There are five weeks left in the NFL season, and the NFL MVP race doesn’t look to be slowing down. In fact, over the next few weeks, a few of the top candidates in terms of betting odds will match up against each other, causing continued chaos for sportsbooks and bettors.
Heading into week 14, a majority of sportsbooks have Brock Purdy as the odds-on favorite, with Dak Prescott coming in as a close second, and before you make either your first or tenth MVP future bet, I’ll break down a few things to consider when wagering on the award.
What Stats Have Mattered in the Past?
It would be much easier for sports bettors if the MVP award every year came down to which player had the most touchdowns, but a lot more goes into it than just that. Yes, it certainly helps when a player is the league leader in touchdown passes, much like Patrick Mahomes was last season. Still, just the year before that, in 2021, we saw Aaron Rodgers hoist the MVP trophy despite having the 4th most touchdown passes in the league.
The other simple stat that doesn’t seem to mean anything in terms of this award is passing yards. Since 2015, only two quarterbacks have led the league in passing yards and won the MVP in the same season. Entering this weekend, Brock Purdy is favored to win the award at (+300) on DraftKings, yet he is currently 7th among quarterbacks in passing yards.
So if it’s not just yards and touchdowns, then what is it? There is no definitive answer as to which stat means the award is locked up, but some can help you narrow down which players to target. The first of those stats is quarterback rating or QBR. Dating back to 2010, nine of the 13 MVP winners led the league in QBR.
Interestingly enough, the top two leaders in terms of QBR after week 13 are Brock Purdy (75.6) and Dak Prescott (75.4). Purdy and Prescott also rank 1st and 2nd in touchdown percentage, which is the other stat that has proven to play a factor, with nine of the past 13 winners also leading the league, including each of the last five MVPs. Of the other candidates in this year’s race to be high on the leaderboard for both of those stats, Tua Tagovailoa is currently 7th in QBR and 4th in TD%, and with that, most Massachusetts betting apps give him the 5th highest odds to win the award at (+1000).
Some guys in the mix for the award have the chance to either improve on the stats mentioned above or head in the wrong direction, and a big determining factor in that is the caliber of opponents they are playing. Brock Purdy has quite a favorable schedule moving forward, as he is set to play four defenses over his last five games that are 19th or worse in terms of defensive DVOA.
The only real matchup that could hurt Purdy is when he plays the Ravens since they lead the league in defensive DVOA. Bettors should circle that matchup because a solid showing in that game could give him minus odds to win the award. Aside from Purdy, Dak Prescott and Jalen Hurts will meet this weekend, and a win for Prescott would be massive to keep him alive for this award and the NFC East division.
A win for Hurts, though, could catapult him ahead of Prescott since the Cowboys’ defense is 7th in DVOA, and after Dallas, Hurts gets to play four teams that are 24th or worse in DVOA. The one player with the longer odds who could make up some ground with their remaining schedule is Tua Tagovailoa. The lefty has not beaten a team with a winning record this season, but he has the chance to beat three in a row to end the season.
Advanced Stats That Could Separate Guys
Like most seasons, an argument could be made for each player to win or not win the award, but as more advanced metrics have come into the game, it’s become easier for us to distinguish which arguments are valid. For example, one of the biggest knocks on Purdy’s case is that his weapons have helped him get to this point. Yet, in reality, the 49ers gunslinger leads the league in deep ball completion percentage at 58.8%, according to FantasyData.
Based on theanalyst.com’s own advanced metric, which is efficiency versus expected, Brock Purdy is also the league leader in total EVE at 734.4, and Tua Tagovailoa is second at 619.5, so it’s a fairly good indicator that advanced stats also favor Purdy in this race currently. Overall, a lot of factors go into winning the MVP, but it is important to narrow down a few key stats or matchups to help bet on a player at the right time so you’re getting the best possible odds.