We may be three months away from kicking off the 2021 National Football League schedule, but it’s never too early to take a look at futures odds for the upcoming season.
Online sportsbooks across the United States including DraftKings, BetMGM, and William Hill have a variety of futures options to choose from. One of the most popular amongst the public is the category for NFL Most Valuable Player.
The NFL MVP market is a fan favorite for bettors because it provides a rooting interest throughout the entire season, and the odds are incredibly lucrative. A small wager can lead to a huge payout, especially when you look beyond the first few names on the odds board.
Here, we’ll dig into the betting odds and make a few longshot 2021 NFL MVP betting picks.
2021 NFL MVP Odds
NFL MVP Longshot Picks
When it comes to NFL MVP odds, there are plenty of familiar names at the top of the page, no matter which sportsbook you check. Patrick Mahomes II is the unsurprising favorite with the likes of Aaron Rodgers, Josh Allen (Bills), Matthew Stafford, Tom Brady, and Lamar Jackson right behind him. Players such as Justin Herbert, Dak Prescott, and Russell Wilson are in that conversation as well.
But all of these guys have odds that are too low to be considered longshots, so we’re moving down the odds board a little bit at some names that might be getting overlooked.
It’s true that the further down the list you go, the more of a stretch it is to find your eventual MVP. But we’re searching for players who can outperform their long odds and possibly bring home a massive payout to anyone with the fortitude to back them this early in the race. After all, we have seen it happen plenty in recent seasons.
Patrick Mahomes II opened as high as +10000 at some books before running away with the MVP in 2018, and Lamar Jackson had +8000 at the start of 2019 and won the award. Josh Allen opened around +4000 last season before finishing second in the race.
So at this point in the offseason, which players fit this mold for us? Let’s get to a few longshot NFL MVP betting predictions.
Carson Wentz – Quarterback, Indianapolis Colts
Shut your eyes, Eagles fans. After the unmitigated disaster that was the 2020 season, Carson Wentz is a prime bounceback candidate as he takes the reins under center for the Indianapolis Colts.
When Reich was on the headset as Philadelphia’s offensive coordinator in 2017, Wentz was an MVP frontrunner before tearing his ACL in December. The Eagles’ improbable run to the Super Bowl makes it easy to forget, but Wentz and Reich have the ability to make magic together.
Last season was a bad one for Wentz, no question. But considering the two are back together at the roster surrounding Wentz now, there are some reasons to be hopeful.
With Jonathan Taylor in the backfield and T.Y. Hilton and Michael Pittman are among the receiving targets, Wentz is suddenly surrounded by tons of offensive talent. Throw in the fact that Indy boasts a top-10 defensive unit, since team success can only work in Wentz’s favor.
The Colts are the favorite to win the AFC South and in our minds, they are the best team in this division. If Wentz can rebound in his new surroundings and Indianapolis finds success, Wentz could be an excellent longshot candidate for the MVP. His odds are currently , in a similar tier as Josh Allen was heading into 2020.
Joe Burrow – Quarterback, Cincinnati Bengals
Bengals signal-caller Joe Burrow may best be suited for a Comeback Player of the Year trophy, but he still can’t be overlooked when we’re discussing dark horses for the NFL MVP award.
After tearing his ACL last season, Burrow is returning to the field in 2021 looking to build on what he did in 10 games during his rookie year. Before the injury, Burrow threw for 2,688 yards and had 13 touchdowns to five interceptions, so he was off to a pretty decent start.
Luckily, Burrow should have some help on offense in the form of wideout and former LSU teammate Ja’Marr Chase. He joins an offense that includes young weapons such as Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd, and Joe Mixon. Cincinnati is also expected to be improved along the offensive line, which is imperative to the offense’s success.
The Bengals will probably need to exceed expectations in the win column for a Burrow run at MVP to be possible but with a line around +5000, the young QB should massively outperform his odds. There are many worse bets.
Christian McCaffrey – Running Back, Carolina Panthers
McCaffrey was banged up all of 2020, missing 13 games for a variety of ailments that included his ankle, shoulder, and thigh. Despite the possibility that the Panthers won’t lean on their running back quite as much compared to past seasons, McCaffrey says he’s ready to go for 2021. If that’s true, then we can’t ignore his longshot MVP odds.
We are just two years removed from McCaffrey becoming the third player to exceed 1,000 yards both on the ground and through the air in the same season. And he did that while Carolina had fewer weapons, a problem which they’ve actively looked to remedy. The Panthers’ offense also includes new QB Sam Darnold along with wide receivers, DJ Moore, David Moore, and Terrace Marshall Jr., a second-round draft pick in 2021.
If McCaffrey is indeed 100 percent and defenses are forced to pay attention to other weapons on the offense, there’s plenty of reason to think he can dominate as we’ve seen him do in the past. With MVP odds hovering around , McCaffrey is worth a look. He’s also a perfect candidate for Comeback Player of the Year ( odds).
Tua Tagovailoa – Quarterback, Miami Dolphins
It’s hard to know what to make of Tua as an NFL quarterback to this point. He played in 10 games (starting nine of them) and his team went 6-3, but there were plenty of times he looked uncomfortable and the defense had to carry Miami to most of those wins. With that said, he’s barely 23 years old and it’s too early to give up on him just yet.
The Dolphins need to see growth from Tagovailoa this season, and it could already be starting. Wideout DaVante Parker recently told reporters that Tua’s mechanics are different including better footwork and a quicker release. For what it’s worth, his trainer also estimated that he was not close to 100 percent during his rookie season.
The odds opened around +5000 for Tua depending on the sportsbook, but they’ve since ballooned even higher. Plenty has to go right for this to come to fruition, including the Dolphins repeating their success and scoring more points on offense in the process. But with the odds so high, it’s worth a look being that Miami has a talented all-around roster and weapons around their young quarterback.
Saquon Barkley – Running Back, New York Giants
In 2018, Saquon Barkley burst onto the scene and looked like an MVP candidate. Then, injury troubles plagued him in 2019 before the Giants running back tore his ACL in Week 2 of the 2002 season. So I guess it’s out of sight, out of mind. But when you get a look at Barkley’s MVP odds for 2021, you can’t help but take notice.
Barkley was a trendy MVP pick before the 2020 season, and his odds took a massive dive as a result. But after a second straight injury, he’s flying completely under the radar this time around with massive odds of . If you bet him at +10000 for $1, you’d win $100.
In his rookie year, Barkley notched over 2,000 yards from scrimmage and scored 15 touchdowns in 16 games despite being on a last-place Giants team. With just a slight jump from the offensive line, Saquon can do similar damage in 2021 against a pretty manageable schedule for Big Blue.
The truth is that the last 18 months has seen very little football wear and tear on his body in terms of contact on every play and thankfully, we’ve seen the likes of Adrian Peterson and Todd Gurley return to form after ACL injuries. So assuming his knee is 100 percent, why not risk a tiny amount to perhaps pull in a huge payday on one of the best athletes in the sport? For what it’s worth, Barkley is another name high on the Comeback Player of the Year list.