3 Undervalued NFL MVP Threats

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The season may be months away, but it is never too early to take a look at the value for future bets in the NFL. These are not the three most likely players to win the NFL MVP nor are they the three players with the best odds. Think of these as three microwave dinners that could turn into a reservation at a five-star restaurant, or in this case an NFL MVP, in six months.

All odds are from Vegas Insider.

Lamar Jackson (+2200)

Jackson is 11th in MVP odds right now, but he is the lowest-ranked of players who have won the MVP before. Usually, former MVPs are overvalued in MVP odds, but Jackson appears to be undervalued here. He could be subject to some voter fatigue, but the sneaky pick here is the storylines.

The Baltimore Ravens seemingly downgraded their receiver corps by trading Marquise Brown. On the surface, this hurts Jackson by removing a talented weapon. However, it could spin into an “overcoming adversity” angle if Jackson finds success without Brown. In 2019, Jackson won NFL MVP despite a mediocre season from Brown.

The value here is that Jackson has been an NFL MVP level before. Even in a down 2021 season, Jackson was in the MVP race at times when the Ravens were winning. When Jackson is at his best, he does not have an equal in terms of bringing value to his team.

Zach Wilson (+15000)

Reminder, the title is “undervalued” NFL MVP bets not “best” NFL MVP bets. Wilson was poor in his rookie season, and the odds reflect that. However, he is lower than his draftmates, even those who also struggled in 2021 such as Trevor Lawrence.

The New York Jets have worked to improve around Wilson, adding a pair of skill positions players in the first 35 picks of the 2022 NFL Draft. Wilson’s weapons are trending in the right direction with Elijah Moore, Corey Davis, Garrett Wilson, and a pair of new tight ends. They won’t set any records for greatness, but it is an ascending unit.

The value here lies in the fact Wilson is the unquestioned starter for the Jets. The NFL MVP has morphed into a quarterback-only award, so a guaranteed starting quarterback should have a baseline for their odds. Even the likes of Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo have better odds than Wilson, and they haven’t locked down the San Francisco job.

Wilson sits at 150-to-1. Bettors could put ten dollars on Wilson in the hope of a $1,500 payday. While unlikely, it is the best value for any quarterback.

Aaron Donald and T.J. Watt (+15000)

As mentioned, the NFL MVP is a quarterback award. Since 2007, only one non-quarterback, Adrian Peterson, has won the award. For defensive players like Donald and Watt, they must search back to 1986 when Lawrence Taylor won NFL MVP.

Similar to Wilson’s long odds, the value here is in just how large the number is. Donald and Watt are unquestionably two of the top five players in the sport. Donald flirted with the sack record in 2018, and Watt tied the mark in 2021. If either gets, perhaps, 25 sacks in a season, they could find their way to the NFL MVP.

The last serious defensive threat to the NFL MVP was J.J. Watt in 2014. He posted 20.5 sacks as well as five touchdowns (including three on offense). He finished second in MVP voting to Aaron Rodgers. Linebacker Bobby Wagner also earned a first-place vote in 2014.

For Donald or Watt to win the award, they would need a non-historic season from the league’s top quarterback. They would also have to flirt with the sack record and play on a winning team. Donald earns a slight knock here because he plays on a team with an MVP candidate of a quarterback.

However, Watt could thread the needle similar to how his brother nearly did. Watt plays for a Pittsburgh Steelers team that is projected to have its worst season in nearly 20 years. The storylines could be in his favor if the Steelers’ have an elite defense and win many games. To add on, Watt likely will not have to deal with a serious NFL MVP candidate at quarterback.

Who do you think is an undervalued MVP threat? Let us know in the comments below!

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Ryan Potts is an avid football and baseball fan. He covers the NFL and Major League Baseball, focusing on the Baltimore Ravens and Atlanta Braves.