NFL 2019 MVP Futures Odds and Predictions
Can anyone challenge Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady in 2019?
Patrick Mahomes +500
Tom Brady +800
Drew Brees +1000
Andrew Luck +1000
The NFL MVP has been a quarterback in each of the last 6 years and in 11 of the last 12 years, so it should be no surprise that the top-14 players in MVP odds for the 2019 season are all quarterbacks.
Leading the pack is 2018’s breakout star Patrick Mahomes at +500. While Mahomes is certainly the sexy pick for the MVP award, there are a few reasons that his +500 odds might be overvalued. First and foremost there are serious concerns about his weapons given the uncertainly surrounding the status of WR Tyreek Hill, who could be in serious danger of being suspended for a significant portion of the season due to his off the field issues. While Mahomes has other talented receivers around him like Travis Kelce and Sammy Watkins, it’s going to be a huge blow for his chances if Hill isn’t on the field. After Hill, we have a few years of evidence that Sammy Watkins can’t stay healthy and while rookie WR Mecole Hardman is talented, rookie wide receivers almost never have a huge impact in their first season at the pro level.
Tom Brady (+800) is next up and the three time NFL MVP looked was good as ever last season in leading the Patriots to another Super Bowl title. Brady will be without TE Rob Gronkowski in 2019, but he has never had an issue with production even when he doesn’t have elite receiving talent around him. Brady has to decline eventually so his odds at +800 are a little too rich for my blood, but I won’t talk anyone off of betting on the best quarterback in NFL history even at overvalued odds.
Drew Brees and Andrew Luck come in at +1000 and each, and these two are both interesting choices for different reasons. Brees is another veteran who seemingly can’t be slowed down by father time and he will have a plethora of offensive weapons around him like Michael Thomas on the outside and Alvin Kamara out of the backfield. Brees also plays half of his games indoors in the Super Dome, but his main issue may be the improvement of the Saints defense in recent years. Earlier in his career Brees was tasked with having to throw early and often to help the Saints score enough points to cover up for their defensive deficiencies, but an improved defense in 2018 saw the Saints looks to lean more on their running backs.
Andrew Luck is very interesting at +1000 and was among the best players in the league down the stretch last season for the Colts. Now a full year removed from his shoulder issues, we could see Luck have his best season as a pro behind one of the league's best offensive lines. He has the necessary weapons in WR T.Y. Hilton, TE Eric Ebron, and new addition Devin Funchess, and he should have a better running game behind him after the Colts added Spencer Ware to pair with Marlon Mack and pass catching specialist Nyheim Hines.
Aaron Rodgers +1100
Carson Wentz +1200
Russell Wilson +1200
Baker Mayfield +1400
The next tier of quarterbacks features a mix of veterans and newcomers and is led by Aaron Rodgers at +1100. We know that Rodgers has the talent to win this award -- he won MVP honors in 2011 and in 2014 -- and he should get the added bump of not having to run plays under Mike McCarthy’s outdated schemes. Rodgers should benefit from the emergence of RB Aaron Jones to take some of the pressure off of him, but a schedule that includes the Bears twice, the Vikings twice, at the Chargers, and at the Cowboys certainly don’t help his upside. Rodgers has also struggled to stay healthy the last few seasons so there is certainly a lot of risks and unknowns about him going into 2019.
Carson Wentz and Russell Wilson both come in at +1200 and both of them have the added upside from their rushing abilities. Wentz missed a large chunk of 2018, but with Nick Foles in Jacksonville, he will be back at the helm for Philly. Wentz never looked quite right last season off of his ACL injury and you have to worry about his durability after being knocked out for the season last year with a fractured back. He has the talent, but I see his +1200 odds as overvalued given his inability to prove that he can hold up through a 16 game NFL season.
