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JJ Watt has Better 2018 NFL MVP Odds than Andy Dalton

Eric Rosales

by Eric Rosales in NFL Football

Updated Jan 3, 2023 · 7:50 AM PST

Andy Dalton of the Cincinnati Bengals
Bengals QB Andy Dalton is far down the board the MVP odds board, passed by, among others, Texans defensive star JJ Watt. Photo by Keith Allison (flickr) [CC License].
  • JJ Watt is getting better MVP odds than Andy Dalton
  • Only 18 non-QBs have ever won the award
  • Which players should you actually be honing in on for 2018 NFL MVP betting?

Even at his most dominant, JJ Watt was only ever an outside contender for the NFL MVP when picking up any of his three Defensive Player of the Year Awards.

So it has raised eyebrows that Watt, just hoping to play a full and healthy season – something he hasn’t done the past two years – has been given better odds to win the 2018 NFL MVP than Bengals pivot Andy Dalton.

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Dalton, of course, carries with him a franchise quarterback label, backed up with a 6-year, $96 million extension the team inked him to in the summer of 2014.

You’ll have to be drifting way down the leaderboard, looking for big-time action to find these two.

2018 NFL MVP Odds

Rank Player Team Odds
1 Aaron Rodgers Packers +500
2 Carson Wentz Eagles +700
3 Tom Brady Patriots +850
4 Deshaun Watson Texans +1500
5 Drew Brees Saints +1600
37 JJ Watt Texans +10000
46 Andy Dalton Bengals +15000

*Find more NFL MVP betting options by following the link

Now, to be fair, Watt is getting better odds than five quarterbacks altogether, but the other four pivots are slotted above Dalton at +12500. Status-wise, however, Tyrod Taylor, Joe Flacco, Sam Bradford, and Nick Foles are all stop gaps to the next dude in line.

What makes this extra fun is that these two have a history. After what could only be described as a totally forgettable game between the Texans and Bengals (a 10-6 snoozefest for anyone interested), Watt’s postgame interview had more fireworks than the 60 minutes prior.

That comment didn’t sit well with Dalton.


As per usual, there’s always more to the story than meets the eye. Sticking with the interview, Watt was actually quite complimentary of the opposition, crediting Dalton for being a great player on a great team.

But enough with the drama, what about the juice?

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Of the 47 named candidates, Watt is the only defensive player on the list, which also includes 30 QBs, 11 running backs, and five receivers.

I mean, it somewhat falls in line with the historical breakdown of MVP winners in NFL history, with a couple of asterisks we’ll discuss shortly.

Past NFL MVP Winners

Type Total MVPs Won
Offensive – QB Only 42
Offensive – Other 18
Defensive 2
Special Teams 1

If you’re looking for long shots, Watt is about as long as they come. No defensive player has won the award since the immortal Lawrence Taylor was destroying worlds as a linebacker for the Giants in 1986.

Since then, the NFL is almost exclusively regarded as a quarterback’s league. In the next 31 seasons, only eight non-QBs have graced the MVP trophy, all of them running backs.

So while Dalton has the second longest odds, if the Bengals were to go 13-3 and secure first in the AFC, with the Red Rocket throwing for 4,300 yards and 39 touchdowns, that would at least get him into the mix as a real contender.

Of course, that isn’t really what he’s known for.

Watt, on the other hand, has already matched Taylor’s then-record 20.5 sacks in a season. Twice. In fact, his historic 2014 season landed him second, but he was nowhere in range of contesting eventual MVP Aaron Rodgers.

Who Should you Bet to Win 2018 NFL MVP?

The smart money, again, is on a QB, and the top-five on that list are all worthy candidates.

Wanna reach? How’s this for ‘I can’t believe this is true?’: not once in NFL history has a receiver taken home the MVP trophy.

Not once in NFL history has a receiver taken home the MVP trophy[/conversion]

So if you’re looking for some decent long shot action, avoid the QBs and defensive player at the bottom of the list and find Antonio Brown (+5000), who may be just the man to break the streak.

One streak that will never be broken, is the asterisk of all asterisks. In 1982, Mark Moseley of Washington was named MVP. He was a kicker. Mark my words: there will never, ever be a kicker named MVP of the NFL again.

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