Week 4 of the 2021 NFL season is in the books, which means we’re already about a quarter of the way into the new campaign. It’s still early, but we have seen plenty of moving-and-shaking at the top of the NFL MVP betting odds leaderboard over the course of the season’s first month.
Patrick Mahomes, who entered his third consecutive season as the presumptive favorite, has seen his odds drop a bit since Week 1. Sports betting websites still give Mahomes the second-best odds of any player (+650) to win it, but he has no shortage of competition.
Kyler Murray, who has led the Arizona Cardinals to the league’s only perfect 4-0 start, has taken over as a +450 favorite to lift the trophy for the first time in his career. Justin Herbert, Josh Allen, and Dak Prescott have seen their odds improve dramatically, as well.
As usual, we’re here to break down this week’s NFL MVP risers and fallers. Who’s a good bet at their current odds? Which candidates should you be fading for now?
Here are the updated MVP odds heading into Week 5:
Kyler Murray (+450)
Patrick Mahomes (+650)
Josh Allen (+700)
Justin Herbert (+750)
Dak Prescott (+800)
Aaron Rodgers (+1000)
Matthew Stafford (+1400)
Tom Brady (+1400)
Russell Wilson (+1800)
Lamar Jackson (+2500)
Derek Carr (+2500)
Baker Mayfield (+5000)
Jameis Winston (+5000)
Kirk Cousins (+5000)
Teddy Bridgewater (+5000)
Joe Burrow (+5000)
Kyler’s MVP to Lose?
The Cardinals are the only unbeaten team left in the league after four weeks, which is a development few saw coming. Arizona was expected to be competitive in the tough NFC West this season, but they still entered the season with the worst odds of any team to actually win the division.
However, They Made a Statement With Their First Game Against a Divisional Rival on Sunday
The Cardinals stormed into Inglewood and walloped the previously-unbeaten LA Rams 37-20 in a game that was not really that close. Murray and the Cards had a 34-13 lead after three quarters in a game that was essentially over by halftime.
Murray was great, completing 24 of his 32 passes for 268 yards with a pair of touchdowns and no turnovers. The rushing totals haven’t been there early in the season, but the former Heisman winner has done plenty of damage with his right arm. Murray’s 1,273 passing yards through four games are the third-most in the league behind Derek Carr and Tom Brady.
Kyler Murray and the Cardinals knock out the Rams.
It’s likely just a matter of time until he gets it going on the ground. Murray, who rushed for a career-high 819 yards with 11 touchdowns last year, has totaled just 109 yards on the ground with three rushing scores through the first four games of 2021. Murray averaged over eight carries per game last year, but he’s averaging just 5.75 rushing attempts per game so far this term.
The fact that Murray hasn’t won MVP before is something that may actually help his case with voters. Voter fatigue is real, which is probably why we haven’t seen a player since the award in back-to-back years since Peyton Manning accomplished the feat in 2008-09. The odds continue to slide, but Murray is still an attractive wager at +450.
Bounce-Back Week for Mahomes
Mahomes’ MVP candidacy isn’t going anywhere. The Chiefs got off to an inauspicious 1-2 start, yet Mahomes’ MVP odds didn’t take much of a hit entering Week 4. With the Chiefs needing a win on Sunday, he responded appropriately. KC’s 26-year-old QB completed 24 of his 30 throws for 278 yards with five touchdowns in a 42-30 shellacking of the Eagles in Philadelphia.
Kansas City is still last in the division at 2-2, but it’s hard to say the Chiefs still aren’t the team to beat in the AFC West. Everyone else is 3-1, though, and they will have some serious competition. The Chargers, for example, look like surefire contenders.
On the season, Mahomes has now topped 1,200 passing yards with a league-high 14 touchdown passes. He has uncharacteristically thrown four interceptions, however, which is surprising considering he’s thrown just 11 total in the last two seasons combined. That said, Mahomes does still lead the NFL in quarterback rating at 119.6 through four games.
Mahomes may be able to re-establish himself as the MVP frontrunner if he’s able to put up another big game in Week 5 when the Chiefs host the Buffalo Bills on Sunday Night Football. He’ll then have the chance to pad his numbers with three straight games against middling defensive teams in Washington, Tennessee, and the New York Giants before another showdown with the Packers in early November.
Mahomes’ MVP odds have slipped from +550 at the beginning of the season to +650 right now. I’ll never tell you he’s a bad MVP bet, especially this early in the season. The value is certainly there, and you won’t get odds this favorable for much longer.
Herbert, Prescott Making Moves
I hope you read this last week when I said that you should be betting on Dak Prescott at +1800 to win MVP. Entering Week 5, his odds have improved all the way to +800. Prescott put up yet another stellar effort in yet another Cowboys win on Sunday. The Cowboys’ QB1 completed 14 of his 22 passes for just 188 yards, but he threw four touchdowns without an interception in Dallas’ 36-28 win over a previously-unbeaten Carolina team.
On the year, Prescott has topped 1,000 yards passing with 10 touchdowns to two interceptions. He has looked no worse for the wear after suffering a gruesome leg injury last year, and he’s been in complete control of the Cowboys’ resurgent offense.
