Get prepped for NFL betting season with our extensive look into this year's player props.
Be sure to check out our latest Super Bowl 53 predictions article where we talk about why we like the New Orleans Saints to win Super Bowl LIII over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Here, we tackle some individual player props in 2018.
Only QBs Win MVP These Days
Betting on the NFL MVP is quite easy: Pick a future Hall of Fame quarterback … much like picking a Super Bowl champion, which we did for 2018 in the Saints’ Drew Brees.
Since future Hall of Fame running back LaDainian Tomlinson won the 2006 MVP, the winners have been: Peyton Manning (three times for five overall), Tom Brady (three times – including last year), Aaron Rodgers (twice), Adrian Peterson, Cam Newton and Matt Ryan. Peterson is the only non-quarterback in there and the tailback is probably Canton-bound. Manning, who is retired, Brady and Rodgers are locks for the HOF. Newton and Ryan are well on their way.
Rodgers is the +500 favourite at Sports Interaction this year with Brady at +560 and Brees, who surprisingly hasn’t won an MVP, at +800. How can you argue against any of those three? Brees, incidentally, will become the NFL’s career passing yardage leader this year barring early-season injury. Philadelphia’s Carson Wentz is an interesting +900; interesting because Wentz was playing at an MVP level last year until suffering a season-ending knee injury. He’s not likely to be ready for Week 1, so it’s hard to imagine he wins an MVP coming off such a serious knee injury (although Peterson did).
The non-quarterbacks with the shortest odds are running backs Le’Veon Bell (+2700) of Pittsburgh and Ezekiel Elliott (+2700) of Dallas. No receiver has won this award; the Steelers’ Antonio Brown has the shortest odds at +4300.
Don’t bother betting a defensive player to win MVP because it has only happened twice, last in 1986 with Giants legend Lawrence Taylor. The co-favourite for Defensive Player of the Year is Houston’s J.J. Watt at +515, but his body might be breaking down as Watt has been limited to eight combined games the past two seasons.
‘Most’ Likely to Succeed
The Cowboys’ Elliott is the +265 favourite to win the rushing title. He did as a rookie in 2016 but missed six games last season due to suspension. He will be the focal point of the Dallas offence. The Rams’ Todd Gurley is +365 with Pittsburgh’s Bell at +470. Both could have won the 2017 rushing title, but their coaches sat them for a meaningless Week 17 game. That allowed Chiefs rookie Kareem Hunt (+1400) to steal it.
For most receiving yards, the Steelers’ Brown is +245 favourite, followed by Atlanta’s Julio Jones (+445), Houston’s DeAndre Hopkins (+615), Giants’ Odell Beckham (+1200) and Chargers’ Keenan Allen (+1200). Brown won the receiving title for a second time last year with 1,533 yards. Jones won it in 2015 with 1,871 yards, second-most ever. Beckham just became the highest-paid receiver in NFL history, which could either motivate him or do the opposite. Hopkins had 1,378 yards in 2017.
Brady is +420 to lead the NFL in passing yards, followed by Brees (+450), the Chargers’ Philip Rivers (+725) and Rodgers (+900). Brady won the passing title for the third time in his career last year with 4,577 yards, but he has to start showing his age at some point! Brees has won it a record seven times. Rivers did in 2010 and Rodgers hasn’t.
NFL Player Prop Predictions
Rodgers wins a third MVP, while the Chargers’ Joey Bosa (+610) is the top defensive player. The Jaguars’ Leonard Fournette (+1000) leads in rushing and Houston’s Hopkins does in receiving if Deshaun Watson stays healthy. Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger (+1000) tops the NFL in passing yards for the second time.