San Francisco 49ers QB Brock Purdy is the favorite to win the 2023 NFL MVP Award entering Week 14, and we detail whether the second-year passer is worth betting to win the honor based on the best NFL odds from our best sports betting apps.
On Dec. 4, 2022, San Francisco 49ers QB Brock Purdy took the field under extraordinary circumstances. Trey Lance, who opened the year atop team's the depth chart, suffered a season-ending ankle injury in Week 2. Jimmy Garoppolo, the team's longtime starter, broke his foot 11 weeks later on San Francisco's first offensive drive of a game.
And so the 49ers turned to Purdy, an experienced but inconsistent passer at Iowa State whose subpar arm strength and athleticism led to him falling to the final pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, with one team famously writing "NO INTEREST" on his pre-draft profile.
Almost exactly a year later, "Mr. Irrelevant" is the favorite in the NFL MVP odds. And his interest among bettors is growing every day.
It's been a stunning 12-month run for Purdy, who sits atop the MVP oddsboard at the majority of our best live betting sites after the 49ers' 42-19 win over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. Purdy has been arguably the NFL's most prolific passer during his first season as a full-time starter, and his squad enters Week 14 as the consensus Super Bowl favorite.
So is he worth a bet to win the league's top individual honor? Or is he largely the product of a system designed to churn out MVP-level production?
Let's break down the case for and against Purdy winning the 2023 NFL MVP Award, with a look at his odds and why history is against him.
Brock Purdy's NFL MVP odds entering Week 14
This year's NFL MVP race has seemingly changed with each passing week, and Purdy's climb to the top of the oddsboard is the most significant development of the entire 2023 campaign.
After dealing as high as +7500 to win the MVP Award over the summer, Purdy entered the season trading anywhere from +2500 to +4000 across our best sports betting sites. He was still getting odds as high as +2500 two weeks ago and +1600 prior to Week 13, even as Purdy paced the league in an array of notable passing stats.
Then came Sunday's historic win over the Eagles, with Purdy leading the 49ers to six straight touchdown drives at one point — only the fifth time that's happened this century. He also became the third QB in NFL history to throw for three touchdowns while posting a passer rating of 140 or more three times in a single season. The other two players won MVP.
Unsurprisingly, Purdy entered Monday with the shortest odds across most of our best sportsbooks. His price has only shortened over the last 24 hours, with bettors flocking to back the 23-year-old.
Why Brock Purdy is 2023 NFL MVP favorite
As shocking as Purdy's MVP campaign may seem on the surface, the argument for him to win the award is pretty straightforward. He's been the most prolific passer in football through the first 13 weeks of the season.
That was the case entering Week 13, even before he torched the NFL's top club to the tune of 314 yards and four touchdowns. Now he leads the league in virtually every relevant passing metric — including the ones that have been separating MVP winners from the pack in recent years.
Here's a look at where Purdy ranks in key passing stats through Week 13:
While his volume stats pale in comparison to the league leaders, Purdy has been unquestionably the NFL's most efficient passer when looking at just about every traditional metric. And even the advanced stats support his case.
In addition to the above, Purdy is the runaway leader in adjusted net yards per attempt (9.14), a catch-all statistic that incorporates touchdowns, interceptions, and sacks alongside passing yardage. He also leads the NFL in passing success rate (54.9%) and passing DVOA (48.7%), with the latter mark ranking fifth-best all-time behind three other MVP winners.
Also, two other stats in that table — QBR and passing TD% — have been strongly correlated with MVP winners over the past two decades.
Since running backs claimed back-to-back MVP awards in 2005-06, we've seen 15 quarterbacks win the award over the last 16 seasons. Of those, 14 ranked in the top three in QBR, and 10 led the league in QBR, including each of the past five winners.
Those five QBs also led the NFL in passing touchdown rate, which has determined the MVP winner in 10 of the last 16 seasons. Incredibly, of the last 26 quarterbacks to win the award, 18 led the league in passing TD%, and only two ranked outside of the top five.
Purdy's resume clearly resembles that of an MVP winner in more ways than one. That includes team success, too, as 22 of the last 26 MVP winners won at least 12 games, which is certainly within reach for the 49ers (9-3) over the final five weeks of the season.
Why Purdy faces scrutiny for 2023 NFL MVP case
Based strictly on the numbers above, Purdy can make one heck of a case as the most productive player in 2023.
The most valuable, though? That's where his candidacy begins to fall apart.
The Athletic's Mike Sando argued for Purdy's MVP case on Monday, noting that 48.5% of Purdy's passing yards have come after the catch. That's a tick above the NFL average (47%), but still below each of the last three MVP winners, including Patrick Mahomes in 2022 (54%).
What he failed to mention is that Purdy's 6.6 YAC per completion leads the league — the fifth time a 49ers QB has paced the NFL in that metric over the last six seasons. That includes Garoppolo doing it during each of the last two years at the helm of coach Kyle Shanahan's QB-friendly scheme.
While Purdy's supporters point to his league-leading completion rate (70.2%) and yards per attempt (9.6) as evidence that he's pushing the ball down the field as well as anyone, that doesn't tell the whole story, either.
