Nine weeks into the NFL season, it’s time to start discussing the top candidates for this year’s MVP Award.
Some have shortened during the first two months of matches, while some have eased in the market, but there’s certainly been enough to start laying bets with some confidence.
From the dual winner from Kansas City to the bolter from Baltimore, BetDeluxe previews the best selections for this year’s trophy.
patrick Mahomes (Chiefs)
Two-time MVP Patrick Mahomes is one of the leading fancies who has shortened since the season commenced. Opening the year at $4.50, the reigning champ has come into a clear-cut lead at $3.50 – and this is all despite his declining numbers.
While most NFL pundits look elsewhere when the stats start to fade, it would be lowkey rude to exclude Mahomes from the discussion after leading the 7-2 Chiefs with 2442 passing yards (3rd), 17 touchdowns (4th) and a QBR of 73.0 (3rd). And let’s not forget, he’s been in the NFL MVP rankings for every one of the first nine weeks. His numbers aren’t 2022 numbers, but they’re still incredible.
After losing the first game of the season to the Lions, the Chiefs have gone about their championship defence with aplomb and pieced together six consecutive wins before lowering their colours to the Broncos (24-9). After putting in a poor performance by his standards against Denver, Mahomes bounced back like any superstar with two TDs and a dominant display over the Dolphins.
His right-hand man, Travis Kelce, hasn’t found the same consistency from last year, ultimately putting more pressure on Mahomes to find answers to opposition defences that have had an entire offseason to figure Kansas out.
If there’s one player who can iron out the kinks, get his boy Kelce back into the groove on a weekly basis and lead his side to another chip, it’s Mahomes.
Lamar Jackson (Ravens)
It’s incredible watching a fully fit Lamar Jackson and seeing what he can do. It’s 2019 all over again.
One of the firmers in the market since the season started, Jackson could and should be considered overs at $5.50. If nothing else, he should be far closer to Mahomes’ price after proving he is at his level.
The Ravens are flying in the AFC North with a 7-2 record, the fourth-most points (239) and the second-ranked defence in the NFL. Jackson, who undoubtedly gets a lot of help from his defense, has been on fire with a league-high completion percentage of 71.5% and a league-high 48.9y per game as a running QB.
His talent was on full show in Baltimore’s Week 7 demolition of Detroit with 357y and three touchdowns. One of the most impressive parts of his game is the fact Jackson has thrown just three interceptions.
The Ravens are dominating with four consecutive wins to the mid-point of the season, and if they continue their path towards the top seed in their conference, Jackson must be considered a red-hot chance to take out his second MVP.
Joe Burrow (Bengals)
Another player who blew out in the market in the first month of the season, Joe Burrow, has launched into consideration for the first time this year after leading the Bengals to four consecutive wins.
After losing three of their first four games of the season while Burrow was nursing a calf injury, the 2022/23 AFC Conference runners-up turned their form around with four wins in their next five. This includes a 31-17 thrashing of the 49ers, where Burrow ignited for 283y and three TDs.
It’s no surprise the star QB’s form dictates his team’s, with 10 TDs in the Bengals’ last four wins saying everything we already knew about his influence.
The biggest challenge for Burrow and his Cincinnati teammates will be taking out the AFC North title, with Baltimore (7-2), Pittsburgh (5-3) and Cleveland (5-3) making up the most even division in the league.
If the Bengals can win every game from here – or at least tie their 12-4 record of last year – Burrow will be in the finish for the MVP. If you believe they can do that, then his $9.50 is as good a price as you’re going to get.
Tyreek Hill (Dolphins)
If a non-quarterback can win the award for the first time since Adrian Peterson (2012), we’re happy to take a punt on Tyreek Hill at an enticing price of $51.
Hill is currently in a two-player battle for the OPOTY with Christian McCaffrey, but don’t let that take anything away from his MVP candidacy. In fact, logic says it should really go hand-in-hand.
The star receiver has been a large part of the Dolphins’ 6-3 start to the season. His partnership with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has been a thing of beauty and resulted in a league-high 1076y and eight TDs. He has scored at least one TD in seven of nine games and had four games of 150+ yards.
There’s little doubt that Hill is battling his QB teammate for offensive honors on his own team, but if he can continue his incredible playmaking and register 2000+ yards for the season, he just has to be in the conversation.