As the regular season gets underway you can’t help but think about how the whole season is going to play out. One logical way to do that is by looking at the odds available for the potential NFL MVP. Here’s how Bodog has the field set out:
Aaron Rodgers (+650) – I’m concerned about some of the issues that the Packers face this year – unheard of turnover margin of +24 and maybe the easiest schedule in the NFL last year, but I think they are a very good team – easily capable of winning the NFC. Rodgers has made real progress, and he can obviously post some big numbers. He also has the cachet of being the guy to take over from Favre.
Peyton Manning (+700) – To the surprise of no one with half a brain Manning is one of the favorites. It only makes sense given that he has won the award four times in the last seven season, including the last two in a row. He’s still healthy and in his prime, so he’s still a serious contender. Given his dominance and his popularity you could even argue that there is some good value in this price. There’s something about Manning this year that makes me nervous, though. I can’t put my finger on it exactly, but there’s a sense I get around the Colts that though they are still going to be a solid team they aren’t going to be what they have been lately.
Drew Brees (+800) – This one is interesting. On one hand I expect a pretty solid Super Bowl letdown from the Saints, and it’s hard for a guy to win the MVP when his team struggles. On the other hand, Brees is wildly popular, and there is an obvious sentiment emerging that he hasn’t had the recognition he deserves. He’d stand a good chance of winning if he had a good year for a decent team.
Tom Brady (+1000) – Brady has won it once already, and he’s the best quarterback in the sport in my mind, so he’s obviously a factor. The AFC East is as tough as it’s been in a long while, though, and Randy Moss is aging and Wes Welker is hurting. I’ll let him beat me as well.
Chris Johnson (+1000) – This one is interesting. Johnson put up crazy numbers last year, and he’ll be every bit as big a part of the Titans’ offense this year because they don’t have a whole lot more to work with than they did. He has a new contract so he’ll be a good citizen, and he’ll be motivated to perform to turn that contract into a big, long term one. It seems like we think of this award as belonging to the top QB recently, but Alexander and Tomlinson won it in 2005 and 2006, so running backs can win it with big years.
Philip Rivers (+1500) – In order for the Chargers to make the next step forward that would let Rivers win you have to trust that they are going to finally start their season in September not October, that their running game will be in good shape, and that their receiver situation is going to stabilize and be effective. That’s a whole lot of faith required.
Tony Romo (+1500) – Beyond the big names this one makes as much sense as any. The Cowboys have a very good team, and they are hosting the Super Bowl so the pressure for them to perform is going to be huge. Romo has no excuses not to have a massive year, so maybe this is when he finally puts things together. He certainly has the name recognition and popularity required to have a successful MVP campaign.
Brett Favre (+1800) – The thought of Favre winning the MVP makes me ill, but you certainly can’t rule it out. There’s the obvious risk that you could bet on him only to have him retire during the season and then come back 2 games later, so this price isn’t great right now. Still, he has played very well recently – especially last year – and he has a whole lot of talent around him. The media loves everything about him, so he’d certainly be rewarded if he were to pull off a big year. I personally wouldn’t bet on it happening, but I could understand why some people would.
Mark Sanchez (+2500) – You should only make this bet if you hate money. Sanchez just wasn’t that good last year. He’ll probably be significantly better in his second year – he certainly had better be – but there is a long, long way between the path he is on right now and the MVP. This is a totally, utterly ridiculous price.
Ray Rice (+3000) – If you’re looking for a long shot this is as good as it gets. Rice is a bruising run who will pile up a lot of yards. He’s also probably the best pass catching running back in the league, and he’s on a team that is going to be passing more this year than they have. If Rice ran for 1500 yards and had 1000 yards through the air – not inconceivable given that he had 1339 and 702 last year – then he’d be hard to ignore.
As for our pick to win the 2010 NFL MVP, I think Tony Romo at +1500 and Peyton Manning at +700 offer the most value on the board at this time. For more weekly picks check out the winning NFL picks at Maddux Sports.