MVP Betting by Hail Mary Tips

Featured image: BRYNN ANDERSON, AP

Tim joins us to discuss why a longshot can and will win the MVP award this season. Not a favourite in sight from him as he looks at some of the longer priced players (Quarterbacks) who could be crowned the best player in the league this season.

Looking at the recent MVP winners, you’d argue that there is more than a case to be made that there is always a year or two that throws up a big price winner where a player has made a huge leap forward and carried their team to a top seed or division win, or vastly improved when their team were not expected to even be close; Cam Newton, Matt Ryan and Patrick Mahomes are just recent examples of bigger priced winners.

I’ll be trying to find those players who could make a surprising challenge for the MVP race, so you won’t find Mahomes, Rodgers, Allen or Brady here.

Of the shorter prices though, Joe Burrow certainly appeals if able to overcome the potential Super Bowl hangover banana skin but he seems like the type of player to debunk those types of things but 14/1 is perhaps a couple of points too short for my money, and the Bengals have a horrible schedule this season, especially down the stretch. That could be a good thing if they win high profile games to take the division or make the playoffs, but them missing the playoffs is equally likely.

And one final thing: please please please, do not even think about betting on Deshaun Watson (likely suspended)…or a running back or wide receiver or defensive player.

MVP – Hail Mary Attempts

For each player, there is an easy breakdown of the boxes I feel they tick followed by a bit of narrative behind the reason for the selection.

Matt Ryan – Indianapolis Colts – 80/1 (365/Skybet)

TeamScheduleDivisionTangiblesPotential for improvement#1 seed abilityCareer year ceiling

Player notes: Former MVP winner, traded in offseason, down year in 2021.

We’ll start off with a previous MVP winner finding himself in pastures new after an offseason trade between the Falcons and the Colts. Ryan won the award in the Falcons’ Super Bowl run in 2016 with a regular season record of 11-5 (which by the way seems to be a couple of losses too many but just shows you don’t need a season going almost unbeaten and shows that lesser fancied teams don’t actually have to do too much, also shown by the fact he won the award with just 50% of the cast votes), completing almost 70% of his passes and a 38-7 TD to INT ratio for just shy of 5,000 yards.

The reason Matt Ryan features on this list is because since that Super Bowl run, he and the Falcons cratered and Ryan has somewhat gone a bit on the underappreciated side considering what he’s had to put up with in Atlanta. A change in scenery sees him in a winnable division where they could easily go 6-0 in and have a schedule that Vegas bookies has them favourite in 10 of their 17 games and are not bigger than 3pt underdogs in the other 7 which includes Kansas City, Dallas and the LA Chargers games coupled with the two in division against the Titans, who just lost AJ Brown but theoretically do get Derrick Henry back.

A vastly improved O-Line, a more than competent defence and enough weapons on the offence (not quite Julio Jones and Roddy White though) could easily see a scenario where Matt Ryan matches or even surpasses his MVP years’ numbers.

Going against him in his quest for a 2nd MVP accolade is that only Peyton Manning in recent history has won the MVP award for 2 teams (Indianapolis and Denver) and he’s having to come back from a down year last year which saw dips in production, though blame can probably be placed firmly on the Falcons rather than Ryan.

I think there is decent value in Matt Ryan to rediscover the Midas touch in Indy and in my opinion still has the ceiling of those at the head of the market in terms of stats and production. It is more than possible that he can match his numbers from his MVP year with Atlanta provided someone else other than Pittman and Taylor step up and produce. He has one of the easiest divisions to operate in with one of the easier schedules. At 80/1 he is way too big compared with some other players in the betting and strikes me as massive value at a huge price.

Jalen Hurts – Eagles – 40/1

TeamScheduleDivisionTangiblesPotential for improvement#1 seed abilityCareer year ceiling

Player notes: Improvement required in passing game. Possible last shot to convince Eagles/NFL he is a starting-calibre QB.

