There was not a whole lot of preseason buzz surrounding the Indianapolis Colts. Andrew Luck, once considered to be the NFL’s brightest young quarterback, had missed the majority of the previous two seasons while battling through a mysterious shoulder injury. The Colts had missed the playoffs in 3 straight years entering this season, and the franchise decided to go in a new direction by hiring Frank Reich away from the Philadelphia Eagles in order to become the team’s new head coach.
Luck was ready to start the season, but nobody knew what to expect from him after missing all of that time with a throwing shoulder problem. Some of the shine had understandably worn off of Luck considering we just hadn’t seen him on the field in quite some time. There is no shortage of promising young talent in the league nowadays at the quarterback position, and Luck’s star had fallen.
However, through 12 weeks it’s safe to say that the Andrew Luck of old is back. And there’s a chance he’s never been as good as he is right now. Through the Colts’ first 11 games, the Stanford product has completed 68.4 percent of his throws for 3,112 yards with 32 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. With 5 games to go, there is a very realistic chance Luck surpasses 40 touchdowns on the season.
Most importantly, he has helped get the Colts to within striking distance of a playoff berth. Indianapolis has reeled off 5 consecutive wins entering Week 13, which makes Indy’s disastrous 1-5 start look like old news. Catching the Houston Texans in the AFC South will be tough, but the Colts can at least shoot for a Wild Card spot, which would have sounded ludicrous as recently as a month ago.
The Colts’ surge has helped propel Luck into the Most Valuable Player race. Here are the most current betting odds to win NFL MVP entering Week 13:
Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints -400
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs +250
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts +1400
Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers +2500
Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams +2800
Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams +2800
Tom Brady, New England Patriots +4000
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers +4000
As you can see, Drew Brees of the Saints and Patrick Mahomes of the Chiefs are currently lapping the field in terms of betting odds. Brees has led the Saints to 10 consecutive wins since their disastrous Week 1 loss at home to the lowly Buccaneers, while Mahomes has been lighting up scoreboards all season long for the Chiefs, who have been the NFL’s biggest surprise team thus far.
At this point it’s hard to suggest that the MVP is not Brees’ to lose. The future Hall of Famer has remarkably never won MVP in the past despite being one of the most prolific players at his position in the history of the game. All the 39-year-old has done so far this season is complete a whopping 76.4 percent of his passes for 3,135 yards with 29 touchdowns and just 2 interceptions.
The Saints are the NFL’s highest-scoring offense and they have been blasting teams of late. New Orleans’ margin of victory in their 10 straight wins is 3, 6, 15, 24, 1, 10, 10, 37, 42 and 14 points. They’re getting better as the season goes on, and it has everything to do with Brees and his productivity. That he’s doing this shortly before turning 40 in January just makes his performance even more remarkable.
Mahomes came into the season with lofty expectations after the Chiefs decided to trade Alex Smith during the offseason, but nobody could have expected this. The former Texas Tech Red Raider has completed 67.5 percent of his throws for 3,628 yards with 37 touchdowns and 10 picks thus far. The numbers are even more mind-boggling when you consider he started just one game during his rookie year a season ago.
The Chiefs have just 2 losses this season, and they remarkably scored at least 40 points in both games. The lone defeats were tough primetime road tests against the Patriots and Rams, who happen to be 2 of the odds-on favorites to win the Super Bowl this season. They lost a tough 43-40 test in Foxborough before becoming the first team in NFL history to score 50-plus points in a loss in their dramatic 54-51 loss in L.A. in Week 11.
I think the fact that Brees has never won an MVP will give him an edge with the voters. Awards voters have a long history of voting for things like this as a sort of a lifetime achievement honor. Brees is arguably a top-5 quarterback in the history of the game and he will be hunting for his second Super Bowl title this winter. Assuming the Saints keep it rolling, it will be hard to deny him the trophy.
So, Brees at -400 is an easy favorite. That said, the betting value on Mahomes at +250 speaks for itself. His claim to the MVP is about as legitimate as Brees’, but his youth may harm him here. Voters may suggest that Mahomes will have other chances to win MVP down the road, which could sway some toward Brees.
Want safety? Bet on Brees at -400. Want a little profit potential with added risk? I’d be all over betting Mahomes at +250 here.
What About Luck?
Oh, right, Andrew Luck. To be fair, the Colts haven’t exactly had a tough road so far. Their 5 straight wins have come at the expense of the Dolphins, Jaguars, Titans, Raiders and Bills. None of these teams will be making an appearance in the playoffs this season, so these are games the Colts should win.
Still, that shouldn’t take away from Luck’s amazing season. The former No. 1 overall pick has thrown at least 3 touchdown passes in each of his last 8 games, which is an insane accomplishment. He hasn’t faced a murderer’s row of defenses along the way, but playing quarterback in this league is difficult regardless of your opponent. He has been able to keep the Colts’ playoff hopes alive nearly by himself.
