Patrick Mahomes & Lamar Jackson Should Be 2020 MVP Favorites
Lamar Jackson earned unanimous MVP honors for his electric 2019 season, breaking away from the usual suspects and following Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ 2018 campaign as another longshot winner.
The Baltimore quarterback was +6500 when FanDuel first posted MVP futures odds last May. Jackson put up historic numbers in leading the Ravens to a 14-2 regular season.
Now the two young stars seem destined to battle atop the AFC for the foreseeable future. FOX Bet was quick to post MVP futures odds Monday, with Mahomes (+333) and Jackson (+600) listed as the favorites. But the past two seasons prove there’s plenty of value on longshot contenders ready to take a giant step forward.
As we wait for the market to fully take shape in the coming months, Bookies.com took a first crack at its projected MVP futures betting odds for 2020 coming off the Chiefs’ 31-20 comeback win over the 49ers in Super Bowl 54. These will differ from the FOX Bet odds based on our projections – we can’t imagine Jimmy Garoppolo (+1000 at FOX Bet) listed with shorter odds than Deshaun Watson (+1200) once the preseason starts, for example. But we’ll see how bettors respond in the coming months.
2020 NFL MVP Betting Candidates
All odds below are unofficial and for entertainment purposes only.
Patrick Mahomes +700
The 24-year old’s trophy case is filling up fast after he earned Super Bowl MVP honors in Miami on Sunday in Kansas City’s comeback victory over San Francisco. Mahomes was unbelievable in the playoffs as the Chiefs trailed by 10 or more in all three playoff games and still won each by double digits.
Not bad company to be a part of ?— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 3, 2020
Patrick Mahomes joins Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger as the only quarterbacks to win a Super Bowl at age 24 or younger. pic.twitter.com/3MKcNtJMCt
He threw for more than 4,000 yards with 26 touchdowns to five interceptions while missing two games due to injury. For a guy who has accomplished so much in three years, it seems like he hasn’t even scratched the surface of his potential. Have to imagine Mahomes will be the consensus MVP pick this offseason.
Lamar Jackson +800
Jackson is the only player ever to throw for 3,000 yards and rush for 1,000 in a season. He was a no-doubt winner with all 50 votes and basically owned the NFL all season until the Titans came along and spoiled everything by shutting him down in the Divisional Round in Baltimore.
Recency bias aside, Jackson remains a solid bet to become the first repeat MVP since Peyton Manning in 2008-09. And the Ravens will be highly motivated to give him the same platform and make up for a stunning early playoff exit last month.
Deshaun Watson +1000
The Houston Texans’ quarterback was excellent again in 2019, throwing for 3,852 yards and 26 touchdowns with another seven scores on the ground. He was the toast of the league after a comeback win over the Bills in the Wild Card Round and helped the Texans take a 24-0 lead early in the next round at Kansas City.
The lead didn’t last, but Watson’s MVP chances will as he continues to improve as a leader and playmaker. It’s not hard to imagine him taking a big leap in 2020 and making a serious push among the AFC elite entering his third full season as a starter. Having wideout DeAndre Hopkins inked with the Texans until 2023 doesn’t hurt either.
Drew Brees +1000
Getting into the old guard now with the New Orleans Saints’ quarterback entering his 20th season. It’s hard to believe that Brees, a two-time Offensive Player of the Year and Super Bowl MVP, has never won the season-long award.
Brees posted the highest quarterback rating of his career in 2019 with 2,979 yards, 27 touchdowns and just four interceptions in 11 games. With a championship-level defense, plus offensive weapons Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara set to return, Brees could have his best season yet if he stays healthy in 2020.
Tom Brady +1200
Brady opened at +1000 a year ago but never got in synch with a depleted receivers group. He looked downright washed up in the Patriots’ Wild Card loss to the Titans and will test the open market, most likely settling back in New England for another go-round.
The three-time MVP winner is always going to be a popular NFL betting pick and a tough finish this season won’t change that. He might end up with some value here depending on the opening odds as media would run hard with the comeback narrative after a few months of drama.
