It's never too early to look at the NFL MVP odds race, especially with rosters mostly shaped following the draft and free agency. Though the season is still more than a month away, the NFL MVP favorites are becoming clear with training camp now underway.
Will Aaron Rodgers retain his NFL MVP crown next season... or can Kansas City Chiefs superstar Patrick Mahomes win again? Both are among the current NFL MVP odds leaders but the field is deep and tightly contested, with a number of other star quarterbacks with strong MVP odds.
Let's take a look at the full board and see who has the best odds to win NFL MVP.
Odds to win NFL MVP
Live odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook.
Favorites to win NFL MVP
A Super Bowl loss that saw Mahomes overwhelmed did little to dissuade oddsmakers ahead of 2021. The Chiefs' signal-caller is the favorite to win the second MVP of his career, sitting at +500 odds after finishing third in the MVP race in 2020. Kansas City will see the majority of its offense return in '21, as well as the offensive coaching staff, and they bolstered their offensive line — setting Mahomes up for an MVP run.
Despite eventually running away with the 2020 MVP award, Rodgers finds himself second on the odds board at +1,000. Rodgers spent the offseason in a dramatic standoff between himself and the only franchise he has ever played for, but that didn't impact his standing in the MVP odds race — and now that he's reported to training camp and will play for the Packers again this season, it appears as it's business as usual for A-Rod.
The GOAT, Tom Brady, sits third behind Mahomes and Rodgers at +1,200. After winning the Super Bowl in his first season not in Foxborough, Brady (who will be 44 when the season starts) has another full offseason to gel with all his weapons in coach Bruce Arian's system.
Rounding out the Top-5 are Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen at +1,300, and Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, who is coming off a season-ending leg injury, at +1,500.
The highest non-QBs on the odds board are Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry and Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey, both at +5,000.
How to bet futures odds
Futures betting is different than betting on an individual game because you need to consider the long haul as opposed to a single event. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when betting futures odds.
Change your strategy at different points in the season
While some futures bets must be placed before the season begins and are then removed off the board (such as team win totals), other wagers will change odds as the season goes on.
If you are wagering money on a futures bet with changing odds keep in mind that there is less variance at the beginning of the season (when more players and teams are still in contention) and more variance as the season goes on (when teams and players at the top separate themselves from those at the bottom).
In the preseason and beginning of the season, betting on dark horses can prove very profitable. But as the season continues, expect to see odds tighten around the favorites. At that point it becomes wise to focus on the players near the top of the odds board and betting big underdogs is practically like giving your money away.
Look for value with underdogs
While the bigger names tend to be strong MVP betting favorites, there are also live long shots that can provide tremendous value. Look at younger players on the verge of breaking out, or guys that have already been playing at a high level but could take the next step now that they are in an ideal situation with a new team, coach or system.
Other players that can give a great payout are established stars coming off under-performing seasons due to injuries or other factors. If you're lucky you might be able to catch them in a bounce-back year.
Follow the narrative
When placing futures bets on individual awards, keep in mind that voters, not a scoreboard are often the deciding factor. Voters can be influenced by a variety of factors, including media coverage and public opinion. Consider what the media narrative is for a particular season and which players they seem to be rooting for and against.
For example, in LeBron James' first season in Miami he was viewed as a villain or heel by the media and Derrick Rose, who ended up winning MVP, was the perfect foil for that. When Ron Dayne won the Heisman trophy back in 1999 it was viewed by many as a well-deserved reward for his entire career at Wisconsin.
Research historical trends
Historical trends, especially recent ones, can give you a good idea of which way voters tend to lean.
The NBA MVP, for example, almost always goes to a player on the best or second-best regular-season team in the league. While the NFL MVP has been handed out to a quarterback in 12 of the last 13 seasons.
Identifying those trends is a good way to separate the true contenders from the pretenders.
Where can I bet on NFL awards?
Most online books and casinos offer futures bets on NFL awards and odds generally begin to appear after free agency and the NFL Draft. Check out the NFL futures odds at the best sportsbooks available where you live.