Luck’s viability as an MVP candidate will be tested over the next few weeks when the schedule gets a bit more tough. Indy will go on the road to face Jacksonville this week before back-to-back meetings with the Texans and Cowboys. The Jaguars have a talented defense, even if it has been a disappointment this season. The Texans and Cowboys are two of the hottest teams in football, so those won’t be easy games.
If Indianapolis is able to run the table and finish the season with a 10-game winning streak, Luck’s MVP betting odds are just going to continue to get slashed. I don’t think it’s completely out of the question to suggest the Colts can win all of these games. I do think they will come up short in Houston, but anything can happen in a divisional game. If the Colts go into the playoffs as winners of 10 straight games, Luck will have a compelling MVP case, to be sure. I would be jumping all over Luck at +1400 to win MVP at this point.
We heard quite a bit about the Rams and Chargers prior to the season. Both teams were hyped up as potential Super Bowl contenders, and so far those prognosticators are looking wise. The Rams are firmly in control of the NFC West at 10-1 through 11 games, while the Chargers are just a game south of the impressive Chiefs at 8-3 with another head-to-head matchup on the horizon.
Philip Rivers is a bit like Brees in that he’s a veteran QB without an MVP trophy on his mantle. Rivers’ resume isn’t as impressive as Brees’, but he is still a few years younger. It’s a bit ironic that the Chargers let Brees leave in free agency after drafting Rivers to be his replacement. Now, both are very much in the hunt for MVP and a Super Bowl title in the same season.
Rivers is a guy who has never fully gotten his due credit. The Chargers have finally supplied him with ample talent, and he’s happily taken advantage. Rivers has completed 69.5 percent of his throws for 3,119 yards with 26 TDs and just 6 picks thus far. He set an NFL record by completing 25 consecutive passes in LAC’s 45-10 drubbing of the lowly Cardinals in Week 12. The NC State product has now thrown multiple touchdown passes in every single game this season, which is incredible.
Barring a late surge that includes a win in Kansas City over Mahomes and the Chiefs, I think Rivers may come up just short once again in his pursuit for his first career MVP trophy. There are just too many other candidates that have been getting more publicity. Brees, Mahomes and the Rams have been the talk of the NFL all season long. The Chargers just don’t get the same exposure, so I’m not exactly bullish on Rivers’ MVP hopes at +2500.
I wrote previously this season that I think Jared Goff should be the favorite to win the award, but his odds have ballooned since. You can now get Goff at +2800 to win MVP this season, which is the same price as his running back, Todd Gurley. It’s not like Goff has tailed off. It’s more a matter of guys like Brees just blowing past the rest of the field.
Goff has still thrown 26 touchdowns compared to just 6 interceptions on the year. He was outstanding in the aforementioned shootout against the Chiefs, going 31-for-49 with 413 yards with 4 touchdowns and zero interceptions in the victory. Goff has 6 games with multiple touchdowns and no interceptions already this year.
I don’t think it’s the worst idea to take a flier bet on Goff here at +2800 given the profit that can be made on those odds, but it’s looking more and more like he’s going to have to wait to win MVP. Ditto for Gurley, but I never really thought a running back stood much of a chance of winning it this year, anyway.
I think Rivers is your best bet among the Los Angeles representatives, but all 3 should be considered long shots at this stage.
Can Luck Edge Brees or Mahomes?
Mahomes doesn’t have a legitimate shot at breaking Peyton Manning’s single-season touchdown record anymore, but there is a great chance the second-year man winds up throwing at least 50 touchdown passes, which would be an amazing feat. The Chiefs have arguably the most explosive offense in football, thanks in no small part to their dynamic young signal-caller.
The Saints recently became the odds-on betting favorites by themselves to win the Super Bowl for the first time this season. Their thrashing of the Falcons on Thanksgiving night was just the latest in what has been a string of incredibly impressive performances that also includes wins over the Rams and a demolition of the defending champion Eagles. This may be the best Saints team of all-time, and that includes the team that won it all in 2009.
Nobody would put the Colts on par with the Chiefs or Saints, even with their lengthy winning streak still intact. Indy just doesn’t have the overall talent of either Kansas City or New Orleans on either side of the ball. Could the Colts’ slim chances at being viable Super Bowl contenders hurt Luck’s MVP case? I think so.
Luck is a name to watch, and, as mentioned previously, I think he’s a fine option if you want to take a shot on one of the long shot bets here. That said, the MVP looks like it’ll be Brees or Mahomes at this point. Both are excellent betting options, but the value obviously lies with Mahomes at +250.
Taylor Smith has been a staff writer with GamblingSites.org since early 2017. Taylor is primarily a sports writer, though he will occasionally dabble in other things like politics and entertainment betting. His primary specialties are writing about the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL and domestic and international soccer. Fringe sports like golf and horse racing aren’t exactly his cup of tea, bu ...
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