The reigning NFL MVP, Peyton Manning, is coming off a 55-touchdown season and should break the all-time record for touchdown passes this season if he stays healthy, but that doesn’t mean he’s the favorite to win the most valuable player award again this year.
Sports Interaction lists Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy as the 2015 regular season MVP favorite at +300, slightly ahead of Manning (+350). A slew of other quarterbacks check in behind No. 18 with Aaron Rodgers (+800), Drew Brees (+800), Tom Brady (+1000), Colin Kaepernick (+1200) and Russell Wilson (+1200) filling out the top seven spots on the odds board.
Manning is now 38 years old and his critics are already harping on the fact that his arm strength isn’t what it used to be after his neck operations. That’s certainly true. Manning can’t pinpoint his deep throws as well as he could a decade ago, but that doesn’t mean he’s any less effective. He still has a wealth of receiving options in Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, Emmanuel Sanders and Julius Thomas. So, if he stays healthy, you have to think he has at least one more big season left in him.
It isn’t surprising to see so many quarterbacks near the top of the odds board considering the pass-first nature of the league, but is McCoy really MVP material? Under Chip Kelly’s fast-forward offence, he’ll get more touches than he knows what to do with. He’s also coming off a terrific year in Kelly’s NFL debut. McCoy churned out 1600 rushing yards to go along with more than 500 receiving yards in 2013 and hit paydirt 11 times.
“He’s a modern day Barry Sanders,” Buccaneers DT Gerald McCoy said of Shady. “I haven’t seen a guy like that probably since him. He just stands in one spot and moves his feet side to side and everybody just falling off him, and he’ll go. You can’t guess with that guy, because if you get out of your gap, he’s right back where you were just standing.
So, he’s certainly an MVP candidate, but is the price too high here?
Other running backs you might want to look at are Jamaal Charles (+5000) and Adrian Peterson (+1500) – neither of which carry the heavy price tag that McCoy does. Charles averaged five yards per carry last season and had 12 TDs, while Peterson was said to have a bit of an off year coming back after knee surgery and still rushed for more than 1200 yards.
Other value MVP bets:
Calvin Johnson +2000
Matt Forte +3000
A.J. Green +7500