Super Bowl 55 is officially in the rearview mirror. Tom Brady won his seventh Super Bowl title and first with Tampa Bay, and the GOAT said after the game that there is no doubt that he’ll be back next year. So, unfortunately for the rest of the league, Brady won’t be going anywhere any time soon.
While Brady led the Buccaneers to a perfect 4-0 record in the playoffs won his fifth career Super Bowl MVP award, it’s been quite a while since he won a regular-season Most Valuable Player trophy. Brady has three standard MVP trophies on his mantle, but his most recent victory came back in 2017. He didn’t earn a single vote this past season when Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers matched Brady with his third career MVP triumph.
Of course, the 2021 NFL season doesn’t start for quite a while. We’ve got about eight months to kill before regular-season NFL games are back on our TVs. In the meantime, though, you might as well take a gander at the early futures bets already being offered at a variety of NFL betting sites. In fact, some sites have already slapped odds on next season’s NFL MVP race.
What are the best early NFL MVP bets for 2021? We’re glad you asked.
Patrick Mahomes (+500)
Despite the Chiefs’ miserable performance in Super Bowl 55, Patrick Mahomes checks-in as the early frontrunner to win MVP next season. Who else did you expect to see here?
I’m no making excuses, but Mahomes was dealing with some adversity in the Super Bowl. He was playing through turf toe, which is a more painful injury than it sounds. The injury is bad enough to require Mahomes to undergo offseason surgery. He should certainly be back to 100 percent by the time the late-summer rolls around, though. The Kansas City Chiefs were also playing without both starting tackles, which is probably why you remember Mahomes being forced to run for his life for the entirety of Super Bowl 55. Jason Pierre-Paul and Shaq Barrett absolutely abused the Chiefs’ makeshift offensive line.
The end result was the worst game of Mahomes’ pro career. While that fresh memory may be enough to get you to balk at betting on Mahomes to win MVP next season, let’s not forget that this is still the best player in the sport. In 15 games last season, he completed a career-best 66.3 percent of his throws for 4,740 yards and 38 touchdowns. The fact that he finished just third in MVP voting is pretty laughable, and a clear case of voter fatigue after he had won MVP and Super Bowl MVP in each of his first two seasons as the Chiefs’ QB1.
Could voter fatigue hamper Mahomes in the future?
It’s possible, but I think his recent Super Bowl setback only enhances his chances of taking home the hardware next season. The Chiefs were 14-1 with Mahomes under center during the regular season. If you include the Super Bowl, KC went 16-2 in the games he played in 2020-21. At +500, you can do a lot worse than betting Mahomes here.
Aaron Rodgers (+800)
Aaron Rodgers wound up winning the MVP award going away. Rodgers captured 44 first-place votes, compared to four for Josh Allen and two for Mahomes. Clearly, groupthink is a factor here. Rodgers did put up one of the best seasons of his Hall-of-Fame career, but was he really that much better than the other contenders?
Evidently so. Rodgers completed nearly 71 percent of his attempts for 4,299 yards with a career-high 48 touchdowns to just five interceptions. He looked much more comfortable in his second season in Matt LaFleur’s offensive system, which probably helps explain how he nearly doubled his touchdown output from the previous season. Rodgers played in all 16 games while leading the Packers to a 13-3 record and the No. 1 seed in the NFC.
Rodgers’ Three Career MVP Wins Have Him Tied for Second All-Time
It’s incredibly difficult to repeat as NFL MVP, however. We haven’t seen a player win it in back-to-back years since Peyton Manning accomplished the feat in 2008-09. The last time before that? …Peyton Manning again in 2003-04. The last time before Manning did it, though, was when Rodgers’ predecessor Brett Favre claimed three straight MVPs between 1995 and 1997.
Let’s not forget that Rodgers may not even be a Packer next season. They ruffled his feathers when they controversially drafted Jordan Love in the first round of last year’s draft. Most believe Rodgers will return to Lambeau next season, but we’ll see. At the very least, the potential for a change of scenery makes him a riskier MVP bet than the current +800 odds may indicate.
