The NFL MVP landscape has changed quite a bit over the last few years, and this season only a couple of mainstays remain at the top of the list. Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers are still in the mix, but the most surprising absence is five-time MVP winner Peyton Manning not even ranking the in the Top 10 and receiving something in the range of +7500. During any other year Manning at 75/1 would be the bet of the century, but unfortunately players age and careers come to a close, which seems to be the place legendary quarterback is currently standing.
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Manning may not be in the mix, but bettors still have an interesting combo of players jockeying for position in the MVP race as we near the halfway point of the season. Let's take a closer look at the MVP odds heading into Week 8 and figure out which players have the most value to place a wager on.
No. 5 : Andy Dalton +2000 (fourth in the odds): Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals are still undefeated, perfect against the spread, and rank in the Top 5 in total yards, passing yards and points scored. The question is whether Dalton and his offense can keep up this pace for the rest of the season. Cincinnati has been known to start off strong then regress late in the year.
Worth a bet? : Dalton certainly has value at +2000, and Cincinnati's schedule has only four tough matchups left in the season. If certain teams start losing, Dalton could move up the rankings.
No. 4 : Aaron Rodgers +200 (second in the odds): Rodgers is having another fantastic year for a still-undefeated Green Bay team that is also 5-1 ATS. The trouble with his candidacy, however, is comparing Rodgers to himself. The quarterback has already put up all-time numbers during his career and producing "just-good" numbers almost feels like a letdown. The former MVP currently has a 115.9 QBR, 1,491 passing yards and 15 touchdowns, which is less than the numbers that the other top candidates are sitting on.
Worth a bet? : Rodgers may be the best quarterback in the league, so he does have a certain value. But excluding Manning's wins in 2008 and 09, there hasn't been a repeat MVP winner since Bret Favre in the late 1990's. At +200 this feels like a wait-and-see approach.
No. 3 : Cam Newton +350 (third in the odds): Newton is an MVP candidate because he is getting wins out of a team with little weapons on offense and not because of his stellar numbers. In essence, its Newton's leadership that is making him a candidate, which is surprising for a player that has been criticized for his lack of maturity and leadership in the past. As long as Carolina keeps winning, the young quarterback will remain in the conversation.
Worth a bet? : Newton's stats are not great, and with numbers like a 78.4 QBR, 1,275 passing yards and only nine touchdowns, once the Panthers start losing, the quarterback will begin to lose stock.
No. 2 : Carson Palmer +2000 (fifth in the odds): Palmer is another long-shot MVP candidate with value. Arizona is a major player in the NFC, and team is on pace to run away with its division and grab a Top 3 seed in the postseason. Palmer's stats are better than Daltons and Rodgers and are on par with the fantastic numbers Tom Brady is currently putting up. The best part of the 35 year old's candidacy is the fact that the media loves a good comeback story, and they could lean toward a quarterback returning from a devastating injury at the twilight of his career and award him with a Most Valuable Player trophy as a legacy honor.
Worth a bet? : Palmer is an interesting player on an interesting team, and his story alone is enough to make this a solid bet at +2000. Expect the Arizona quarterback to move up the list as the season progresses.
No. 1 : Tom Brady +140 (first in the odds): Brady is leading an offense that is ranked in the Top 2 in total yards, passing yards and points scored (35.5), while still being undefeated. The Patriot quarterback only has two MVP awards, which seems criminal for someone who could go down as the greatest to ever play his position. The biggest reasons behind Brady having the most value are his league-leading stats-113.2 QBR, 2,054 passing yards and 16 touchdowns-and the fact that many experts are whispering about the possibility of another undefeated regular season.
Worth a bet? : Regardless of the witch hunt that went down during the offseason, Brady is still the NFL's "Golden Boy". Taking the quarterback at +140 is probably the safest bet since New England is on course for a three-loss season at worst.
Read more articles by George Monroy
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