NFL MVP Odds: Can Jonathan Taylor Crash the Quarterback Party?

After another huge performance in the Colts’ Week 15 win, the MVP buzz surrounding Jonathan Taylor continues to grow.
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NFL MVP Odds: Can Jonathan Taylor Crash the Quarterback Party?

Second-year Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor had fantasy football managers panicking early on in the season. He played fewer than 50% of the team’s snaps twice and seemed destined to be part of a committee backfield. He also failed to find the end zone in any of the first three games as the Colts started the year 0-3. No one could have guessed at that time that Taylor would be near the top of the NFL MVP odds coming down the stretch of the season.

Taylor finally broke through with the big game everyone knew he was capable of in Week 4. After gashing the Miami Dolphins for 103 yards rushing and his first touchdown of the season, Taylor has not slowed down since. In fact, he has been so impressive that the Colts had no choice but to commit to him as a bell cow RB. With one of the best offensive lines in football blocking for him and the full trust of the coaching staff, the former Wisconsin star has run his way writing into the NFL MVP betting conversation.

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After breaking off a game-sealing 67-yard touchdown run late in the Colts’ Week 15 win over the New England Patriots, Taylor is now getting a ton of attention in the NFL MVP conversation. Saturday night’s game marked Taylor’s eighth 100-yard rushing effort on the season. It was also the third time that he ran for over 170 yards. With 1518 rushing yards to date, Taylor is within striking distance of becoming just the ninth player in NFL history to run for over 2000 yards in a single season.

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The late touchdown extended Taylor’s touchdown streak to 11 straight games after he failed to find the end zone in each of the first three weeks. Several of those have seen him score multiple touchdowns, with Saturday’s score bringing his season total to 17. 

In what is a quarterback-driven league now more than ever, Taylor has to be viewed as an underdog when it comes to his chances of winning the MVP Award. The last non-QB to win the award was Adrian Peterson back in 2012. It took him rushing for the second-most yards ever recorded in a single season (2097) to win the award. Here is how Taylor’s current season stats compare with AP’s historic 2012 campaign.

Adrian Peterson vs. Jonathan Taylor Stats Comparison
Comparing Adrian Peterson's 2012 MVP stats with Jonathan Taylor's 2021 season to date.
PlayerSeasonRushing YardsYards per CarryRushing TouchdownsReceiving YardsReceiving Touchdowns
Adrian Peterson201220976.0122171
Jonathan Taylor202115185.62173362

Of course, bettors would ideally like to know whether or not Jonathan Taylor has a legitimate shot at winning the NFL MVP Award before firing on the latest odds. At this juncture, only six players remain with NFL MVP odds priced at or below 20-1. Of those six, Taylor is the only non-quarterback of the lot. 

Jonathan Taylor NFL MVP Odds
A look at how Jonathan Taylor stacks up among the other NFL MVP frontrunners after his big Week 15 performance.
PlayerMVP Odds
Tom Brady-145
Aaron Rodgers+550
Kyler Murray+1100
Jonathan Taylor+1600
Matthew Stafford+1600
Justin Herbert+2000

Taylor’s chances could very well hinge on him surpassing the 2000-yard threshold and on how the Colts ultimately finish out the season. It’s the sad reality of today’s quarterback-friendly NFL.

It would take a massive upset for the media who vote on the MVP Award to push Taylor past Tom Brady. However, considering how most of the media feels about Aaron Rodgers, things could potentially get interesting if it came down to him and Taylor for the award.


Henry has had a passion for sports that few can match for as long as he can remember. What started out as a five-year-old taking interest in the New York Jets and their green jerseys has since become a full-fledged career as a writer and sports betting analyst. His coverage primarily includes the NFL, MLB, NBA, NASCAR, college football, and college basketball. In 2020, he ranked among the top-10 most accurate experts ATS in the BettingPros NFL season contest. You can follow Henry’s sports work on Twitter and other social media platforms @HankTimeSports.

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