Taking stock of the MVP marketplace

Sometimes, it’s OK to go with chalk. 

There’s a notion that to be sharp you have to be contrarian, and there’s truth in that. But sometimes obvious picks and clear favorites are obvious for a reason. 

When you look at the NFL MVP odds at BetMGM, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes tops the list. That’s no surprise. But he’s +600 to win the award. 

There’s value in that number, even as the favorite. 

Patrick Mahomes leads NFL MVP odds

Here is the list of the NFL MVP candidates whose odds are 20-to-1 or less at BetMGM: 

Mahomes +600
Aaron Rodgers +1100
Josh Allen +1400
Tom Brady +1400
Dak Prescott +1600
Lamar Jackson +1800
Matthew Stafford +2000
Russell Wilson +2000

Taking Wilson or Stafford at those odds is just fine. You could hit a big ticket. 

But there’s nothing wrong with Mahomes at 6-to-1. That’s 14.3 percent implied odds for him to win. Even in the NFL, where things come and go in the blink of an eye, it seems crazy to think Mahomes doesn’t have a better chance than that to win MVP. Any season in which he’s healthy over the next 10 years (maybe more), he’ll have a good chance to win MVP. If you take Mahomes at +600 for the next decade, there’s a good chance you’ll turn a profit. 

And yet, that’s not how people are betting. 

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is the NFL MVP favorite. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is the NFL MVP favorite. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Mahomes isn’t getting too many MVP bets

Maybe there’s some Mahomes fatigue already. Perhaps bettors just like chasing a bigger payday. But Mahomes isn’t getting a ton of love for MVP at BetMGM. 

Here are the top three, in terms of most tickets to win MVP: 

  • Josh Allen 14.5%

  • Matthew Stafford 8.6%

  • Patrick Mahomes 8.0%

Mahomes does have the most money bet on him in that market, but that’s because he has lower odds and people make bigger bets. Mahomes isn’t one of BetMGM’s three biggest liabilities in that market. Trey Lance, Stafford and Allen are. 

It’s hard to believe that Mahomes bettors will regret taking him at +600. Allen could have another enormous year and win over voters who want to pick someone new. The past three MVPs have had huge preseason odds (including Mahomes in 2018) and maybe a quarterback comes from nowhere to steal it again. 

But the safest bet on the board is Mahomes. You know he’ll put up big numbers for a very good team. He’s among the two or three biggest stars in the sport. At his current odds, it looks like a pretty good investment.