2023 NFL MVP Preview: Favorites & Long shots
As the season approaches, oddsmakers have started to tighten their future odds markets. The NFL schedule release day has shifted the NFL MVP odds significantly. As the odds for quarterbacks have dropped, odds for running backs and wide receivers have shifted dramatically in the opposite direction.
The last time we had a non-QB winner of the MVP award was in 2012 with running back Adrian Peterson; transforming the Minnesota Vikings from a 3-13 team in 2011 to 10-6 a year later while posting a season with 348 carries for 2,097 rushing yards, the second-most by a running back in a single season. With the NFL moving to a 17-game regular season, it would probably take another historic season by a running back to claim the 2022/3 MVP award. There are a couple of candidates who could challenge for it, but the smart money will be on a quarterback claiming it for the ninth time in 10 years.
Alongside quarterbacks dominating the MVP award for most of its inception, only two MVPs have ever come from non-playoff teams and the last instance was in 1973. I think it is safe to assume that the 2022/3 MVP winner will come from a playoff team and more than likely will be a quarterback.
Below, we take a look at the favorites and long shots for the NFL MVP award as things currently stand.
Favorites to win the 2023 NFL MVP
Josh Allen to win MVP +750
After a couple of average seasons to start his career Allen exploded into a top-tier quarterback in 2020 finishing second for the MVP award. He finished the 2021 playoffs playing at the highest level of his career and the Buffalo Bills are built for a title run which should realistically propel him into strong MVP consideration. He is the favorite for good reason and the most likely to grab that MVP award with both hands.
Patrick Mahomes to win MVP +800
Mahomes had a down year last season by his lofty standards. Since becoming a full-time starter in 2018 and winning the 2018 NFL MVP award he has consistently been one of the best quarterbacks in the game, having been a couple of plays away from reaching the Super Bowl in each of his four years as a starter. The problem for Mahomes is one of expectation, his bar to win a second MVP is quite high already. This appears to be a tricky year for Mahomes as the Chiefs have one of the most brutal schedules of any team and are also in the Stacked AFC West. We have also yet to see how the Chiefs will adapt to the loss of star wide receiver Tyreek Hill to the Dolphins as well. Wait and see.
Tom Brady to win MVP +1000
Brady had one of the most prolific seasons in NFL history in 2021, despite this he finished second to Aaron Rodgers for the second time in two years. Having un-retired in March, it's clear that Brady hasn’t lost a step and could be embarking on a farewell tour in 2022/3, potentially his last playing season (admittedly, we have been saying this for years). The narrative is set-up for Brady as long as the Buccaneers can have another impressive season in a weakened NFC. One last MVP-hurrah? It pays not to underestimate the G.O.A.T.
Aaron Rodgers to win MVP +1000
He couldn’t do it for a third year in a row, could he? Rodgers has been one of the best QBs, on one of the best teams in one of the easiest divisions for the last couple of years. Yes he has dominated and put up MVP numbers, but his team has flattered to deceive for two consecutive playoffs. The narrative feels different this offseason, i.e. he would need to do more to snag his third MVP trophy in a row. With the loss of no.1 wide receiver Davante Adams and a harder schedule for the Packers in 2022 I wouldn’t bet on a three-peat. On the flipside, if Rodgers leads Green Bay to the top of the NFC despite the problems outlined, anything is possible!
Justin Herbert to win MVP +1200
Perhaps the sexiest pick to win MVP in 2022/3, Justin Herbert has broken just about every two-year quarterback record already. Herbert passes the eye-test: his boozako arm makes impossible throws look routine, his 536 rushing yards last season show a mobility only matched by a few QBs. With another year of familiarity with the Chargers and Brandon Staley’s offensive system he is ideally placed to benefit from the experience he has already gained. The problem for Herbert has been the poor performance of the Chargers (the Bolts went 16-17 over the last couple of years, missing the playoffs) relative to his success. If Los Angeles can build on their strong offseason and come out of the AFC West, perhaps the deadliest conference in the NFL, then Herbert is a pretty damn good bet to win his first MVP trophy.
Long shot bets to win the 2023 NFL MVP
Derek Carr to win MVP +3000
Much like Justin Herbert and the Chargers, Derek Carr and the Raiders unfortunately find themselves in the most competitive (on paper) conference in the NFL. Going into his ninth season with the Raiders he’s had plenty of reps and repetition. He drove the unfancied Raiders into the playoffs in 2021 with a dramatic overtime victory against the star-studded Chargers on the final day of the season. Las Vegas have also added intelligently this offseason with the centerpiece being the trade for one of the best wide receivers in the NFL, Davante Adams. Fascinatingly, Adams was Carr’s teammate at Fresno State college so they have history playing together. The Raiders have a lot going for them if they can navigate the tricky AFC West, Carr could be the benefactor.
Jalen Hurts to win MVP +3300
In his first year as a starting quarterback for the Eagles, Hurts led his team to the playoffs. Tick. His 3,144 passing yards and 16 passing touchdowns don’t jump off the page but he had 784 rushing yards and 10 rushing touchdowns. The NFL is moving towards a dual-threat QB league as teams look to maximize offensive flexibility at their disposal and Hurts very much fits the mold of Lamar Jackson, Cam Newton, Josh Allen and Kyler Murray. With the Eagles playing in the weaker NFC and having the 3rd easiest strength of schedule, Philadelphia are primed for a strong regular season. The Eagles also had a good offseason with the prized addition being a trade for elite wide receiver A.J. Brown, a good friend of Jalen Hurts. There is value backing Hurt’s make-or-break season as the QB of the Eagles.
Trey Lance to win MVP +5000
A bet on Lance is a bet on the 49ers being one of the strongest teams in the NFC. With a number of teams taking a step-back or getting a year older there is an opportunity for a team to take the NFC by the stuff of the neck and run with it. The knock on the 49ers this offseason has been the quarterback uncertainty with regards to committing to Lance over Garoppolo (who remains with San Francisco) as well as a Deebo Samuels requested trade. As things stand however, the 49ers haven’t taken a step back and Kyle Shanahan has a full offseason to design an offense around Trey Lance. There is upside in the uncertainty and this is the type of player and situation to take a chance on.