Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes Fighting Off Jalen Hurts, Lamar Jackson Through First Month
The first month of the 2022 NFL season is in the books. After trailing the action throughout the first three weeks, we’re going to look at the top NFL MVP betting odds you should consider and also stay away from. With that, we’ll highlight the biggest favorites and best longshots for you to consider betting on.
NFL MVP Odds Favorites After Week 4
Winning the MVP award is difficult because of the number of factors involved. The best candidates have the right blend of narrative for the public to embrace their MVP campaign, the statistical achievements needed to win, and team success. It’s critical for any serious candidate to have all three criteria met. Let’s dive into the MVP favorites after the first month.
Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo Bills (+275)
Already the favorite entering the season, we’re seeing Josh Allen’s MVP odds get closer to being even money. It’s surprising to see his odds drop after his uneven performance against the Baltimore Ravens, but the Bills pulled out an unlikely comeback win. Allen was fine but largely made the Ravens pay with his legs, rushing for a season-high 70 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries.
Allen’s passing has been excellent for much of the year. He’s still prone to strange miscues and mistakes but has been more accurate than he was in 2021. On the season, Allen leads the NFL with 113 completions as the Bills have found a good balance between short passes and the occasional deep shot. His completion rate is up to 67.3% and his average yards per attempt has risen from 6.8 to 7.3 since last year.
It’s hard to rank who is more entertaining between Allen, Patrick Mahomes, and Lamar Jackson, but it’s a compliment to all three to be mentioned in that same breath. We’re getting the best of Allen thus far in 2022, where he’s near the top of his production as a rusher and is combining explosiveness with efficiency as a passer. My only concern is Allen’s yards per attempt has dipped every week since the opener, and he’s prone to checking down too often.
Putting money on Allen to win MVP is a fine bet, but the return on his value really makes it difficult for me to recommend. Buffalo is a strong team, but we haven’t learned anything new to make Allen a more attractive bet today than he was four weeks ago when his odds were almost triple his current ones.
Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs (+500)
We’ve seen some great performances thus far this season, but it’s hard for me to say that anyone but Mahomes has been the best player in the NFL. This offense hasn’t missed a beat in three of four weeks without Tyreek Hill. I figured the Chiefs would be fine without Hill, but the ability to pull five touchdowns on 18 combined receptions from Mecole Hardman, Jerick McKinnon, Justin Watson, and Jody Fortson has been a sight to see.
Mahomes’ excellent playmaking and stellar accuracy have overcome the individual talent limitations throughout the receiver room. The Chiefs are reaping the rewards from investing a ton of assets into the offensive line as well, and Andy Reid’s reprioritization of the run game has certainly helped Mahomes stay effective. But it’s impossible to look at how he’s eviscerated the Chargers and Buccaneers with ease and not see an otherworldly performer.
Mahomes is on pace for a career-high completion rate, to lead the NFL in touchdowns and QBR, career-best quarterback rating, and a career-low sack rate. The days of Mahomes averaging 316 yards per game through the air are gone, but the entire league has shifted to shorter passes as defenses prioritize coverages with two-high safeties that take away big plays. Still, it’s not as if Mahomes’ 276.5 average is lacking.
There’s still some value with Mahomes at +500 even if that number was +750 two weeks ago. His highlight plays keep him freshly in the minds of voters, even if we have all gotten too used to his brilliance and creativity.
Jalen Hurts, QB, Philadelphia Eagles (+550)
Tied for the second-best odds alongside Mahomes, Jalen Hurts has been spectacular throughout the first month of the season. The dual-threat built quite the résumé in the first three weeks before suffering a statistical setback in Week 4 against the Jaguars. But you can be sure head coach Nick Sirianni and his staff are thrilled to see Hurts completing 66.7% of his passes while raising his average per attempt to 9.1 yards.
