The biggest winners of NFL Week 1 were the Baltimore Ravens, who picked up a resounding 59-10 victory over the hapless Miami Dolphins. Former Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson was unstoppable, completing 17 of his 20 throws for 324 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions in a completely dominant effort.
While he’s already got a Heisman under his belt, might Jackson soon add an NFL MVP award to his trophy case? On the heels of his career game, ESPN’s Doug Kezirian reports that Caesars Sportsbook in Las Vegas has slashed Jackson’s odds to win the league’s Most Valuable Player award this season. Caesars reportedly took Jackson’s odds from 50-1 before the game all the way down to 18-1 heading into Week 2.
Jeff Davis, Caesars’ director of trading, told ESPN,
“In a market like MVP that doesn’t handle nearly as much money as the Super Bowl does, we have to be more aggressive with moves when we see something dramatic. While last week was likely an anomaly to some extent, the small flood of public money really adds up here. If we are too slow to react, we will end up with too much liability very quickly.”
Jackson put up the gaudiest stat line of any player in Week 1, which helps explain the massive MVP-related betting interest that followed his effort.
Jackson is no stranger to beating the odds, of course. He was listed as a 100-1 longshot at Caesars before claiming the Heisman back in 2016 during his days at Louisville. Just last season, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes opened as a 100-1 favorite to win the NFL’s MVP award before his record-setting season. Mahomes was entering his first season as the Chiefs’ starting quarterback, which is exactly what Jackson is doing this season with Baltimore.
When asked about his chances of winning MVP, Jackson downplayed the hype. He told the media,
“I don’t really listen to stuff like that. Just a week prior to that, they were just saying ‘running back.’ I’m just going to play ball and come out with victories.”
Patrick Mahomes’ Precedent
Following his 50-touchdown performance a season ago, Mahomes entered the 2019 campaign as the odds-on favorite to win a second straight league MVP award. Mahomes started the season as a 5-1 favorite, and his odds were lowered to 3-1 after he threw for 378 yards with 3 touchdowns in the Chiefs’ Week 1 thumping of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Jackson began last season as the Ravens’ backup after the team made him the No. 30 overall selection in the 2018 draft. He wound up supplanting Joe Flacco as Baltimore’s starter about halfway through the season, and he ultimately led Baltimore to an AFC North title. The team was confident enough with Jackson’s showing to trade Flacco to the Denver Broncos this offseason.
As a rookie, Jackson completed 58.2 percent of his passes for 1,201 yards with six touchdowns to three interceptions. The Ravens utilized him often as a runner, as he also amassed 695 yards on 147 rushing attempts with another five scores a season ago. He did most of his damage in Week 1 of this season through the air, however, as he finished with just six yards on three carries in the destruction of the Dolphins.
Jackson and the Ravens will look to improve to 2-0 this week when they host Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday afternoon. Murray led the Cardinals to a 27-27 tie against the Detroit Lions in his first-ever start last weekend. Murray, the No. 1 overall pick in the most recent draft and last season’s Heisman winner with Oklahoma, is a +5000 longshot to win the league’s MVP award this season as a rookie.
Behind Mahomes, Caesars lists Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (5-1), Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12-1), Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (12-1), Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (14-1), Saints quarterback Drew Brees (14-1) and Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (16-1) with the next-best odds of claiming this season’s MVP trophy.
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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