Who are the top favorites for the 2020 MVP award according to the bookmakers? Find out as we weigh in with some discerning thoughts about the NFL odds currently trading.
Lamar Jackson wasn’t exactly a shoe-in for the regular season MVP award last September, just as the 2019 NFL regular season was set to get off the ground. He didn’t even whiff at the shortlist of top favorites in the futures’ market then.
The knockback from Jackson’s sternest critics was that he was more of a “running back” than a “quarterback.” An impression based on a limited cross-section of games during the second half of the 2018 season, in which Jackson stepped in for an injured Joe Flacco. Would he develop into a strong enough passer to hold his own in the league was the prevailing doubt trotted out by NFL pundits and analysts, especially after the manner in which the Ravens crashed out of the 2018 playoffs with Jackson barely striking an audible chord.
Tale told Jackson put paid on the naysaying. Demonstrating a remarkable turnaround the following season by putting together one of the most dynamic offensive outputs of any quarterback in recent years. And it was no fluke.
The proof is in the numbers. Outrageous numbers that included the most rushing yards by a quarterback in a single season (1206 yards) along with passing yards in excess of 3,000, leading the NFL in TDs (36) and carrying the Ravens to a 14-2 SU record (the NFL’s best record in 2019).
Jackson enjoyed nine games with a passer rating above 100, including two games in which he managed a perfect rating of 158.3. (Week 1 against the Dolphins and Week 10 against the Bengals). He dumped a truckload of TDs (4 TDs or more) in multiple games, becoming the first Raven to do so ever, and towards the end of the season he was seen kicking back in the fourth quarter, more often than not on the bench with his shades on because the game was in-hand.
One could wax lyrical about Jackson all day long but nobody did it better than his teammate, Mark Ingram.
Of course, Jackson thoroughly deserved to win the MVP award when all was said and done. Nonetheless, it’s fair to say, the case in sports as it is in the NFL, “it’s not about what you did but what you’re going to do,” that matters more.
The past is all well and good. Nobody can take that away achievements that have gone into the books. However, if continued strive for excellence is the objective, then a limitation act must apply to the past.
Whether Lamar Jackson can go back-to-back and win a second MVP award is as such one of the more intriguing topics in the offseason. By the odds, he’s not the favorite do so – at +750 with BetOnline, Jackson comes up as the second best bet after Patrick Mahomes at +500.
Complacency isn’t a word that can be associated with the Ravens’ quarterback. Jackson, who has made no secret about his dream to win a Super Bowl, is sure to come out of the blocks, raring to go. That alone is sure to ingratiate his odds with his fans and make him a popular NFL pick.
What’s at stake for Jackson is to essentially replicate Patrick Mahomes’ first two years in the NFL. He’s halfway there. Mahomes won the 2018 regular season MVP accolade and then went on to win the Super Bowl MVP award a year later. On the strength of the outstanding start to his NFL career. it’s not surprising Mahomes leads the charge as the top bet to claim the coveted award.
Mahomes’ stock is undeniably on the up and bookmakers simply can’t afford to tip any player but the Kansas City starlet as the top bet in one of the key NFL future betting markets. Separately, just to get a sense of Mahomes’ currency amongst NFL fans, the Chiefs quarterback’s jersey sales recently took over the No.1 spot from Tom Brady as the league’s top selling jersey. Jackson finished third after Tom Brady where league merchandise is concerned.
Speaking of Tom Brady, earlier in the year, Brady was one of the league’s sleeper NFL picks for the MVP award at +2800. Those NFL bettors that banked on Brady at +2800 could be in for tidy windfall should the veteran quarterback turn Tampa Bay Buccaneers into a bona fide contender in 2020.
On paper, the Bucs certainly pack a punch. The combination of Brady, Rob Gronkowski, and a string of young offensive weapons on the roster, all guided by a highly respected coach in Bruce Arians, can’t be overstated enough. Not for nothing are the Bucs contenders and Brady a hot topic in the MVP conversation at new-fangled odds of +1200, which makes him the joint fourth-best MVP bet with Kyler Murray and just a smidgen behind Russell Wilson (+1000) as the third best bet.
Russell Wilson is a constant in the MVP conversation. A solid NFL pick simply because of his consistency at the position ever since being drafted in 2012. Kyler Murray’s addition into the Top 5 may seem a bit overly generous but at the same time there’s a general sense Kliff Kingsbury is cooking up something special in Arizona. The addition of Andre Hopkins to the roster was the first real ripple of serious intent in the offseason that prompted NFL markets to move position.
Rounding out the Top 5 MVP betting favorites is Dak Prescott at +1400. Although the Cowboys’ quarterback has yet to agree to contract terms – which injects concern about his status as the starter as well as the viability of NFL picks going his way – owner Jerry Jones has done his bit to set up Dallas favorably for the next season. Bringing in head coach Mike McCarthy and picking up exciting young talent in the NFL draft have gone a long way to lifting the fifth-year starter in NFL futures. Put simply, it’s boom or bust for Prescott as the recipe for success is there with the enviable ingredients at his disposal.