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The NFL hasn’t seen a second-year quarterback cop MVP honors in more than 30 years, but there is no denying that the Philadelphia Eagles’ Carson Wentz could continue the string of first-time winners.
The New England Patriots’ Tom Brady, who has only won the award twice in his gilded career, is the +200 betting favorite on the NFL MVP odds board at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Wentz, whose Philadelphia Eagles lead the NFC with a 6-1 record, has vaulted up the board to second favorite at +300 after engineering a win against the Washington Redskins on Monday Night Football that wrapped up Week 7 play.
Other QBs near the top of the board include the Kansas City Chiefs’ Alex Smith (+500), Seattle Seahawks’ Russell Wilson (+700), New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees (+1600) and Houston Texans rookie Deshaun Watson (+1600). Pittsburgh Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell (+2500) and Los Angeles Rams RB Todd Gurley (+2500) are the highest skill-position stars on the board.
The NFL’s evolution into a passing league has led to quarterbacks scooping nine of the last 10 MVP awards, and all nine played for a team with a double-digit win total. The lone exception was in 2012, when running back Adrian Peterson won for a 10-win Minnesota Vikings teams that earned a wild-card playoff berth.
Brady has a Super Bowl ring for each finger on his right hand, but has only won the MVP twice, in 2007 and 2010, suggesting the sportswriters who vote are quick to look for another QB on a top team. New England is a 7.5-point favorite this week hosting the San Diego Chargers, while Philadelphia is a 13-point home favorite against the San Francisco 49ers.
With the Eagles looking like the class of the NFC – pending how they absorb a season-ending loss to nine-time Pro Bowl LT Jason Peters, Wentz’s blind-side protector – Wentz might be worth a play. The last two winners, Matt Ryan (2016) and Cam Newton (2015), each went on to lead their teams to the NFC title.
The price on Smith might reflect an expectation that Kansas City is going to regress after an impressive start. If one believes the Chiefs are for real, then it could be time to pounce on Smith at that price. There are also odds available on Smith’s backfield mate, rookie RB Kareem Hunt (+3300), but if the Chiefs ration his usage in the second half of the season, Hunt’s impressive yardage totals will suffer.
The value pick might be Brees. Incredibly, he has never won an MVP even as he moves toward career milestones of 70,000 yards and 500 touchdowns. There could be a groundswell of support if he is able to keep the Saints in contention for a playoff spot.
For more info, picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the new OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes, or check it out at OddsShark.libsyn.com.