There may not be a more important player to their team than Russell Wilson is to the Seahawks, and it will take a colossal year out of him for them to return to the playoffs. Wilson’s WR corps is thin following the retirement of Doug Baldwin and he will have to be at least as efficient as he was last season with more volume for him to have a chance at MVP honors. What Wilson does have going for him is that the Seahawks defense projects to be worse in 2019 than they have been for most of Wilson’s career in Seattle so he may have to shoulder more of a passing load to keep the Seahawks competitive.
That brings us to baker Mayfield who is the most overvalued player in the MVP futures markets. I love what Mayfield brings to the table and there is no doubt that he has all the makings of an NFL superstar. The addition of Odell Beckham Jr. gives him possibly the most dangerous WR unit in the league, so I do expect big things from both Mayfield and the Browns this season. That being said +1400 is too high of a price to pay for a the QB on a team that hasn’t had a winning record since 2007. I would consider him at +2000, but he is unbettable at his current number for me.
Philip Rivers +1600
Deshaun Watson +2800
Saquon Barkley +4000
Ezekiel Elliott +4000
Finally, let’s look at four long shot picks for MVP that while unlikely, are absolutely bettable and provide some nice value.
Starting off we have Philip Rivers at +1600. Rivers is coming off one of the best seasons in his career and his has a plethora of weapons around him including Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, and Melvin Gordon. The Chargers offense could be one of the best in the AFC and if their defense plays as well as they did last season, it’s very feasible that this team could be the top seed in the AFC if they can beat out Kansas City for the AFC West divisional crown; in which case it would be hard not to have Rivers right there in the MVP discussion. I wouldn’t say that +1600 provides a lot of value, but Rivers is more than viable if you want to fade the top end AFC quarterbacks like Mahomes, Brady, and Luck.
Deshaun Watson was inconsistent during the 2018 season and looked flustered at times playing behind one of the worst pass blocking offensive lines in the league. However, he showed enough flashes last season coming off of a torn ACL to go along with his spectacular (albeit short) rookie campaign to catch my eye at +2800. Watson has one of the best receivers in the game in DeAndre Hopkins at his disposal and he will welcome back the return of deep threat Will Fuller, whom the Texans missed badly down the stretch last season. Add in dangerous slot man Keke Coutee to go along with Watson’s rushing upside and we have a solid dark horse pick for MVP.
No running backs come in at less than +3300 odds and the only two that I would even consider for the award are Saquon Barkley and Ezekiel Elliott, both at +4000. The immense talent of Saquon Barkley was on display last season and he has the type of rushing/receiving upside that we rarely see from running backs. He’s built in the mold of former NFL MVP’s Marshall Faulk and LaDanian Tomlinson in that regard. My issue with taking Barkley is that Giants project to be a .500 team at best and their offense my really struggle with Eli Manning likely to be pummeled yet again behind a poor offensive line. I love Barkley’s talent, but his team may simply not be good enough for him to have a shot at the award unless he has a record breaking season.
Ezekiel Elliott is embattled in more off season drama, but if he avoid another suspension he is my favorite pick for MVP among running backs at +4000. We all know by now that the Cowboys go as ‘Zeke goes and he has a great chance at leading the NFL in touches this season. Elliott’s passing game numbers improved greatly last year and you have to think that he is going to be QB Dak Prescott’s go to check down option, as well as being heavily involved in the screen game in 2019. We know that it takes an absolutely monster year for a running back to win the MVP award (Adrian Peterson in 2012: 2,097 rushing yards with 12 rushing touchdowns, LaDanian Tomlinson in 2007; 2,323 total yards with 30 total touchdowns, and Marshall Faulk in 2000; 2,189 yards with 26 total touchdowns), but Elliott has the likely volume, talent, and possibly a good enough team to make a run at it.
Matt Ryan +2200
Jared Goff +2500
Jimmy Garoppolo +2800
Ben Roethlisberger +2800
Todd Gurley +3300
Le’Veon Bell +4000
Kirk Cousins +4000
Cam Newton +4000
Jameis Winston +4000
Dak Prescott +5000
Mitchell Trubisky +5000
Kyler Murray +6600
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