Jalen Hurts was one of the winners of the NFL offseason, with the Eagles bringing in AJ Brown from the Titans to partner with one of the standout rookies of last year (just unfortunately in the shadows of Ja’Marr Chase) in Devonta Smith.

The Eagles opted against taking a Quarterback either in the draft or in Free agency, with some mid-level vet QBs available in Baker Mayfield and Jimmy Garoppolo.

Whilst it’s likely they address the position in 2023, Hurts has an opportunity to take that step forward next season in one of the easier divisions, and unlike the Bears in the NFC North they have provided their young QB with weapons.

If he can sharpen his accuracy a little, make fewer ill-advised throws and lead the team to double-digit wins, we know that the voters are not afraid to give the award to a running QB as Lamar Jackson has recently lifted the award. He isn’t the most talented passer, and never will be but as we saw with Jackson, you don’t need to be.

Stats wise (which actually may go against him if being compared to Lamar Jackson when assessing his tale of the tape for the award) if he can get somewhere around 3,750 passing yards, around 30-35 TDs and less than 10 interceptions coupled with 700-800+ rushing yards and 10+ rushing TDs (had 10 last season) he can outperform his current odds. For comparison, Lamar Jackson had 3,127 pass yards, 36 TDs and 6 INT in 2019, his MVP year.

There are not many world-beaters on the schedule, in fact, they have the 2nd easiest schedule in the league, with their hardest fixtures being the Packers followed by Cowboys (x2), Cardinals, Colts and Titans. The guys both side in the trenches on both sides of the ball are above average, including a solid O-line that he is synchronised with. Their pre-bye week schedule is particularly and it’s feasible that they start the season unbeaten going into that week 7 rest.

The NFC East division is easily winnable with their only probable challenge, the Cowboys looking fragile to repeat (in a division that has not seen a repeat winner for almost 2 decades) with an outside chance of grabbing a top seed in a mainly underwhelming NFC apart from a few (especially compared to the AFC) but would require at least a 5-1 record in the division for that to be achievable.

This selection does tick enough boxes to warrant a punt as the breakdown suggests, but there is a question mark over the biggest box to tick, the player himself. It seems there’s two ways this season can go for Hurts, win the division and put yourself in MVP contention, or flounder and become a backup next season.

Over to you, Jalen.

Derek Carr – Raiders – 40/1 (Skybet)

TeamScheduleDivisionTangiblesPotential for improvement#1 seed abilityCareer year ceiling

Player notes: Newly-signed contract extension and star WR added in FA in the toughest division in football.

It seems like a decade ago that Derek Carr was at least in the conversation of having an MVP season. Cast your minds back to 2016 and in his 3rd season with the Raiders, Carr led the team to a 12-3 season before suffering a season-ending leg injury (consequently giving us the famous Matt McGloin vs Brock Osweiler Playoff game) posting let’s face it, mediocre numbers in Today’s age/era of pass-happy play.

Fast forward to last year, Carr had career highs in attempts, completions and passing yards (even if you take a 16 game average as last year was the first year with 17 games) and the Raiders in their new home of Las Vegas are now rid of Jon Gruden, which Carr and he had a rollercoaster of a working relationship, along with some questionable characters in tow and are a lot more watchable now.

Add into the mix that he now has his “homie” and old college buddy in Davante Adams to throw the ball to, along with Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow, a three-headed monster most teams wouldn’t be arguing about. Carr’s completions and yardage could skyrocket him enough into whispers of the MVP conversation once more.

Going against him is the fact that he is in a hot hot hot AFC West featuring 3 Quarterbacks all ahead of him in the betting for this award. In a positive, rose-tinted glasses outlook, I can see the Raiders maybe scraping to 10 or 11 wins, but have a very tough schedule outside of their division too with games against the NFC West, the Colts and Titans. They struggled against the better teams last season whilst defeating the average and poor ones.

However, if somehow they do manage to find themselves atop of the wild wild west come late December with Carr having something like 35 TDs, fewer than 10 INT and around 4,500 passing yards along with the bit of mobility that he has for the stat sheet to bump it), 40/1 does seem a decent one to take a punt at.

