Who is the NFL's MVP Right Now?

NFL Oct 12, 2021

After Five Weeks – Josh Allen, Kyler Murray, Dak Prescott, Tom Brady, Justin Herbert, and Matthew Stafford All Leap Above Pre-Season Favourite Patrick Mahomes in MVP Odds

When the 2021 NFL regular season kicked off five weeks ago, Kansas City Chiefs superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes was the betting favourite to win the Most Valuable Player award.

Now, Mahomes seems like an also-ran.  He rounds out a top-nine list that's top heavy with quarterbacks who are each enjoying outstanding seasons – statistically and as prominent players on first-place teams.

Here's the latest update on the NFL's MVP award according to SPREADS.CA.

What is the basis of an MVP season?  Is it stats?  Is it team wins?  Is it reputation? Certainly all of these factors influence the outcome as to who gets chosen at the NFL's MVP.

And so, here are some thoughts on the current Top-1o, starting with the three biggest favourites.  Shocker!  Tom Brady isn't listed:

Josh Allen – The Bills starting quarterback is enjoying a fantastic season.  Not only are the Bills likely to steamroll over the AFC East, they'll probably also end the regular season with the conference's best record, the perfect recipe for an MVP season.  Buffalo gets to feast on the Jets (twice), the Patriots (twice), and the Dolphins (who they defeated 35-0 earlier, and will play once more), which should allow Josh Allen to pad his numbers.  Allen has already tossed 12 touchdowns, just 2 interceptions, and has posted a 102 QB rating.  Oh, and he's pretty good on his feet, as well.  Prediction:  Allen deserves to be the odds-on choice given so many factors in his favour, but we don't like these odds.  There are better values with other players on the board.

Kyler Murray – The Arizona Cardinals' quarterback is enjoying a breakout season, leading his team to an undefeated 5-0 record, so far.  10-4 (TDs to INTs) isn't as impressive as other contenders, but Murray is leading his team to lots of points, and more importantly – wins.  Trouble for Murray is, he plays in a tough division and is due probably for a few subpar games (last week's mediocre showing, a 17-10 win over San Francisco was a good example).  Murray enjoys lots of offensive tools, with a balanced passing and rushing attack.  He'll have to post big numbers to win the MVP award.  However, if the Cardinals go 15-2 or 14-3 and end up with the NFL's best record (after being predicted to finish last), his value to the team will be impossible to ignore.  Prediction:  The Cardinals are for real and Murray will be part of the conversation, but he won't win with so many other QBs who are posting monster numbers.

Justin Herbert – The Chargers quarterback is getting better with each game.  It's scary how fast he's come along, and how great he might be at this pace.  Herbert plays for a 4-1 team (their only loss was a last-second field goal to Dallas).  13 TDs and just 2 INTs has sparked a 104 QB rating.  Herbert also plays in the toughest division in football, which could derail an MVP selection.  Let's see how he fares in the four games against Denver and Kansas City.  Those who study mechanics say Herbert has all the tools to be a superstar for a long time.  It might be a reach for him to be the MVP this season, but he'll be in the conversation for a long time the way he's progressed.  Prediction:  Herbert won't win this year, but his time will come.

And now, the rest:

Dak Prescott – Coming off a season-ending injury, no one knew how Dak Prescott would respond in 2021.  Well, he now looks better than before and better than ever.  Prescott has thrown for 13 TDs vs. just 3 INTs, and boasts a QB rating of 112.  He's statistically ahead of the three favourites, and Dallas is always a team that gets lot of attention.  If the Cowboys manage to flatten the NFC East and earn the home field advantage throughout the playoffs, look out.  Not only will Prescott be a favourite alongside the AFC's best team's QB, the Cowboys will be serious Super Bowl contenders. Prediction:  A strong choice at 8-1.

Tom Brady – What's left to say about the G.O.A.T.?  15 TDs and 2 INTs and a 106 QB rating has led Tampa Bay to a 4-1 record.  It's staggering that Brady is competing at this level at age 44.  On this basis alone, he probably should be rated higher and be right up there with Josh Allen.  Who would every have thought there would be betting value on Brady at 9-1?  But, there is.  One suspects there's some fear Brady could sit out towards the end of the season, which reduces is stock in the MVP race.  Otherwise, he deserves to be in the top 3.  Prediction:  A great value at 9-1 odds and worth a bet just because he's Tom Brady.

Matthew Stafford – What a difference a good team makes.  Stafford has suffered for a decade with the hapless Lions and now has the chance to show what he's made of with a much better team.  12 TDs and 3 INTs with a 116 rating on a 4-1 team playing in a dome should bode well for Stafford chances.  The race is crowded but things could break for the Rams and Stafford could end up with his first MVP award this season.  Prediction:  Pick one--Stafford of Murray.  Whichever team you think wins the NFC West is probably a solid pick for MVP as well.

Lamar Jackson – After the MNF comeback versus Indianapolis, Jackson is a contender, especially since he's a duel run-pass threat.  One suspects his numbers won't quite match the other QBs on this list, but Jackson has won the MVP award before so he deserve a strong look, especially at these odds.  Underestimating Lamar Jackson is never a good idea.  Prediction:  Unlikely to win, but give him a few more games like the effort against the Colts in front of a national audience, and he's very much in contention.  

Aaron Rodgers – Is Aaron Rodgers really the 8th choice in the rankings right now?  Arguably, not QB means more to his team than Rodgers, who is playing a season with a glance over the shoulder.  One gets the impression this is one year when Rodgers feels the need to prove something, and he could end up with monster numbers.  Throw out the opening game clunker versus New Orleans, and so long as Rodgers played at his level the rest of the way, he's among the faves. Prediction:  There are too many QBs enjoying big seasons for Rodgers to win. Nonetheless, getting 13-1 odds is a great value.

Patrick Mahomes – The Chiefs are always dangerous, but now at 2-3 their margin for error is narrow.  Because of a slow start, Mahomes probably won't win the MVP award, unless somehow Kansas City practically runs the table and Mahomes posts huge numbers.  I'd fade this prospect given how strong their division is at the moment and Mahomes' limitations in helping his defense, which isn't playing well at the moment.  Prediction:  There's more MVP awards in Mahomes future.  But not this season.

Davante Adams – Notice the huge drop off from the 9th to the 10th spot, with Adams, who is the first non-QB in the hunt at 51-1 odds.  It's almost impossible to see how Adams win the award with so many exceptional quarterbacks on the list all posting potential record-setting numbers.  Prediction:  This futures wager, even with a huge payout, has no chance of winning.  Don't bother.