Josh Allen (+1300)
Most saw the 2020 MVP race as a battle between Rodgers and Mahomes, but Josh Allen actually wound up finishing with the second-most first-place votes. Allen went from being a fairly divisive prospect to being a legitimate star last season. Across 16 outings, he completed 69.2 percent of his throws for 4,544 yards with 37 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. The Wyoming product has largely put the questions about his accuracy to bed, which has been huge for his continued development through three NFL seasons.
The Buffalo Bills are quickly emerging as the biggest threat to the Chiefs in the AFC. Buffalo just put together a 13-3 season and won their first two playoff games in 25 years. Buffalo was ultimately trounced by KC in the AFC Championship Game, but the Bills’ stock is only going up right now. The decision to trade for Stefon Diggs before last season was instrumental in Allen’s rise from a mediocre QB to a legitimate MVP threat.
Josh Allen is a 🔒 for Most Improved Player, right?
Assuming the Bills can continue to improve upon their showing from last season, Allen is a phenomenal value bet given the +1300 odds. At this point, I don’t really see how anybody can doubt his status as a franchise starter at this level. In addition to the 37 TD passes, Allen also rushed for another eight scores. Unless the Dolphins exceed expectations again next season, the AFC East is clearly Buffalo’s to lose.
Allen will be in the MVP conversation assuming his 2020 numbers weren’t anomalous. Allen will have an incredibly strong case if the Bills are able to give the Chiefs a run for the AFC’s top seed next year.
Russell Wilson (+1300)
Remember when Russell Wilson was the clear-cut MVP frontrunner? That sure faded quickly. Wilson looked dominant through the first few weeks of last season as the #LetRussCook movement got underway. The Seahawks had finally decided to abandon their run-first mantra, and Wilson flourished. He threw 14 touchdowns through the first three games of the season as Seattle got off to a hot 3-0 start. Through the first five games of the year, Wilson had 19 touchdowns to just three interceptions, and the Seahawks were unbeaten.
Seattle still went on to win the NFC West, but Wilson’s numbers settled down from there. Regardless, he still finished the campaign with a career-high 40 touchdown passes, but he also set a career-high for INTs (13). If Wilson had thrown 14 touchdowns over the final three games of the year instead of in the first three games of the year, perhaps his MVP case would’ve gained more steam.
Regardless, he’s still a decent bet at +1300 to win MVP next year. Wilson has accomplished an awful lot at this level, but MVP honors have continued to elude him. With so many QBs putting up massive numbers these days, it will still be difficult for Wilson to break through. The Seahawks also have just the sixth-best odds of any team to win the NFC next season. They’re behind the Rams and 49ers when it comes to their own division, as well. Unless the Seahawks challenge for the No. 1 seed in the conference, Wilson won’t win MVP next season. He faces an uphill climb compared to some of the other frontrunners.
It’s also possible that Wilson has played his last game with the Seahawks. He has recently vented some frustration about the direction in which the franchise is headed. He may not make an explicit trade demand, but the clock could be ticking on Wilson’s time in Seattle. That’s another factor that makes betting on his MVP chances risky at this point.
Matthew Stafford (+1500)
For the first time, we’ll get to see what Matthew Stafford can do with the spotlight. Stafford is a former No. 1 overall pick that has made well over $200 million over the course of his pro career, but he has done it all in relative obscurity in Detroit. Stafford led the Lions to three playoff appearances during his tenure, but the franchise is still in search of its first playoff victory since 1991.
Stafford was traded to the Los Angeles Rams in a blockbuster deal earlier this offseason. The Rams are clearly banking on the 33-year-old being a better fit for Sean McVay’s offense than Jared Goff was. Goff led the Rams to a Super Bowl appearance a couple of years ago, but he has disappointed ever since.
