By Dan Rivera
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We continue on this deep dive futures betting/NFL awards market series and are now on to MVP, as well as the offensive/defensive players of the year (OPOY/DPOY). If you haven’t it figured out yet, "one-way betting markets" are high -EV plays. They don’t offer fair odds, a lot of noise is involved, and there aren’t consistent parameters that help you increase your odds of winning. I have major distain to anyone who says these 3 specific bets mentioned above are actually good bets or offer any real value because they are full of it and don’t actually gamble if that's the case. These 3 awards (along with the Super Bowl and AFC/NFC Conference Championship winners) are at best fun money. Whatever value you have is just something people tell you, but they also don’t tell you the vig for these markets is anywhere from 20-30% and usually ends up being closer to 30%. These NFL season-long awards, along with the other one-way futures markets mentioned, are simply fun talking points with the classic “if you had a $100, who would you bet on for (insert topic X). It’s just for content, and that needs to be stated here first and foremost.
I don’t encourage anyone to put real solid amounts of money down on betting the MVP, but if you do decide to bet some of these, then make sure you split your bet over multiple tickets. We see wild swings in odds for players/teams winning and with multiple tickets you can hedge out and lock in some profit while keeping your original pick. Russell Wilson last year started off great for MVP but then saw his odds plummet towards the middle/later parts of the regular season when Wilson really started struggling.
What about the other articles on one-way markets I've written about? Well, Coach of the Year and Offensive/Defensive Rookie of the Year have consistent parameters that the media likes that helps identify edges for us. Don’t believe me? Go re-read them here. Lastly, click here to view the data. The data goes back to 1995 for all 3 awards. Now let’s start with the award everyone has a strong opinion for…
The short answer to this award is "win more games" (noticing a theme for almost all these awards except rookie of the year?). You don’t win games? Well, then you aren’t winning this award. The last time a player won this award and won less than 10 games was in 1997 with Berry Sanders (please tweet @berniefratto about that year). The average amount of wins is 12.68, so the average MVP award winner is 12-4 or 13-3.
To my surprise, however, the number of winners who had more than 13 wins is at 9 (!) and more than half (13) of the winners have had 13 or more wins. Unfortunately, the obvious choices for even 12-win teams leaves the list very limited here, but quarterbacks like Lamar Jackson or Matt Ryan are also unpredictable.
The sports books are aware of the obvious answers and that's part of the reason why I don’t like betting this award. These teams also go into playoffs. A total of 18 MVP award winners made it to conference championship and another 13 made it all the way to the Super Bowl. Good players take their team far.
To take this a step further, these MVP winners are generally taking their teams far into the playoffs with 18 MVP winners reaching the conference championship. This ties into the teams winning and generally for as good as the MVP players are, the team is good in general and helps them win a lot of games per year.
Next up is the position itself, and to no one’s surprise this is a quarterback who wins this award. Simple as that. And unfortunately, predicting the obvious QB's are priced very unfairly for you, the sports bettor.
Who stood out to me in terms of the MVP market? Matthew Stafford at 20/1 on MGM. I don’t believe he wins this award here personally, but the potential is certainly there for the Los Angeles Rams to win 12-13 games. Patrick Mahomes is another obvious choice as the Chiefs look to win another AFC Championship.
I don’t buy into Josh Allen this year either. The Buffalo Bills had a lot go right their way last year and I am not sure how good he actually is. Aaron Rodgers is another guy who will be a popular pick, sure, but will the Green Bay Packers be as good as last year? I believe that's an 11-win or 12-win team at maximum.
Tom Brady could win it as well, but does he put up the numbers? Does he care for another though? Brady is a guy you can make a strong argument for, but he seems more interested in another Super Bowl imo.
Note: I didn’t bet these or any other names mentioned in this article. I just wanted to mention who stood out to me or who are a very popular pick for this award according the current state of the odds market.