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Aaron Rodgers’ NFL MVP Odds Improved, But Will His Health?

Aaron Rodgers leads the Packers to the locker room.
Green Bay won't have any success without Aaron Rodgers, but can that can they really lean on that bad knee all year? Photo by Keith Allison (flickr) [CC License]
  • Aaron Rodgers’ epic Week 1 performance gave his 2018 NFL MVP odds a big boost
  • Will Rodgers be available for Green Bay’s Week 2 matchup?
  • If Rodgers does play, how will he hold up against the Vikings’ D?

Like Leo DiCaprio’s character in The Revenant, Aaron Rodgers survived a brutal mauling by a Bear, only to shake it off and kick all the asses in the Packers Week 1 24-23 comeback victory.

Following that emphatic performance, much like Leo DiCaprio the actor, Rodgers has become an even bigger favorite to win the award for best in his craft, NFL MVP.

Average 2018 NFL MVP Odds for Top Contenders

But the NFL is a long, often dumb, season with many twists and turns. After one crazy week, is there any sense in laying a future that offers a worse return than the Browns’ Week 2 moneyline?

2018 NFL MVP Odds Top 5 Contenders

Player Odds to win the 2018 NFL MVP
Aaron Rodgers +350
Tom Brady +700
Deshaun Watson +1400
Drew Brees +1400
Todd Gurley +1600

The Case for Rodgers as 2018 NFL MVP

If last season’s Brett Hundley disaster didn’t prove it, Deshone Kizer’s brief appearance Sunday did: this Packers team is dogsh*t without no. 12 on the field.

With some iron man quarterbacks like Philip Rivers or Drew Brees, you have to imagine how bad their teams would be without them; Green Bay gave us a nine game stool sample last year.

Their 3-6 record with Hundley at the helm should’ve been worse too, but they were gifted wins over the lowly Bears, Bucs, and Browns.

(Naturally, you reward a generous donation like that with employment.)

Thanks to that dismal season, every football fan has been reminded how impressive it is that Rodgers drags this sad-sack team to 10+ wins every year. Now after Sunday, he’s already gotten his iconic MVP moment out of the way in the first week.

All he needs to do is survive the season and he’s certain to win his third award.

Now let’s just see who is on tap for Week 2…

The Case Against Rodgers as 2018 NFL MVP

Obviously, durability is the biggest concern here. Rodgers’ status this weekend is already in doubt, after being diagnosed with a sprained knee in the aftermath of the Bears game.

It’s worrisome news for a QB that was already coming off a shoulder injury entering the year. If he plays against the Vikings, he’s going to get battered around by a fearsome front that hit Jimmy Garoppolo nine times on 36 dropbacks.

If Rodgers doesn’t play, that’s going to hurt his case even more. Of the last 13 award winners, he’s the only one to collect MVP  without starting all 16 games, sitting out a meaningless Week 17 contest in 2011.

Last year, Carson Wentz was a shoo-in to win the award, but three missed games after the Eagles had already clinched and his chances were shot.

Not to mention, in a loaded NFC, any missed start for Rodgers hurts the Packers’ chances of making the playoffs (currently at 62% according to Football Outsiders). If you like Rodgers to win and haven’t placed a wager yet, wait until next week. His odds won’t get shorter.

So Who is a Good NFL MVP Bet?

There’s a reason Brees’ odds also got shorter, despite getting beaten by the best beard in the league: 1) he was nearly flawless in that game and 2) the Saints run game and D looked bad.

The Mike Gillislee pickup was a complete bust, meaning this team will have no thunder to Alvin Kamara’s lightning until Mark Ingram returns in Week 5.

And since the offense favored using Kamara in the passing game (he had 12 targets vs eight carries on the day), New Orleans is basically not going to have a rushing attack for three weeks. That means more sexy stat lines for Brees.

As for the defense, the Saints were due for a regression this season anyway. Units that go from worst to first in a single season usually fall back to somewhere in the middle (see the Giants D of last year). They won’t be this bad all season (call it the curse of Week 1), but Brees and the offense should be asked to do more this season.

The Saints are still a top-five Super Bowl contender in the NFC and Brees is durable and due for an award. Give him a look at +1200.

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