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Top 5 Sleeper Picks for 2020 Regular Season MVP

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Top 5 Sleeper Picks for 2020 Regular Season MVP
Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers. Elsa/Getty Images/AFP

Who has made the bookmakers’ shortlist for the 2020 NFL Regular Season MVP? Find out as we preview several contenders for this prestigious award with a view towards the current serving of NFL futures odds.

As the dust settles on what was a thrilling showdown between Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl 54, bookmakers waste no time by looking ahead to the upcoming 2020-21 season and releasing a smorgasbord of early futures odds across sports betting platforms, including a shortlist of favorites for the NFL MVP award.

Lamar Jackson won The Associated Press NFL Most Valuable Player Award last season, drawing all 50 votes from a nationwide panel of media members to clinch a unanimous victory.

That’s right: Jackson, who was a longshot NFL pick in 2019 MVP futures markets, was the indisputable 2019 MVP winner, becoming only the second player after Tom Brady (2010) to receive each and every single vote. As well, he is the youngest quarterback to ever win the award.

To join such illustrious company is a stunning achievement for any player but never more so than for the second-year Baltimore Ravens quarterback, not least because it marks a complete turnaround from his rookie season (2018) in which he showcased his rushing abilities but struggled something awful as a passer. In fact, he was so questionable as a passer then, critics dubbed him a running back and not a quarterback, prompting bookmakers in turn to go to press with longshot odds of +10000 on Lamar Jackson to clinch the 2019 MVP award.

Few could have predicted Jackson’s remarkable turnaround, but so it was as the 23-year-old led the NFL in touchdown passes and smashed Mike Vick’s rushing record to set a new single-season rushing record for a quarterback. Tale told, in winning the MVP award sportsbooks took a massive hit.

Jackson’s victory continues a dominant trend that has quarterbacks stealing the show. Seven years running a quarterback has clinched the MVP award and fifteen of the last 18 MVP awards were won by a quarterback. The last player other than a quarterback to be voted as the most valuable player was Adrian Peterson in 2012. Peterson became the third running back since 2002 to emerge triumphant in this category.

Given this trend, it comes as no surprise that markets have gone to press with quarterbacks leading the charge. One has to look past nine quarterbacks at the top of the shortlist of candidates before falling on a non-quarterback player – Christian McCaffrey ().

The FAVES

Reigning MVP Lamar Jackson enters the market amongst the top favourites (+650), but he checks-in as the second best bet. Instead, short-odds honours go to the 2018 regular season MVP and now Super Bowl 54 MVP Patrick Mahomes, who is priced with most top-rated sportsbooks at NFL odds that hover around +600. Finally, Russell Wilson rounds out the top-three favourites in this market at +900, a fact underscored by his standout 2019 regular season account.

Russell Wilson, who is the highest-paid player right now, is widely recognized as one of the most efficient and inspirational players to take the field. Similarly, he’s also a decent bet to claim this honor because of the stability within the Seattle organization.

NFL bettors could do no wrong backing this triplet on their NFL picks to win the 2020 NFL MVP Award. They certainly have the credentials to pull off the feat.

However, just as Jackson emerged as the surprise winner against the NFL odds last season, it’s probably worthwhile to spot some value longshots in the coming season – the so-called sleeper NFL picks. And to be fair there are several top candidates in that realm that could defy the NFL odds. Below we highlight five quarterbacks that could prove valuable sleeper picks, based on their recent form and team situations.

The Sleepers

Aaron Rodgers +2200

Aaron Rodgers and the Packers reached the NFC Championship game last season where they lost to San Francisco 49ers rather badly. In the regular season, Rodgers didn’t necessarily litter the stat sheet but he was efficient in his play with 26 TDs to 4 INTs, and he led the Packers to a 13-3 SU regular season account in Matt LaFleur’s first season under the helm. Some allowances must be made for the new relationship between coach and quarterback. That said, the building blocks are in place.

If LaFleur decides to be more offensive-minded next season and if the Packers give Rodgers more weapons to work with (build-up from the NFL draft and free agency), there’s every reason to believe Rodgers (who won the MVP in 2011 and 2014) can give the field a run for its money in this category.

Tom Brady +2800

A lot hangs in the balance of contract negotiations and free agency for Tom Brady, but if the indisputable GOAT settles on a new agreement with the New England Patriots, one has to consider his viability as a longshot NFL pick in this category.

At 43-years of age, Brady is no spring chicken. It’s going to be a tall order to outdo AFC counterparts such as Mahomes and Jackson, who are only just getting started and tapping into their potential, but sentimentalists may find value in Brady as the +2800 longshot nevertheless because Bill Belichick is still one of the greatest coaches in the game and the Patriots have a tradition of success.

Jimmy Garoppolo +4000

Jimmy Garoppolo proved to be the surprise package of the 2019 season as he led the Niners to Super Bowl 54. While the Niners lost to the Chiefs, there were plenty of positives for Kyle Shanahan’s lot to build on in the coming season.

Jimmy Garoppolo didn’t have the perfect season and he did get a lot of criticism for his play, something that prompted his teammates to step up to his defense on numerous occasions. But he lost the Comeback Player of the Year Award to Ryan Tannehill by one vote. The sky is the limit for Jimmy G. The Niners offense and defense are sound and the coaching is solid. Everything is in place for Jimmy G. to have a standout 2020 campaign.

Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers. Michael Reaves/Getty Images/AFP

Ben Roethlisberger +4000

The Steelers very nearly made the playoffs without Ben Roethlisberger at the helm of the offense, which is a testament to the impressive coaching of Mike Tomlin, the stellar defense and overall team ethos. With Big Ben slated to return next season, he should be well-rested and motivated to get going.

Sitting on the sidelines and gaining a different view to the game can only give him added perspective. If the Steelers can maintain their defensive dominance and Big Ben plays up to his potential, he could very well earn MVP consideration.

Jared Goff +5000

Two years ago, Jared Goff and the Rams reached Super Bowl LIII where they lost to the New England Patriots. The Rams failed to make the playoffs in 2019 after falling well short of the mark and, admittedly, Jared Goff endured struggles of his own.

However, the Rams’ team situation is still very appealing with sound coaching and loads of dangerous personnel contained within their ranks. It’s a longshot NFL pick to back Jared Goff for regular season MVP Awards but if he can take the lessons of 2019 and work on them this offseason he’s in a good position with a solid team to make a stab at the MVP chase.

Quarterback Jared Goff #16 of the Los Angeles Rams. Meg Oliphant/Getty Images/AFP

NFL Betting Summary

NFL betting is a year-round affair and in keeping with that spirit, the 2020 MVP race is on with NFL odds hot off the press and storylines aplenty to spot. The 2020 class of candidates identified by bookies is an intriguing set filled with household names and burgeoning young talent. Predicting which lucky player will win the coveted honor at this early stage is a stab in the dark because many factors will influence the outcome of the season and the trajectory of each player’s prospects – from the draft process and free agency to the NFL schedule, injuries and more. Short of a crystal ball, it’s impossible to say for certain which player is the best bet.

Obviously, the top faves are the likeliest candidates to live up to expectations, making them the likeliest bets for early NFL picks. But seeing as it’s not unheard of for a player to outperform expectations – Lamar Jackson is case-and-point – looking beyond the top faves for a few sleeper NFL picks to bolster early bets is an exploitable option.

In this space, we’ve identified five quarterbacks that could potentially earn MVP consideration but there’s a whole slew of players that could also surprise. Be sure to check out the full serving on MVP odds before settling on your top NFL picks!