And you thought the first month of the season was too early to talk NFL MVP.
It’s fun to look at the gambling odds in June and start to wonder who will win. The favorite of some offshore gambling sites was never in doubt. New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady nearly won MVP in only 12 games last season. Only Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan’s brilliance kept Brady from making history (nobody who has missed more than three games has ever won MVP). But Brady, ready for a full 16 games, is the obvious favorite going into this season according to Bet365 via OddsShark.com and Bovada.
Brady is 4-to-1 on both sites with a significant gap to No. 2 on the list.
According to Bovada odds, right now J.J. Watt is 66/1 to win the 2017 NFL regular season MVP. pic.twitter.com/rX1KtRrz5R
— Sarah Barshop (@sarahbarshop) June 22, 2017
Bovada has Aaron Rodgers at 7-to-1 and Derek Carr at 9-to-1 as your second and third favorites. According to OddsShark, Rodgers is still second at Bet365 but tied with Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson at 10-to-1. At least both sites don’t have a non-quarterback among the few favorites, because we know voters think anyone outside a quarterback is practically ineligible at this point.
But it’s not fun to pick chalk anyway, so what about a nice long shot? Well, look no further than Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston, right there with Alex Smith and Ryan Tannehill (ha!) at 66-to-1. Winston is behind Sam Bradford! Come on.
Winston already has a pair of 4,000-yard seasons. We know he has phenomenal talent and is intently focused on being a great quarterback. What Winston hasn’t had is much help at receiver outside of Mike Evans. Well, the Buccaneers signed DeSean Jackson, the deep threat that was sorely needed in the offense, and drafted tight end O.J. Howard in the first round. Howard and Cameron Brate will be a tough tight end duo to cover. Evans and Jackson complement each other perfectly. The door is wide open for Winston to have a big increase in his stats. A 5,000-yard season is at the absolute high end of his ceiling, but it’s not impossible. It’s not like the NFC South has the greatest pass defenses in football.
And if Winston plays well, the Buccaneers should improve their win total. Basically MVP candidates have three boxes to check: 1. Are you a quarterback? 2. Do you have good numbers? 3. Did your team win? Winston has a good chance to go 3-for-3.
Winston still has a long way to go to get in the MVP race. First of all, he needs to cut down on interceptions, and the Buccaneers as a team need to make strides to make the playoffs. But he has a better chance than Sam Bradford. The biggest obstacle for Winston (and everyone else) might be creating enough hype to pass Brady in the race, which might be impossible this year.
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