also started 0-2 last season.)
Allen opened as a +650 co-favorite with Burrow and Mahomes but has slipped down just a bit after betting appetites were more moderate. His 3.7% of tickets is behind six other AFC quarterbacks alone, including Lamar Jackson and Trevor Lawrence.
Mahomes +650 to win 2023-24 NFL MVP.
Co-favorite with Joe Burrow and Josh Allen. pic.twitter.com/rfEjxt8E9N
— John Ewing (@johnewing) February 16, 2023
Jalen Hurts’ MVP Odds Demonstrate Public Popularity
Few NFL players have had a better run these last 12 months than Jalen Hurts. A strong finish to his third NFL season netted an NFC Championship for his team and a massive contract extension for himself.
Whether or not the Eagles will continue to thrive with much of their salary cap now invested in Hurts is an open question. However, Hurts’ dual-threat nature, lower-body strength, and recent contract news has highlighted him as a clear public betting target.
There’s still a lot of time left in the market here, but Hurts has emerged as a clear betting favorite among ticket-holders, even if the odds don’t yet reflect that. With 14% of all bets, Hurts is the single most popular NFL MVP ticket at BetMGM.
There is some logic to this. In MVP races across most sports, players often need an initial season to pop onto MVP radars, then a follow-up season to earn the award. With Hurts fresh off a Super Bowl appearance, he’s clearly proved he belongs in the conversation.
There’s also his schedule to consider, which should provide plenty of opportunities for wins and stat accumulation in a top-heavy NFC.
But since the Eagles match up against the AFC East this year, that means he’ll have head-to-head opportunities against Allen and Tua Tagovailoa – both fellow MVP contenders.
There are also some downsides to consider. Hurts is +900, which is fourth in the table. That seems like an awfully steep price for someone who’s only really had one strong year of professional performance. A step back seems just as likely – if not more likely – than a step forward.
NFL MVP: Longshots To Consider For 2023
If you’re considering a position in the NFL MVP odds market for this year, it’s generally worth it to spend a dollar or two on longshot positions. If one of them works out, there can be some immaculate hedge opportunities down the line.
Generally speaking, I think there are so many good quarterbacks in the AFC that they’re all going to beat each other up. It’ll be hard for any one of them to stand out. With many priced at +2000 or lower, that makes it hard to bet on anyone but a prime candidate like Mahomes or Burrow.
One exception might be Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson at +4000. The Browns figure to have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL this year, which means Watson should have plenty of protection in the pocket.
Cleveland is also likely to lean on that line and dial up some designed quarterback runs to make use of Watson’s athleticism.
Because of injuries on the field and deeply poor decisions off the field, it’s been several years since anyone has seen a full season of football from Watson. From a pure handicapping standpoint, that opens up quite a perception gap. A vintage season from Watson could certainly be MVP-caliber, which is not something bettors can say about every quarterback in the NFL.
On the other hand, relying on a pool of MVP voters to reward Watson with a major reward at season’s end could be a waste of your money.
Another strategy in the same range could be to lean toward an NFC quarterback that could pile up stats and wins against a manageable schedule. That could be Seattle quarterback Geno Smith (+8000), who PFF graded as a top-10 quarterback in 2022.
Smith finished with higher PFF grades than Trevor Lawrence, Justin Herbert, Brock Purdy, Justin Fields, and Rodgers, among others. All five of those guys are 2023 MVP contenders whose odds are either equal to or above Smith in the table.
The risk, of course, is that Smith is a journeyman with only one good year to his name. As is the case with Hurts, some regression is more likely than not. But on the off chance that he gets even better in Year 2 with Seattle, the ceiling for an improved Seahawks offense could be very high indeed. Did I mention he’ll have Jaxon Smith-Njigba now, too?
Geno’s 2023 Seahawks offense about to be on par with his 2012 WVU offense
— Chase Kiddy (@chaseakiddy) April 28, 2023
One last name I like is Christian McCaffrey at +6600, already far up the board from his opening position of 100-to-1. This is a true longshot, as I have already laid out the barren history of non-quarterbacks in this award market in recent years.
But I think multi-use guys like McCaffrey offer unique X-factor qualities in an MVP race that traditional running backs and receivers do not. McCaffrey will play his first full season in 2023 under Kyle Shanahan’s powerful offense, which means he is likely to play the best season of his professional career.
On a team where a young, inexperienced quarterback is likely to run Shanahan’s offense quietly and efficiently, it’s a guy like McCaffrey who’s likely to pop as the true star of the offense. That’s different than most other teams, where this sort of cultural orbit nearly always centers around the quarterback by merit of the modern NFL.
Because of his talent and his team circumstances, McCaffrey is absolutely worth a shot at such a lucrative payout.
NFL MVP By Year
|Year||AP NFL MVP Winner||Position|
|2012||Adrian Peterson||Running Back|
|2006||LaDainian Tomlinson||Running Back|
|2005||Shaun Alexander||Running Back|
|2000||Marshall Faulk||Running Back|
|1998||Terrell Davis||Running Back|
|1997||Barry Sanders||Running Back|
|1993||Emmitt Smith||Running Back|
|1991||Thurman Thomas||Running Back|
|1985||Marcus Allen||Running Back|
|1979||Earl Campbell||Running Back|
|1977||Walter Payton||Running Back|
|1973||OJ Simpson||Running Back|
|1972||Larry Brown||Running Back|
|1971||Alan Page||Defensive Tackle|
|1965||Jim Brown||Running Back|
|1962||Jim Taylor||Running Back|
|1961||Paul Hornung||Running Back|
|1958||Jim Brown||Running Back|
|1957||Jim Brown||Running Back|
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