Entering Week 14, Purdy ranks 14th in intended air yards per attempt (7.9), and he's tied for 20th in average depth of target (8.3) among QBs with at least 50 attempts. He also sits 22nd among those passers in percentage of throws at least 20 yards downfield (11.4%).
Purdy has also struggled under pressure and on traditional dropbacks — both of which underscore his reliance on the circumstances around him.
The 49ers QB ranks first in passer rating (131.6) and adjusted completion percentage (86.8%) from a clean pocket while putting up PFF's seventh-best passing grade (91.0) when kept clean among passers with at least 50 attempts. Those ranks drop to seventh in passer rating (84.3), 17th in adjusted completion rate (66%), and 21st in passing grade (51.6) when under duress.
Purdy is also among the NFL's most effective passers when utilizing play action, but he ranks second among all starters in the difference in his completion rate with play action (80.5%) and without it (67.1%). He also sits 17th in passing grade (69.8) on traditional dropbacks.
The numbers only get worse from there. Despite ranking 23rd in pass attempts (332), Purdy is tied for ninth in turnover-worthy plays (15). He owns the NFL's 14th-highest bad-throw percentage (15.8%), and his on-target throw percentage (69.9%) ranks 26th out of 32 qualified passers — both of which are dead last among legitimate MVP contenders.
History against Purdy winning 2023 NFL MVP
Not only does Purdy's statistical case begin to crack under pressure, but he's also working against some strong historical trends among previous NFL MVP winners.
First, let's address the elephant in the room. Most talent evaluators don't see Purdy as being in the same tier as his direct competitors in the 2023 MVP race. If you don't think that matters for this award, there are decades of evidence to suggest otherwise.
Since Oakland Raiders QB Rich Gannon won his lone MVP in 2002, only one player in the last 20 years has taken the award despite being drafted outside of the first round. That player, of course, is Tom Brady, and even he didn't claim his first MVP award (2007) until he had already won three Super Bowls with three Pro Bowls nods.
A year before Gannon's award-winning season, Kurt Warner won his second MVP award for the St. Louis Rams (1999, 2001), whose offense was easily the best we'd ever seen to that point. He remains the only undrafted player in NFL history to win even one MVP trophy in the 66-year history of the award.
It's also virtually impossible to be named the NFL's most valuable player if you aren't considered the best player on your own team. And that's clearly an issue for Purdy.
Of the 15 quarterbacks to win this award since 2007, only six benefitted from a 1,000-yard rusher alongside them, and none enjoyed a running mate with 1,200-plus yards. Purdy will almost certainly boast one in Christian McCaffrey, who leads the league in rushing yards (1,032) and total TDs (17) and, until recently, held better MVP odds than his quarterback (McCaffrey is currently dealing as short as +1500 at Caesars).
McCaffrey is one of three 49ers ranked in the top 25 in yards after the catch. Deebo Samuel leads that group, as he ranks 17th in YAC (370 yards) and is tied for 15th in broken tackles (six) despite missing two full games and leaving early in a third. It's no coincidence that his extended absence coincided with arguably the three worst games of Purdy's career.
Purdy led his team to 17 points in three consecutive games from Weeks 6 to 8, a full 10 points lower than any other game in 2023. He completed just 62.5% of his pass attempts and combined for three TDs, six turnovers, and a 77.9 passer rating. The 49ers lost all three games — their only defeats of the 2023 season.
Should you bet Brock Purdy to win 2023 NFL MVP?
When Purdy was still dealing as a +2500 dark-horse candidate to win NFL MVP a few weeks ago, he was an intriguing long shot as the league's most efficient passer for a team with title aspirations.
But now, at such short odds, it's tough to justify betting on the weakest link on the NFL's most talented roster. That's especially true considering how poorly he grades out when isolating his performance from that of his All-Pro supporting cast.
So who else is worth betting in this market? In a word: anyone.
That's less about Purdy than it is a reflection of the volatility of this year's MVP race, as seven players have already earned at least a share of favorite status through the first 13 weeks. And all of them can make a compelling case over the final quarter of the season.
Ultimately, this race may hinge on a few key matchups down the stretch, which has been a common theme in this market thus far. Josh Allen usurped Tua Tagovailoa as the betting favorite after beating him in Week 4; Hurts leagfropped Mahomes after a head-to-head win in Week 11; and Purdy knocked Hurts off the MVP podium following the 49ers' Week 13 triumph.
The winner of that prime-time contest could get the inside track to win this award over the final few weeks — just like the winner between Dak Prescott's Dallas Cowboys and Hurts' Eagles, who meet this week on Sunday Night Football, will presumably be the front-runner on Monday.
In the end, the hype surrounding Purdy's MVP candidacy feels more like a celebration of his heroic career arc than an endorsement of the former third-string quarterback as the league's most valuable player. Mr. Irrelevant has defied the odds and earned his place in the NFL, but that doesn't mean he deserves its most coveted individual award. And he likely won't win it, either.
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