Stafford has always been able to put up numbers. Winning games has been another challenge. He finds himself among the MVP favorites because he’ll be playing with a much more talented roster now that he’s in LA. Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, Tyler Higbee, and Josh Reynolds is a solid group of pass-catchers, and the Rams had arguably the league’s best defense last season. If they get improved play from the QB spot, the Rams can certainly emerge as Super Bowl contenders again in 2021.
At the very least, Stafford is worth a flier at the current +1500 odds. If he’s able to put up good numbers while helping the Rams to one of the best records in the NFC, he’ll generate plenty of MVP buzz.
Tom Brady (+1600)
At this point, Tom Brady is going to have to have an absolutely monstrous season to win MVP. Of course, it’s entirely possible that he does just that. It took him some time to adjust to his new surroundings in Tampa Bay, but once he found his footing, there was absolutely no stopping the Tampa Bay Buccaneers‘ offense. As a result, there is clearly room for improvement for the Bucs in 2021.
While we remember the highs, let’s not forget the lows. The Buccaneers made the playoffs as a Wild Card after going just 11-5 during the season. A playoff appearance was hardly a certainty for most of the year. Brady looked wobbly early on, especially in each of the Bucs’ first two meetings with the Saints.
If the Bucs are able to pick up where they left off, it’s fair to expect even better numbers from Brady in his second season with the team. Despite his occasional struggles, this guy still threw for over 4,600 yards with 40 touchdown passes. Armed with a stacked group of weapons and Bruce Arians’ pass-first attack, Brady is in a perfect position to post yet another strong season in 2021.
Betting against Brady has been a futile endeavor over the years. You should know that by now. As a result, the +1600 odds on Brady capturing a fourth MVP trophy look awfully enticing.
Who’s to say a 44-year-old can’t be MVP?
Deshaun Watson (+1700)
Obviously, the Deshaun Watson saga is the story that should dominate the NFL’s offseason. Watson sure does seem to be fed-up with the Texans’ foolish shenanigans, and he has told the team that he wants out. He’s under contract for several more years, of course, but Houston is in a disastrous position. They can either refuse to trade Watson and wait for his trade value to plunge, or they can sell their 25-year-old star quarterback while the market is hot.
Trading Watson should net the Texans a huge return, but we’ll see. This team’s track record when it comes to getting full value in exchange for star players is spotty, at best. At this point, I only trust the Texans to make the wrong decision. So, they will probably trade Watson to a division rival in exchange for a 2031 third-round pick.
Watson did just lead the NFL in passing yards (4,823) despite playing for one of the worst teams in football. The list of interested suitors will form to the left once the Texans start taking trade calls on the former Clemson star. Obviously, his MVP case hinges largely on where he winds up. If he finds his way to a potential playoff team, his MVP odds will only improve. If the Texans trade him to, say, the Jaguars, his chances may take a hit.
There is a lot of uncertainty that comes with betting on Watson to win MVP as of now. So, waiting to see where he lands is probably the best course of action before you place that wager.
Lamar Jackson (+1700)
It didn’t take long for the shine to fade on Lamar Jackson. One year after winning MVP in a landslide, Jackson was nowhere near the MVP conversation last season. That’s probably because Jackson’s numbers declined across the board, and the Ravens weren’t nearly as dominant as they were in 2019. Last season, Jackson completed 64.4 percent of his passes for 2,757 yards and 26 touchdowns. He did top 1,000 rushing yards for the second season in-a-row, but Baltimore’s middling 11-5 season killed his chances to repeat as MVP.
If Jackson bounces back in 2021, he could certainly make his way back into the MVP conversation. He is quite clearly still one of the most unique weapons in the entire league. It’s really just a matter of improving his throwing numbers while helping the Ravens win more games. If the Ravens can climb back into the driver’s seat in the AFC North with Jackson leading the charge, he’ll put himself back in the mix.
However, that won’t be an easy task. The Browns finally seem to be emerging as the rising power in the division, while the Steelers likely aren’t going anywhere. The Bengals may still be a few years away, but they do finally seem to have some direction. Jackson isn’t a terrible MVP bet at +1700, but his stock seems to be trending in the wrong direction.
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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