Breaking down NFL MVP odds

Bovada sent along their MVP odds for the 2014 NFL season. Let’s break it down.

Peyton Manning 3/1
Drew Brees 11/2
Aaron Rodgers 15/2
Tom Brady 9/1

According to Bovada, the oldest skill position player in the NFL is an overwhelming favorite to win his sixth MVP award. If that were to happen, I don’t know how people could continue to put Tom Brady (or anyone, frankly) ahead of Manning on lists of all-time greats.

It’s surprising to see Brees ahead of Rodgers. Those two should be neck-and-neck for the second spot, well ahead of Brady, who has clearly declined late in his career. A healthy Rodgers, still in his prime, is probably Manning’s biggest challenger.

Andrew Luck 16/1
Jay Cutler 20/1
Matthew Stafford 20/1
Colin Kaepernick 25/1
Cam Newton 25/1
Russell Wilson 25/1
Robert Griffin III 25/1
LeSean McCoy 25/1
Adrian Peterson 25/1
Calvin Johnson 25/1

McCoy, Peterson and Johnson are almost unarguably the best two non-quarterbacks in the game, which is why they’re the only players who don’t play that position to make the top 15. No other non-QB has odds better than 50/1.

It’s a bit surprising to see Luck ahead of Newton and Wilson, both of whom have been better thus far in their respective careers. Bovada is banking on a breakout third season for the former top pick. And it’s also weird that Cutler and Stafford — who simply don’t feel like MVP candidates right now — are wedged in between Luck and those other young quarterbacks (including Griffin).

Matt Ryan 33/1
Nick Foles 40/1
Ben Roethlisberger 50/1
Eli Manning 50/1
Philip Rivers 50/1
Tony Romo 50/1
Marshawn Lynch 50/1

It’s amazing to see Foles listed ahead of Roethlisberger, Eli Manning and Rivers. And it’s also funny to see those three grouped together. Fellow first-round picks in 2004, they’re seemingly always linked. And of course Romo and Eli have identical odds.

Ryan and Foles are in the correct spots. They’re darkhorses who haven’t reached their prime. But I really can’t see anyone else winning the award beyond that.

Demaryius Thomas 66/1
Matt Forte 66/1
Jamaal Charles 66/1
Dez Bryant 66/1
Brandon Marshall 66/1
Julio Jones 66/1
Jimmy Graham 66/1
Joe Flacco 100/1
Johnny Manziel 100/1
Andy Dalton 100/1
Eddie Lacy 100/1
Arian Foster 100/1
Rob Gronkowski 100/1
Alex Smith 150/1
Alfred Morris 150/1
C.J. Spiller 150/1
Antonio Brown 150/1
DeMarco Murray 200/1
Frank Gore 200/1

Quarterbacks have won six of the last seven MVP awards. A receiver hasn’t won it, and a defensive player hasn’t won in more than a quarter century (Lawrence Taylor in 1986). Oh, and a rookie hasn’t won either. So from the list above, the only realistic longshots are Flacco, Dalton and Smith. I’d take Dalton from there.

About Brad Gagnon

Brad Gagnon has been passionate about both sports and mass media since he was in diapers -- a passion that won't die until he's in them again. Based in Toronto, he's worked as a national NFL blog editor at, a producer and writer at theScore Television Network and a host, reporter and play-by-play voice at Rogers TV. His work has also appeared at, Deadspin,, The Guardian, The Hockey News and elsewhere at Comeback Media, but his day gig has him covering the NFL nationally for Bleacher Report.