Aaron Rodgers +1200
Another star who wasn’t as sharp this season, Rodgers still led the Packers to a 13-3 record and a spot in the NFC Championship Game. Green Bay looks like the NFC North favorite again next season and Rodgers, who picked up his second MVP award in 2014, will be at the helm.
The Packers are probably looking for an overhaul at wide receiver and add a playmaker alongside Davante Adams, who was Rodgers’ only reliable option all season. That could help get Rodgers back to the top of the NFL quarterback pecking order.
Russell Wilson +1400
The Seahawks’ signal-caller looked like a solid MVP bet midway through the season and continues to defy the odds with spectacular fourth-quarter comebacks and gritty style. He came up just short in a 28-23 Divisional Round loss at Green Bay, but Wilson figures to stay atop the upper echelon entering his ninth season.
He’s in the peak of his career and on a similar track as Brady, who first won MVP in his eighth season. Don’t sleep on Wilson’s chances with another stellar year in 2020.
Dak Prescott +1800
Prescott gets a slight Cowboys bump here – any bets involving the Cowboys are going to be popular. It was a rough year for Dallas but a good one for Prescott, who had career highs of 4,902 yards and 30 touchdowns passing.
Sources: Cowboys likely to use franchise tag on Dak Prescott as contract talks remain at impasse.https://t.co/0DJz4Srw91— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 2, 2020
With new coach Mike McCarthy in town and a little more help around him, Prescott should make a push as he tries to become the first-ever Cowboys quarterback to win MVP entering his fifth season.
Derrick Henry +2200
It’s not a popular position anymore – Adrian Peterson, LaDainian Tomlinson and Shaun Alexander are the only three running backs to win MVP over the past 19 seasons. But Henry finally got his national due in the Titans’ playoff run, bringing way more eyeballs to his freakish combination of speed and size.
Henry, the league’s leading rusher with 1,540 yards, will be firmly on the radar entering 2020 and should get plenty of attention as a sleeper MVP candidate coming off a defining postseason.
Christian McCaffrey +2200
We’ll see what first-year coach Matt Rhule has in mind for the Panthers’ offense, but any such plans should heavily feature McCaffrey. He was in the MVP discussion early in 2019 before the Panthers tanked. He also finished with 2,392 yards from scrimmage, third-most in NFL history.
Quarterback Cam Newton claims he’s coming back to Carolina and could take a little pressure off McCaffrey in a new offensive scheme that doesn’t allow teams to stack the box as they did late in the season when Kyle Allen was under center.
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Carson Wentz +3000
The Eagles’ quarterback surpassed the 4,000-yard mark for the first time in his career and added 27 touchdowns to just seven interceptions. It still seems like we haven’t seen the best of Wentz with all the injuries, and it’s important to remember he’s only 27.
Peyton Manning was 27 when he won the first of a record five MVP titles, so we shouldn’t count Wentz out of the discussion just yet.
Ezekiel Elliott +3400
Again, people like to bet on the Cowboys. They usually have good reason with Elliott. He finished fourth in the NFL with 1,357 rushing yards and cut his number of fumbles in half from six in 2018 to just three last season.
If McCarthy can reboot a dormant Dallas franchise, Elliott should have a ton to do with it.
Michael Thomas +3400
No wide receiver has ever won this award, but Thomas isn’t most wide receivers. He’s the only player in NFL history with 470 receptions in his first four seasons and set a single-season receptions record with 149 catches for 1,725 yards in 2019.
We’ll see if the fantasy hero gets his due in the quarterback-heavy national MVP discussion.
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About the Author
Dan writes about college football and other sports for Bookies.com after spending three years covering Tiger Woods’ comeback and the PGA Tour for Golfweek in Orlando. He filled several roles in his prior work as sports producer for the Lansing State Journal, where he hosted the Spartan Speak podcast, managed social media accounts, reported on stories and oversaw nightly production on print deadline. Dan also covered college football, basketball and recruiting as the Michigan State beat writer for 247Sports.