Odds to win the 2020 NFL MVP: QBs dominate as betting favorites

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Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, fresh off a Super Bowl title and only 14 months after being named the 2018 NFL MVP, is the current betting favorite for the 2020 NFL MVP award. Just behind him on the odds board are fellow QBs Lamar Jackson and Russell Wilson.

Jackson won the 2019 NFL MVP award after throwing for 3,127 yards and 36 touchdowns, while piling up another 1206 yards and seven scores on the ground for the 14-2 Baltimore Ravens.

Wilson has been putting the Seattle Seahawks’ offense on his back for the last few seasons. He threw for 4,110 yards and 31 TDs against just 5 interceptions despite facing constant pressure behind a pathetic Seahawks offensive line in 2019.

Of the last 13 NFL MVPs, 12 have been handed out to quarterbacks, so it’s little surprise that the earliest you see a non-QB on this list is Titans running back Derrick Henry at +4,400.

No wide receiver has ever won MVP while the last defensive player to take home the hardware was Lawrence Taylor in 1986. Rams DT Aaron Donald has the best odds of any defensive player at +10,000, while last year’s NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year Michael Thomas is the top WR bet at a whopping +15,000.

Here are the current odds to win the 2020 NFL MVP:


Player Odds to win (as of March 30)
Patrick Mahomes +380
Lamar Jackson +600
Russell Wilson +600
Deshaun Watson +1,200
Dak Prescott +1,400
Carson Wentz +1,600
Drew Brees +1,600
Aaron Rodgers +2,000
Jimmy Garoppolo +2,600
Kyler Murray +2,600
Tom Brady +2,600
Baker Mayfield +3,200
Ben Roethlisberger +3,500
Matt Ryan +3,800
Derrick Henry +4,400
Kirk Cousins +4,400
Matthew Stafford +4,400
Christian McAffrey +5,000
Josh Allen +5,000
Jared Goff +5,000


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 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.