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Mahomes Enters Top 10 Contenders for 2018 NFL MVP

Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes has emerged as an MVP candidate in Kansas City. Photo by Jeffrey Beall [CC License]
  • Pat Mahomes’ four TD passes powered KC to a 38-28 upset of LA in Week 1
  • Can Mahomes win MVP honors playing away from the spotlight in KC?
  • Todd Gurley is the lone non-QB among NFL MVP favorites

The Kansas City Chiefs’ decision to part ways with veteran quarterback Alex Smith and hand the reins of the team’s offence to second-year pivot Patrick Mahomes paid immediate dividends in Week 1 of the new NFL campaign.

The 10th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft displayed the composure of a wily veteran in his debut as the team’s starter, leading Kansas City to a stunning 38-28 upset of the Los Angeles Chargers as 3-point road underdogs. Mahomes threw for 256 yards and four scores, including a spectacular 58-yard touchdown pass to Tyreek Hill on the Chiefs’ first possession of the contest.

Mahomes performance has also given him a big lift on the NFL MVP futures, where he now sits near the top of the odds board as a +2000 bet at online sportsbook BetOnline. You can see his average odds to win the 2018 NFL MVP award by viewing the Top 10 Contenders tab on the graph below.

Average Odds to Win the 2018 NFL MVP Award

 

The Chiefs underwent a number of personnel changes during the offseason despite finishing the 2017 NFL season with a 10-6 record, good for a second straight AFC West title. In addition to dealing Smith to Washington in exchange for cornerback Kendall Fuller and a pick, the team provided Mahomes with an additional veteran target downfield by signing wide receiver Sammy Watkins.

A Record-Setting Performance at Texas Tech

While Mahomes has exceeded widely held expectations by pulling level with Cam Newton and Carson Wentz on the NFL MVP odds after opening at a distant +10000 on our NFL MVP odds tracker, his meteoric rise comes as no surprise to fans of the Texas Tech Red Raiders.

Mahomes led the nation with 5,052 passing yards in his final year under center at Texas Tech, and connected on 41 touchdown passes, tying him for third in the nation, alongside Deshaun Watson. The native of Tyler, Texas also set a pair of NCAA records in a 2016 showdown with Baker Mayfield and the Oklahoma Sooners. Mahomes threw for a record 734 yards, and also set a new standard by compiling 819 total yards while connecting on seven scoring passes in the Red Raiders’ 66-59 loss.

In addition to downfield targets Hill and Watkins, Mahomes also enjoys the luxury of a Chiefs offence that also features tight end Travis Kelce, and running back Kareem Hunt. But while Mahomes is getting the love on the NFL MVP odds, oddsmakers remain unconvinced about the Chiefs’ long-term prospects this season.

Despite their impressive Week 1 road victory, Kansas City remains stalled at +2000 on the Super Bowl odds, and are pegged as slim +150 favorites on the AFC West odds.

Playing in Obscurity in KC?

Mahomes must also contend with a number of NFL MVP candidates that enjoy the fan and media attention that goes along with playing in football markets much larger than than Kansas City.

Odds to Win the 2018 NFL MVP Award

Player Position Team Odds to Win 2018 NFL MVP at BetOnline
Aaron Rodgers QB GB +350
Tom Brady QB NE +700
Deshaun Watson QB HOU +1400
Drew Brees QB NO +1400
Todd Gurley RB LAR +1600
Kevin Mahomes QB KC +2000
Cam Newton QB CAR +2000
Carson Wentz QB PHI +2000

Leading the way is Aaron Rodgers, who remains perched as a +350 favorite to claim a third career NFL MVP award after leading the Green Bay Packers to a fourth-quarter comeback in a 24-23 Week 1 victory over the Chicago Bears. The value of Rodgers to the Packers became abundantly evident last season, when the team lost five of six outings after he suffered a collarbone injury that all but ended his campaign.

Rodgers, Brady Top the Odds, but Where’s the Value?

And then there is the challenge of topping the reigning MVP Tom Brady.

Tom Brady is pegged as a +700 wager to claim a fourth career MVP award, while his New England Patriots remain on their familiar perch as +600 Super Bowl favorites.

The 41-year-old is pegged as a +700 wager to claim a fourth career MVP award, while his New England Patriots remain on their familiar perch as +600 Super Bowl favorites. However, concerns linger about the Patriots offence following the offseason departure of wide receiver Brandin Cooks and the early-season suspension of receiver Julian Edelman, diminishing the value of wagers involving the nine-time defending AFC East champions.

Gurley, Rams Making Steady Climb  on the NFL Futures

While quarterbacks have claimed NFL MVP honors in 10 of the past 11 years, it may be a running back that currently provides the most value on the NFL MVP futures.

After scampering for 1,305 yards and an NFL-leading 13 touchdown runs last season, Los Angeles Rams rusher Todd Gurley III has made a steady climb on the NFL MVP odds, and enters Week 2 as an intriguing +1600 bet.

Los Angeles Rams rusher Todd Gurley III has made a steady climb on the NFL MVP odds, and enters Week 2 as an intriguing +1600 bet.

Gurley opened the 2018 season in style, rushing for 108 yards and making one catch for a touchdown in a 33-13 rout of the Oakland Raiders on Monday Night Football. With the Rams currently trailing only New England on the Super Bowl odds, and listed as massive -400 chalk to repeat as NFC West champions, Gurley will enjoy a steady media spotlight this season. And with each subsequent Rams victory, Gurley will likely also receive increased attention at the sportsbooks.

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Based in Montreal, Daniel Coyle is a regular contributor to SportsBettingDime.com. His coverage of all major sports and sports betting has appeared in Featurd, the Montreal Gazette, Sportsnet.ca, NESN.com, OddsShark.com, Bleacher Report, and the Nation magazine.