I cannot see them getting close to the #1 or #2 seeds though which takes the gloss off of his credentials a tad in a conference where it’s star-studded at Quarterback and I’m not quite sold that he will be given his dues by the voters should he put together a career year.

Tua Tagovailoa – Dolphins – 75/1 (BetVictor)

TeamScheduleDivisionTangiblesPotential for improvement#1 seed abilityCareer year ceiling

Player notes: 3rd year leap required after an underwhelming start to NFL career with offensive talent much improved going into 2022.

Starting to get a little bit more speculative as the price indicates and I am not Tua’s biggest fan, but he does have a new speedy wideout in Tyreek Hill to couple with Jaylen Waddle on the opposite side and Mike Gesicki. Do not look at Tua’s production since entering the lead otherwise you’ll laugh off this selection, it’s about projection and potential.

There is absolutely every chance Tua improves substantially on what he has shown thus far (provided he starts all 16 games, as health is clearly an issue and many forget his hip injury which nearly ended his career before it got started).

The left-hander has seen his O-Line improve with the additions of Terron Armstead at Tackle from the Saints and Connor Williams from the Cowboys at Guard. Whilst the additions of Cedrick Wilson, Chase Edmonds, Raheem Mostert, Sony Michel (RIP Myles Gaskin) and Alec Ingold don’t get the juices flowing as much as the aforementioned names, they are great depth pieces and we all know there is a reason the squad sizes are 53 men strong.

Dolphins fans will be hoping that they are strong enough to fight off the Patriots and Jets and be the main protagonists to the division and Super Bowl favourite Buffalo. They have a solid defence and in the hotter months have even a little bit of advantage against visiting teams (New England and Buffalo visit in September in 2022). They were only 2 wins off the division last year although there were few seeing Buffalo losing 6 games.

Josh Allen and the Bills are probably the main reason why Tua and the Dolphins won’t win the award or the division, but value-wise, Tua has had an underwhelming few years in the league, the room for improvement is vast and the 3rd year leap is well within his capabilities. That being said, Darrell Bevell as the OC/Passing game Coordinator doesn’t enthuse and he also has a first time HC in Mike McDaniel after coming off back to back winning seasons under a now lawyered up Brian Flores.

Their schedule is also not the easiest it could have been with their first 4 fixtures including Buffalo at home, Baltimore and Cincinnati away (their back end stretch also not great with a run of 3 road games at 49ers, Chargers and Bills before a home game with the Packers) so I think we can rule out anything but a #6 or #7 seed in terms of postseason action.

Tua is definitely one to keep track of in the offseason with beat writers watching his training camp play to see if it’s “there”. If they successfully negotiate their tough opening slate at 2-2, the middle part of their schedule opens up if he has taken that step forward but will likely come unstuck towards the end of the schedule.

Similar to Hurts, he has the weapons and the defence to back the team up, it’s all on the Quarterback to make some plays and show to his new HC that he remains the starter of the football team.

You can see on the breakdown that there aren’t many boxes ticked which is reflected in the 75/1 odds, I don’t think he does have the ability to make the leap into the MVP conversation but certainly can make a big enough leap to help the Dolphins remember what it’s like to win a playoff game, something not experienced in South East Florida since 2000.

So there are a couple of players that could be worth a golden nugget or two and perhaps give you a very small interest to follow in 2022. I’ll look to produce some more Ante-Post advice and some value to boast about come the start of the season, definitely including the Eagles for the NFC East at 2/1 as it currently stands, already trimmed in from 5/2 from a few weeks ago. More on that at a later date.

  • Matt Ryan – 80/1 (365/Skybet)
  • Jalen Hurts – 40/1 (365/Skybet/Coral)
  • Derek Carr – 40/1 (Skybet)
  • Tua Tagovailoa – 75/1 (BetVictor – the useless twats)

Editor note: Value here for me is Matt Ryan, I’d personally have him shorter than the other three options.

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