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NFL Future Bets: Best NFL MVP Sleeper Bets To Place
Once again, the top of the NFL MVP leaderboard is full of familiar faces. Reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady are annual staples, while young stars like Josh Allen and Justin Herbert have high odds to win football’s highest individual honor.
But this article isn’t about those players. Instead, it’s an exercise in finding the next Lamar Jackson or Patrick Mahomes, two players who entered their MVP seasons with tempered expectations. In other words, it’s about finding the players going under the radar now who can burst into the MVP conversation by season’s end.
Here are a few of the best sleepers worth betting on when placing a bet for the NFL MVP.
QB Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals (+1200)
Joe Burrow already defied expectations when he led the Cincinnati Bengals to their first Super Bowl appearance since 1989. Why not follow that up with an MVP season in 2022?
After tearing his ACL in his rookie season, Burrow finished his second year ranked sixth in passing yards and eighth in touchdowns. He also ended the year as the league leader in completion percentage (70.4) and passing yards per attempt (8.9) and finished as the runner-up to Rodgers in overall passer rating.
The greatest thing holding Joe back from the MVP conversation was his offensive line. But after taking a league-high 51 sacks, Burrow has a revamped line protecting him this season. If the on-paper improvements extend to the football field, the 25-year-old will almost certainly take another step forward.
With a new O-line, weapons like Ja’Marr Chase at his disposal, and the confidence stemming from a magical Super Bowl run, Burrow is the best MVP pick out of everyone currently outside the top five.
QB Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals (+2000)
After winning the Offensive Rookie of the Year award in 2019, Kyler Murray earned back-to-back Pro Bowl appearances. Year four could be the season he earns an even greater accolade.
Murray is one of the more consistent young QBs in football. A year younger than Burrow, the 24-year-old has thrown between 20-26 touchdowns in all three of his seasons while only tossing 10-12 interceptions. Yet while it’s good to see such a high floor, the Cardinals signal-caller hasn’t elevated to MVP territory.
Even after the addition of superstar receiver DeAndre Hopkins, Murray has yet to eclipse 4,000 passing yards or ten wins in a season. Granted, his rushing numbers make him closer to a Jackson than a Mahomes, but 423 rushing yards and five TDs were a steep decline from the 819 yards and 11 TDs in 2020.
Still, when Jackson won the MVP in 2019, he threw for over 3,100 yards, ran for over 1,200, and totaled 43 touchdowns. Murray’s combined passing and rushing can easily surpass that, while a few more TDs courtesy of Hopkins and new acquisition Marquise “Hollywood” Brown should give the Cards QB a legitimate MVP case.
RB Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts (+5000)
It’s no secret that quarterbacks are at an overwhelming advantage when it comes to the MVP race. But if there’s any non-QB who’s worth a gamble, It’s Jonathan Taylor.
Taylor, who rushed for 1,100+ yards in his rookie year, had an epic sophomore season. The 23-year-old finished with a league-leading 1,811 rushing yards, nearly 600 more than runner-up Nick Chubb. He also led the NFL with 18 rushing touchdowns and 2,171 all-purpose yards, the latter of which is one yard short of LaDanian Tomlinson’s APY in his second season.
Indianapolis should have a better passing attack with Matt Ryan than it did with Carson Wentz. That should still be good news for Taylor, who also had 360 receiving yards on 40 catches with a pair of TDs. Beyond that, the Colts also upgraded their O-line and moved on from Marlon Mack, Taylor’s primary competitor in the backfield.
Adrian Peterson in 2012 and Tomlinson in 2006 were the last two running backs (and non-QBs period) to win MVP. But with Taylor receiving the same odds as guys like Tua Tagovailoa and Jameis Winston, the risk might be worth it.
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