Coming into the year, most NFL experts thought the NFC West would be a dogfight. Three of the division’s four teams won at least eight games a season ago. The fourth team, the San Francisco 49ers, are still less than two years removed from a Super Bowl berth.
Through the first two weeks of the 2021 campaign, the NFC West is living up to its lofty expectations. The 49ers, Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams are all off to perfect 2-0 starts. The Seattle Seahawks became the first team in the division to lose when they blew a big second-half lead to lose at home to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday afternoon.
It’s still early, but the division is also well-represented when it comes to the betting favorites to win the NFL’s MVP award this year. Patrick Mahomes of the Chiefs is still an understandable favorite, but a few other QBs have gained ground early in the campaign. Tom Brady’s odds have improved to +750 amid a hot start of his own, while Kyler Murray (+750), Russell Wilson (+1200), and Matthew Stafford (+1200) are all in the hunt.
Here’s our latest look at how the NFL MVP odds at sites for betting the NFL have shifted heading into Week 3 of the regular season.
Murray, Brady Gaining Ground
Kyler Murray (+950 -> +750)
Tom Brady (+1000 -> +750)
You’d be hard-pressed to find any players in the league that have gotten off to better starts than Kyler Murray and Tom Brady. Murray has the Cardinals at 2-0 after back-to-back wins over the Titans and Vikings to begin the season, which is no small feat. The Titans came into the year among the favorites in the AFC, while the Vikings have the potential to be a playoff team in the NFC North.
Arizona’s 72 points through two games is the second-most in the league. The only team that has scored more? Brady’s Buccaneers, of course.
Murray has thrown three interceptions already, but that’s really his only blemish. The former Heisman Trophy winner has completed better than 73 percent of his throws for 689 yards with seven touchdowns. He only has 51 rushing yards on 10 attempts through two games, but he has scored twice more with his legs.
Murray emerged as a trendy MVP bet during the offseason, and there’s no reason to doubt his chances now. The Cardinals have enough talent on both sides of the ball to make a legitimate run at a division title. If Arizona is the team that emerges victorious in the most loaded division in football, Murray will certainly garner a ton of MVP consideration. And deservedly so.
Kyler Murray Patrick Mahomes Justin Herbert Tom Brady
The league all of a sudden full of great young QBs that are going to dominate for the next decade.
Meanwhile, there’s really nothing left to say about Tom Brady that hasn’t already been said. The 44-year-old is showing no signs of being a 44-year-old. He’s already racked up a whopping nine touchdown passes through the season’s first two weeks, four of which have gone to his old buddy, Rob Gronkowski. Brady threw for 379 yards on opening night against the Cowboys before following it up with a five-touchdown effort in a 23-point demolition of Matt Ryan and the Falcons in Week 2.
The Buccaneers are going to among the betting favorites to win the Super Bowl again as long as they can stay healthy. Brady did get sacked three times on Sunday, but he has still been among the NFL’s most durable players over the course of his career. Brady hasn’t won a league MVP award since he did so for the third time way back in 2017. A fourth MVP trophy may well be in his future if he keeps this up.
Bounce-Back Weeks for Rodgers, Jackson
Aaron Rodgers (+1550 -> +1400)
Lamar Jackson (+2000 -> +1400)
Each of the last two league MVPs, Aaron Rodgers and Lamar Jackson, had games to forget in Week 1. Rodgers played one of the worst games of his life in the Packers’ 38-3 smackdown at the hands of the Saints, while Jackson and the Ravens were upset by the Raiders in Vegas on Monday Night Football.
Well, both players bounced back nicely in Week 2. The Ravens were staring an 0-2 start right in the face after falling into a 35-24 deficit against the Chiefs on Sunday night before Jackson decided to take over. The 2019 league MVP got off to a rather inauspicious start by beginning the game with a couple of interceptions, but he was ultimately lead his team all the way back.
