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DraftKings giving Lamar Jackson +1400 and Patrick Mahomes +150 MVP odds – why you should bet on both

The former unanimous MVP has a strong case to make a run for another trophy

NFL: Super Bowl LIV-NFL Honors Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

DraftKings Sportsbook has updated their 2022-23 AP NFL MVP futures odds ahead of Monday Night Football in Week 10.

The implication is that DraftKings is giving Patrick Mahomes a 40% chance to win the award, Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts a 20% chance, respectively, and Lamar Jackson a 6.67% chance. When you compare Mahomes’ pace of 5,500 yards passing, 47 touchdowns, 13 interceptions and somewhere around another 400 yards rushing and a few touchdowns, there isn’t much of a contest. Hence, why Vegas is giving Mahomes double the odds of the next closest player.

While it can be contested that voters love to give new players the award, Mahomes is simply destroying the competition. Considering the Chiefs sent Tyreek Hill to Miami, which has clearly enhanced Tagovailoa’s game, what Mahomes is doing is even more impressive. 40% isn’t enough. If Mahomes puts up anywhere close to 6,000 yards and 50 touchdowns, it will be one of the most impressive performances in NFL history. You’d be wise to bet on Mahomes to win the MVP.

You should also bet similarly on Lamar Jackson to win the award. On paper, Jackson’s 6.67% chances sound about right. Jackson is currently on pace to throw for around 3,300 yards with 30 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions. He’s also on pace to rush for around 1,200 yards with four more touchdowns. His 4,500 total yards, 34 touchdowns projection doesn’t sound impressive in the scope of the MVP race. However, Jackson has played a defensive gauntlet through the first half of the season. According to Football Outsiders, Baltimore has defenses that ranked as follows in DVOA:

Five of Baltimore’s nine opponents have a Top-10 defense. The Ravens have also been in flux working Ronnie Stanley, J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards among others back into the lineup returning from injury. On top of that, Jackson’s top two targets, Mark Andrews and Rashod Bateman, have both missed time. Following Baltimore’s bye week, their remaining opponents rank as follows in defensive DVOA:

Facing four of the bottom nine defenses and only two Top-10 defenses bodes well for what Jackson should be able to do statistically. The other major aspect is that the Ravens must finish at least tied for the most wins in the AFC. Of the last nine MVP’s, Matt Ryan was the only player who wasn’t on a team that finished with the highest win total in their conference. Considering the Ravens face arguably the easiest remaining schedule in the NFL, they have a realistic shot at doing so. If Jackson can score in every game and produces three or more games with at least three touchdowns, he should eclipse 40 touchdowns.

The Chiefs don’t play an easy schedule, but it’s not exactly a murderer’s row of high difficulty opponents. Football Outsiders is projecting Kansas City to finish with 12.3 wins and Baltimore with 11.6, playing them at No. 1 and No. 3 in the AFC. If you were to wager $50 on Jackson and Mahomes respectively to win MVP, the payout would be $125 if Mahomes wins and $750 if Jackson wins at the current odds.

While Tagovailoa shouldn’t be counted out, the real threat is Jalen Hurts. The Eagles are projected to finish with 14.5 wins, an extremely wide margin above the next highest in the league with Kansas City’s 12.3. If you really want to hedge yourself, place another $50 on Hurts, which will lead to the following payouts based on the current odds:

  • If Hurts wins, $250 payout on $150 wagered.
  • If Mahomes wins, $125 payout on $150 wagered.
  • If Jackson wins, $750 payout on $150 wagered.

The hole is obviously Tagovailoa. The Dolphins projected wins put them in a Wild Card spot and they have an extremely tough remaining schedule. Of their remaining seven opponents, six have a winning record and six of seven’s defense are in the Top-20.

Any combination of Hurts, Mahomes and Jackson have fun potential, but I would go for the big payoff in Jackson and hedge with Mahomes whose torrid pace appears unlikely to relent.