Doc's Handicaps the NFL MVP Candidates
by Robert Ferringo - 07/24/2006
Here's one man's Top Ten futures plays for the 2006-2007 NFL MVP Award. The odds reflect those posted at Bodog:
10. Donovan McNabb (+1600) - People are quick to forget that this guy accounted for 70 percent of Philadelphia's offense when they were going to three-straight pre-TO conference championships. If the Eagles have a bounce-back year and make the playoffs it will be all McNabb.
9. LaDainian Tomlinson (+800) - San Diego has a rookie quarterback, so expect much of the offensive burden to be applied to LT. He's averaged 409 touches, 1,951 total yards and 16 touchdowns in his five-year career. I think he surpasses each of those numbers in the last monster year before his career starts to slide.
8. Tiki Barber (+1200) - Barber nearly matched 2005 MVP Shaun Alexander's stats in every category but one: touchdowns (9 to 27). That was more a function of Tom Coughlin's insistence on using Brandon Jacobs in goal-line and short-yardage situations as it was anything Barber didn't do. He would be higher on this list if Jacobs were in prison.
7. Jake Plummer (+2200) - Everyone believes that the Broncos win in spite of Plummer as opposed to because of him. That may be, but with Javon Walker, Rod Smith and Ashley Lelie, Plummer may have the best receiver trio in the league. He's put up an average of 3,728 yards and 23 TDs over the last two years. If he can do that, and repeat last year's total of just seven INTs, then he could handle the hardware./p>
6. Larry Johnson (+600) - Rushing for 1,750 yards in nine games is impressive. But people don't realize that his offensive line isn't going to be nearly as good as last year. Or that running backs don't win the award. Or that K.C. probably isn't going to the playoffs. Other than that he's a great bet.
5. Clinton Portis (+1500) - I expect big things from the Redskins this season, and Portis will be the workhorse. He finished third in the league in rushing last year and has logged at least 340 carries in each of the last two seasons. He needs to diversify his offensive game for more total yards and he'll need to improve upon his 11 touchdowns last year.
4. The Field (+900) - Why not? Only half of the league's starting quarterbacks were listed so you get the other 16. Not bad considering that quarterbacks win the award 62 percent of the time. The "other 16" includes Drew Bledsoe and Ben Roethlisberger, so consider this a 9-to-1 bet on either of them. This also protects you from something wacky - like a defensive player or a kicker winning.
3. Tom Brady (+550) - If Brady can pull himself away from Internet porn (I should rephrase that) he definitely has to be a front-runner. Like Manning, Brady has seen his defense and running game deteriorate over the past 12 months. He put up more than 4,000 yards last season and if he can top 30 TDs (avg. 26 since 2002) he could take the trophy. And isn't it weird that everyone's "Best QB Ever" has zero MVP awards?
2. Jake Delhomme (+1200) - I love this bet at these odds. Four of five NFL preseason magazines picked Carolina to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. The pairing of Keyshawn Johnson with Steve Smith gives Delhomme the weapons to put up serious numbers. Like Plummer, he needs to cut down on the mistakes but he fits the general MVP makeup: quarterback from an elite team.
1. Peyton Manning (+350) - I know this is a cop out. But he is the best quarterback in the game. The Colts defense and running game have both taken steps backwards. That should translate into more Tecmo Bowl numbers from Manning, who trusts himself more than anyone else on the field. A third MVP would put him on a level with Brett Favre.
Decent Value Plays: Mike Vick (+1300); Cadillac Williams (+4000); Kurt Warner (+1300).
Sucker Bets: Dante Culpepper (+1600); Carson Palmer (+1800); Brett Favre (+2500); Terrell Owens (+1400).
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