Jackson connected with Hollywood Brown on an improbable 42-yard jump-pass to bring the Ravens within four points midway through the third quarter. Then, Jackson found the end zone twice with his legs in the game’s final frame, including a one-yard scamper with just over three minutes left that proved to be the game-winner.
Lamar Jackson got the job done to defeat the Chiefs 😤
Jackson topped 100 yards rushing while adding another 239 yards through the air on his way to his first-ever win over Mahomes and the Chiefs. Jackson has continued to prove that he can still change a game with his rushing ability, though the Ravens will likely have to make a run at the No. 1 seed in the conference in order for Lamar to get serious MVP buzz again. Still, his odds to win the award improved from +2000 to +1400 overnight.
Rodgers looked a lot like himself in the Packers’ 35-17 triumph over the Lions on Monday night. The 37-year-old connected on 22 of his 27 attempts for 255 yards and four touchdowns without an interception. Three of his four touchdown passes went to Aaron Jones, who found the end zone four times in the rout.
Most importantly, Rodgers didn’t turn the ball over after he was intercepted twice by the Saints in Week 1. Green Bay still has some questions that need to be answered, particularly on the defensive side of the ball, but Rodgers and this offense should be just fine.
I’m skeptical that voters would give the award to Rodgers in back-to-back seasons, which probably explains why his odds to repeat the feat remain as long as they are (+1400). The Packers should have very little trouble waltzing to another NFC North title, but Rodgers will almost surely have to put up another monster statistical campaign in order to make a serious run at another MVP trophy.
Jameis Falls Back to the Pack
Jameis Winston (+3000 -> +5000)
Jameis Winston was the talk of the NFL after his five-touchdown performance against the Packers in Week 1, but the former Heisman winner fell back to earth with a thud in Week 2. Winston and the Saints were smacked 26-7 in Charlotte by the Panthers on Sunday to fall to 1-1 on the young campaign.
After having an easy time of it against Green Bay, Winston didn’t look like the same person against Carolina. Jameis completed just 50 percent of hush attempts on his way to a paltry 111 yards. He was also held without a touchdown pass and threw his first two interceptions on the year. Winston did supply the Saints with their lone TD of the game on the ground, but it was an otherwise dismal effort from Sean Payton’s new QB1.
Winston’s MVP odds improved all the way to +3500 after the Saints’ surprising demolition of the Packers last week. Entering Week 3, however, Jameis has fallen back to +5000 to win the award. He’ll look to get back on track in a tough road environment on Sunday when the Saints head to Foxborough to take on the 1-1 Patriots on Sunday afternoon.
Mahomes Favored Despite Chiefs’ Defeat
Patrick Mahomes (+500 -> +550)
The Kansas City Chiefs were upset by Jackson and the Ravens on Sunday night, but oddsmakers haven’t lost enthusiasm for Patrick Mahomes’ MVP hopes. A one-point loss on the road to a conference rival certainly shouldn’t be fatal to his case.
For his part, Mahomes still played quite well despite the loss. The 2018 MVP completed 24 of his 31 throws for 343 yards with three more touchdowns and an interception. He connected with Byron Pringle and Travis Kelce on a couple of long TDs in the third quarter to help extend Kansas City’s lead to 11 points before Jackson led Baltimore’s aforementioned comeback.
Through two games, Mahomes has looked like Mahomes. His completion percentage is sitting at a sky-high 76 percent, and he’s already totaled 680 yards with six TD passes. Andy Reid’s crew will head back home for what should be a fun matchup against Justin Herbert and the LA Chargers at Arrowhead Stadium in Week 3.
As you may expect, Mahomes’ MVP odds have hardly budged. The loss caused his odds to slip a bit from +500 to +550, which is hardly a noticeable change. Mahomes remains as good a bet as anybody to take home the hardware again in 2021.
Entering Week 3, here are the best bets to win NFL MVP this season:
Patrick Mahomes (+550)
Tom Brady (+750)
Kyler Murray (+750)
Matthew Stafford (+1200)
Lamar Jackson (+1400)
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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