Dallas is now 3-1 and in complete command of a weak NFC East. Their lone loss was a last-second, two-point setback in Tampa Bay back in Week 1, and we know there’s no shame in losing on the road to the defending Super Bowl champs. Prescott should be able to help his own cause with a favorable matchup at home against the 1-3 Giants in Week 5 before the Cowboys head to Foxborough for a tough matchup with the Patriots’ capable defense the following week.
Barring injury, it’s hard to imagine anyone but Dallas winning this division at this point. The Cowboys have been vastly better than any of the other three teams in the NFC East, thanks in large part to Dak’s stellar play. The +800 odds don’t bring as much upside as last week’s +1800 number, but there is still value here.
Speaking of 3-1 teams, the Chargers are now 3-1 after an impressive 28-14 win over the Raiders at home on Monday night. About 75 percent of SoFi Stadium was packed with Raider fans, so Justin Herbert and co. had to battle through a tough environment despite playing on their own field.
Herbert was outstanding again, with three first-half touchdown passes as the Bolts jumped out to a three-score lead at the break. Las Vegas made a game of it in the second half, but the Chargers were ultimately able to see the game out. Through four weeks, the second-year passer has completed 68.9 percent of his throws for 1,178 yards with nine touchdowns and three INTs.
Monday’s game came on the heels of a stellar effort last Sunday in Kansas City, when Herbert accounted for four touchdowns through the air as the Chargers upset the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. LAC’s lone loss on the year came in Week 2 at the hands of Prescott and the Cowboys, which isn’t looking like such a bad defeat at this point.
From the looks of it, the Chargers are the real deal. If Herbert and co. can outlast Mahomes and the Chiefs in the AFC West, who’s to say the Chargers’ QB can’t win MVP?
Don’t Discount Allen
The Bills got off to a ragged start by losing at home to the Steelers in Week 1, which is a loss that looks worse with each passing game. However, Josh Allen hasn’t wasted much time bouncing back. Buffalo has reeled off wins in each of their last three games, including a 40-0 demolition of the woeful Texans in Western New York on Sunday afternoon.
Allen entered the year with plenty of MVP hype after leading the Bills to the AFC Championship Game last season. That mediocre outing against Pittsburgh sent his MVP odds tumbling a bit to begin the year, but he has righted the ship ever since. Allen has thrown eight touchdown passes to just two interceptions since Week 1 in easy wins over Miami, Washington, and Houston.
Of course, the Bills have benefited from a very easy schedule. The Dolphins, Texans, and the Football Team have combined to win just three games all year, so those are teams the Bills should beat. You can only play the games on your schedule, though, and Buffalo has taken care of business. All of a sudden, Allen is now sitting alone behind Murray and Mahomes with the third-best MVP odds of any player at +700.
As mentioned, they’ll be tested this week when they go back to Arrowhead to take on the Chiefs on Sunday night. Allen completed only about 58 percent of his throws in that aforementioned AFC title game loss earlier this year, though he did run seven times for 88 yards. He’ll need to be better than that if the Bills are going to go into KC and dethrone the two-time reigning conference champions.
If the Bills win that game, Allen may well surpass Mahomes in the MVP odds race entering Week 6.
Brady didn’t have a particularly good game, however, which sent his MVP odds tumbling from +1000 to +1400 entering Week 5. The future Hall-of-Famer completed barely over half of his attempts for 269 yards without a touchdown or an interception. Rainy conditions in New England played a major role, but the Patriots’ defense also did an impressive job of stifling one of the NFL’s most prolific passing attacks.
Frankly, this game was probably just a blip on the radar for Brady. He still ranks second in the league in passing yards (1,356) with 10 touchdowns to two INTs, which puts him on par with his fellow MVP contenders in just about every category. The Bucs are a good bet to bounce back and put numbers on the board this week when they welcome the 1-3 Dolphins to town, as well.
This looks like an excellent buy-low opportunity. Brady’s current +1400 odds to win MVP are the lowest they’ve been all season long.
Assuming he stays healthy, there is no reason to believe he won’t be among the frontrunners to win this award at season’s end. Tampa Bay should also breeze to an NFC South title, which should only help his case with the voters. Let’s not forget the fact that he’s doing all of this at the age of 44.
Ranking the Best MVP Bets
It’s too early to definitively predict who will emerge victorious in the MVP race, but Kyler Murray is a worthy favorite at this point. As long as the Cardinals can remain at or near the top of the NFL’s most competitive division, he’s going to be a good bet to take home the hardware at season’s end.
That said, you can bet the likes of Mahomes, Allen, and Brady will have their say before it’s all said and done.This is shaping up to be a wide-open MVP race with an impressive field of candidates. That makes things even more fun from a betting perspective. Here’s how I’ll rank my favorite NFL MVP bets as we get ready for Week 5.
Kyler Murray (+450)
Tom Brady (+1400)
Dak Prescott (+800)
Patrick Mahomes (+650)
Josh Allen (+700)
Justin Herbert (+750)
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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