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2022 NFL MVP Odds: An Early Look at the MVP Award

NFL expert Jason Yamaguchi takes a deep dive into the futures market for the 2022 NFL MVP award.
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2022 NFL MVP Odds: An Early Look at the MVP Award

With the NFL offseason officially underway, some books have already released odds for next year's MVP award. There are a number of factors that will shift these odds between now and September, including free agent signings, draft selections, and trades. That being said, there are a couple of bets currently on the board that appear significantly mispriced to me. I nailed this award last year with my Rodgers pick; let's see if we can do it again.

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Justin Herbert to win 2022 NFL MVP (+1600) (Bet $100 to win $1600)

At some books, Herbert is currently tied for the sixth-highest MVP odds with Kyler Murray and Matthew Stafford; the trio is priced at +1600. The three of them trail the usual suspects—Mahomes, Rodgers, and Allen—but also Dak Prescott and Joe Burrow. As it stands, I would price Herbert above all but those top three. Here's why.

For starters, Herbert is coming off of a tremendous season. He threw for 5014 yards and 38 touchdowns, which ranked second and third in the league, respectively. He also had the third-highest QBR in the league at 65.6. According to my player-based predictive model, which produced an ROI of 8.8% last season against the NFL betting markets, Herbert was the third-best quarterback in the NFL last season, trailing only Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady.

It makes sense for the Chargers to be extremely active during this year's free agency period. They are projected to have the third-most cap space in the NFL, per OverTheCap. They can increase that space by extending Derwin James and cutting Bryan Bulaga. Thus, I expect LA to make multiple additions to maximize the next two years of Herbert's rookie contract, after which his cap hit will skyrocket. It is abundantly clear that rostering a stud quarterback at a low cap hit is one of the biggest competitive advantages in all of professional sports. The Chargers know this, so I expect them to surround Herbert with the requisite pieces to contend for a title in 2022.

On the offensive side of the ball, LA's wide receiver core is likely to improve. Jameson Williams, Garrett Wilson, and Treylon Burks are three high-end prospects at wide receiver, any of whom would be a solid pick at No. 17 overall. Davante Adams and Chris Godwin headline a star-studded free agent class, although one or both of them may receive the franchise tag from their respective teams. Calvin Ridley, Brandin Cooks, and others will likely be available via trade. The point is that the Chargers have a lot of options to address this position behind Keenan Allen, and could retain Mike Williams and add another stud. By improving their receiver room, LA's passing offense could take yet another step forward.

Wins and losses have a major impact on a player's chances of winning MVP; it's no mistake that the last five MVP awards were given to quarterbacks on 1-seeded teams. Elite QBs elevate their teams more than any other players can, but it's also true that there are many factors out of a quarterback's control that influence their win-loss record. In 2021, the main reason that the Chargers went 9-8 despite having a top 5 QB was their subpar defense. In order for Herbert to have a fighting chance at MVP in 2022, LA needs to make major improvements on that side of the ball. For this reason, DT Jordan Davis would be my top option at pick No. 17—he would help shore up their abysmal run defense by replacing Jerry Tillery. I also expect the Chargers to improve their secondary by adding at cornerback, and to bring in a starting linebacker. If the Chargers defense can even be league average, their elite offense should allow the team to contend for a high seed in the AFC.

All of that to say that Herbert, despite already being an elite talent at QB, is well-poised to take another step forward next season. He passes the eye test with flying colors—his combination of ridiculous arm strength and high-end accuracy has already produced some of the better throws we've ever seen. This could be the year where, with the help of a bolstered receiving core and offensive line, he enters the conversation for the best QB in the league. It's far from a sure thing, but I like our chances at 16-1.

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Russell Wilson to win 2022 NFL MVP (+2500) (Bet $100 to win $2500)

This one is worth shopping around for—the +2500 price is available at DraftKings, whereas Wilson is closer to +2000 elsewhere. It's obviously more of a dart throw than many of the options on the board, but I think that Wilson has a lot more value than, say, Burrow at +1000.

Russ is coming off a 2021 campaign where he started the year off with an excellent four-game stretch (nine touchdowns, no interceptions), hurt his finger, and returned before it had fully healed. Wilson missed three games with the injury, but he probably should have sat out for 2-3 more weeks. This was evident in his play—he didn't return to good form until week 12 or 13. After that, though, he was solid, finishing the year with an excellent three game stretch over which he threw for nine touchdowns and just one pick.

According to OverTheCap, the Seahawks have the eighth-most cap space in the NFL at approximately $35 million. Much of that will be used to lock up some of Seattle's impending free agent class, a group that includes LT Duane Brown, FS Quandre Diggs, and DT Al Woods. Still, they have a lot of cap space, and can increase it further via some key cuts and restructures.

Assuming the Seahawks stick with Russ, the key will be to use their cap space and draft capital to bolster the offensive line as well as the defense. According to PFF, the Seahawks ended the year with the 25th best offensive line. That will need to improve if the Seahawks want to contend for the NFC West next season, which is the only scenario that would thrust Wilson into the MVP conversation. Seattle doesn't have a first round pick due to the disastrous Jamal Adams trade, but they still have a second, third, and two fourths.

A lot of things need to go right in order for Russell Wilson to win this award. However, the market seems to be discounting his chances entirely, placing his odds closer to the likes of Derrick Henry and Jonathan Taylor than Matthew Stafford and Dak Prescott. I don't agree with that pricing—Wilson was still an elite quarterback up until his finger injury, and I believe that he can regain that level of play with a stronger supporting cast and a clean bill of health.

Three other MVP futures that I'm considering but haven't placed yet are Lamar Jackson (+2800), Trey Lance (+5000), and Aaron Rodgers (+1000). I think that Lamar's impact on the Ravens offense has been well documented; their 2021 season was derailed by an unprecedented string of injuries to defensive starters and then, eventually, to Lamar himself. His unanimous MVP season proves that he has the upside to win this award, and I wouldn't be shocked if he did it again. I also like the upside on Lance, although I'm not sure if Shanahan's system would enable him to put up the necessary counting statistics to win MVP (nor am I sure he's good enough). As for Rodgers, if the news breaks that he's returning to Green Bay, look to buy before the line drops. For now, I'm sticking with my two main bets.

2022 NFL MVP Picks

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Jason Yamaguchi is an avid New York sports fan. He has a proven record of providing +EV bets by combining traditional handicapping tactics with advanced statistics. You can follow him on Twitter @TopMoneyPicks to view all of his bets, including NFL, NHL, and MLB picks.

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