With Hurts averaging 71 more yards per game through the air than in 2021 and cutting his interception rate from 2.1 to 1.6%, he is clearly making strides. Adding A.J. Brown has been a big part of that, but Hurts has cleaner mechanics, quicker decision-making, and more confidence to attempt higher-difficulty throws. This was the progression everyone needed to see in 2022.
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Obviously, part of Hurts’ appeal is his ability to scamper for yards with his legs. He’s almost matching last year’s pace of 52.3 yards per game, which would lead to almost 900 yards on the ground if he plays all 17 games. If he can keep his current pace, Hurts would throw for 4,760 yards, 17 touchdowns, eight interceptions, and rush for 885 yards with 17 touchdowns.
It’s likely he’ll have some negative regression with passing yards but positive regression with passing scores. Regardless, that’s an MVP résumé if he’s even in the ballpark. Hurts is a real contender if he can avoid a massive slump and the Eagles continue to lead the NFL standings.
Lamar Jackson, QB, Baltimore Ravens (+500)
The Ravens lost 23-20 to the Bills in a game they had control of. Their defense continues to hemorrhage yards and points when they can’t afford to, and the offense is having more troubles than ever in key moments. As I had expected, the lack of a premier playmaking receiver on offense has limited this unit against elite foes.
I was shocked to see Jackson’s MVP odds increase this week. He was fine against a terrific Buffalo defense, completing just under a nice 69% of passes. But he also threw two interceptions and totaled only 144 yards through the air. His 73 rushing yards were needed, but it still wasn’t enough.
In some ways, this proved Jackson was more valuable to his team’s success than Allen since the entire Ravens offense relies on Jackson even more than the Bills do with Allen. For the season, Jackson is still playing extremely well, completing 65% of passes and leading the NFL in passing touchdown rate. His yards per attempt, passer rating, and QBR are close to his 2019 MVP level.
However, what did Jackson do to see better MVP odds after Week 4? I don’t know if Jackson has enough around him to win the award, even if he’s talented enough to continue creating highlight-reel runs and proving his capabilities as a passer.
NFL MVP Longshots After Week 4
Justin Herbert, QB, Los Angeles Chargers (+1500)
I’m sure Justin Herbert’s ribs would disagree but it sure doesn’t seem as if his injury is affecting his level of play. The Chargers are only 2-2, which must change in order for the third-year passer to break into the top of the MVP discussion. But Herbert’s play has been impressive, considering he’s been injured and had to overcome Keenan Allen’s absence from three games.
Herbert is a bit of a machine at this point, producing a career-best 66.9 completion rate, league-leading 1,250 yards, a career-best 1.2% interception rate, and 312.5 yards per game. His rushing game has brought zero help despite the Chargers’ efforts to address the offensive line. Austin Ekeler has produced only 3.1 yards per carry and has more receiving yards than rushing yards.
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Upcoming matchups against Cleveland, Denver, Seattle, and Atlanta all appear winnable. Herbert certainly isn’t buried in the MVP race. Winning those games and continuing to play at this level would give him a shot to compete for the award. He’ll have the numbers.
The question is whether the Chargers will have the wins after they’ve continued to deal with injuries on both sides of the ball. I think it’s worth monitoring or sprinkling a partial unit on.
Tom Brady, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+4000)
There’s no question that Tom Brady has taken a step back in the eye test this season. Whether it’s due to the Buccaneers’ running game disappearing behind an injured offensive line or a beat-up receiving corps, something is off for the 45-year-old. He doesn’t have the support he’s used to, and that’s been on display with just 37 rushing yards over the last two weeks.
But Brady’s raw numbers aren’t terrible and a hot streak from the NFC’s most talented team is far from out of the question. It’s not impossible for this team to get healthy and see Brady lead a big win streak. Voters could easily forget the optics of his first month of the season and see numbers that are decent considering the circumstances.
With a 68.4 completion rate that is the second-best of his career, a minuscule .6 interception rate that makes Aaron Rodgers proud, and arguably the best set of pass catchers in the NFL set to eventually be around him, Brady can still claw his way back into the MVP fight.