Bet Patrick Mahomes to Win Offensive Player of the Year, Not MVP
The Offensive Player of the Year is one of the most intriguing markets to bet into right now.
This award typically goes to a standout season to any offensive player, and not the most talented player on the best team. NFL MVP is the award reserved for that archetype , which to me is creating value on Offensive Player of the Year. I'll explain in a bit, but let's start with how I've been betting this market and my thesis behind it.
A few weeks ago, I bet Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes to win Offensive Player of the Year, expecting him to keep up his historic trajectory as a passer, and also because I expected the Buffalo Bills and Philadelphia Eagles to control the top of the AFC and NFC, leading to Josh Allen and Jalen Hurts to dominate MVP headlines.
Unfortunately, the Bills had a bit of a swoon through November and Josh Allen is off the MVP pace, and the Eagles lost an ugly, weird game to the Washington Commanders a few weeks ago on Monday Night Football, making Mahomes the odds-on favorite to win MVP.
However, following Week 13, we are kind of back to where we started: the Bills and Eagles are at the top of their respective conference, and Mahomes is still the singular best offensive player in the sport. However, the odds are kind of skewed, which is generating value moving forward.
First, let's look at the latest odds to win MVP, and then Offensive Player of the Year, and I'll explain why I think Mahomes is overvalued in one market and undervalued in the other:
NFL MVP Odds
Mahomes was -160 to win the MVP heading into Week 13, but after a pair of notable results on Sunday, the odds look vastly different. Hurts passed for 380 yards against the Tennessee Titans and combined for four touchdowns as the Eagles moved to 11-1 on the season.
Meanwhile, Mahomes and the Chiefs came up short in Cincinnati despite the quarterback combining for three touchdowns to fall to 9-3 on the season. Now, the Bills and Chiefs have the same record, and Buffalo has the tiebreaker. Even more important in terms of this betting market is that the Eagles are two games ahead of the Chiefs in terms of record.
Since 2012, the MVP has come from a team that is tied for the best record in their respective conference seven of the 10 times. For what it's worth, those three instances -- Matt Ryan in 2016, Peyton Manning in 2013 and Adrian Peterson in 2012 -- all also won the Offensive Player of the Year in addition to MVP, indicating that they were far and away the most impactful player.
Hurts odds shrunk following a stand out performance against the Titans, and if the Eagles keep winning, he is going to win MVP. History says a 16-1, or even 15-2 QB won't be denied, but if he's not Mahomes is going to do it with such an overwhelming offensive season. So, if he is going to win MVP with that, wouldn't it be in a similar fashion to the same way those three outliers did: by also winning Offensive Player of the Year?
NFL Offensive Player of the Year Odds
Tyreek Hill is the favorite in this market, and rightfully so, he has 102 more receiving yards than Justin Jefferson on the most catches in the league with 96. For what it's worth, he only has five touchdowns this season, which is tied for 17th in the NFL.
Justin Jefferson has a ton of spectacular catches, but isn't leading the league in any of the key counting stats, so he is off the pace of the leader HIll despite being the third choice for the award.
Hill's numbers are video game like and he should be the favorite right now due to his trajectory, but will he keep it up? Last season's winner of Offensive Player of the Year, Cooper Kupp, finished 17 yards behind Calvin Johnson's single season receiving yards record and four catches behind Michael Thomas single season reception record with 145 catches for 1,947 yards.
Hill is on pace for 136 catches for 1,953 yards, so he's right there. He also plays games against the Bills in Buffalo in December and the Patriots in Foxboro on New Year's Day where it could be below freezing on game day. If Hill has any sort of bad game, he will fall well off the pace statistically.
Not to mention, his quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa had an ankle injury during the team's loss to the 49ers last week.
I find it beyond interesting that Hurts, who I think is the ture MVP candidate, is so far ahead of Mahomes in this market, considering this award is more counting stats based than narrative and team success driven.
Let's do an exercise. I'm going to show you two sets of stats, and then I'll explain what they mean.
- Player A: 3,549 Yards, 29 total touchdowns, 3 interceptions
- Player B: 3,800 Yards, 30 passing touchdowns, 8 interceptions
Player A is the combined total of the dual threat Hurts numbers between passing and rushing while Player B is simply Patrick Mahomes passing stats. He is the leader in passing yards by 362 yards and is the only one averaging over 300 passing yards per game. Mahomes has five more passing touchdowns than the next quarterback too. Lastly, Mahomes is projected to finish 83 yards off of Peyton Manning's single season passing yards leader, so with a strong finish, he could set a record (voters tend to overlook the addition of a game starting last season) and runaway with this award.
While Hurts is incredibly talented, his resume actually looks more of an MVP than Offensive Player of the Year.
Hill may end up taking home the award if he keeps up his numbers, and maybe Mahomes wins MVP too, but with a number in the double digits the Chiefs signal caller to win OPOY is arguably the most undervalued futures bet at the moment given the pace he has set in terms of counting stats.
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