Ravens Expect Another Leap From Lamar Jackson, Oddsmakers Not So Sure

Lamar Jackson has his eyes on another winning season in 2021.
Lamar Jackson has his eyes on another winning season in 2021. / Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Lamar Jackson already has an NFL MVP award to his name, but that doesn't mean that he, or the Baltimore Ravens, are satisfied with just that. 

Jackson, who took a bit of a step back in 2020 from his 2019 season when he won the MVP, is ready to take another step this year, and head coach John Harbaugh can’t stop raving about his quarterback. 

“He’s always been a mature person. He’s never gonna change who he is or his personality, which is what you love about him. He’s always gonna be genuine,” Harbaugh said to Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer. “But he’s learning how to play the position, he’s learning what it takes to take it to that really elite level on a consistent basis, and you see it in the way he’s playing.” 

Jackson is arguably the best dual-threat player the game has ever seen, as he’s ran for over 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons while still throwing 26 or more touchdowns and leading the Ravens to a combined 30-7 record through his first three NFL seasons. 

He still faces criticism for his penchant for running the ball, but when it works as well as it has for him, why wouldn’t you? Jackson has worked on improving as a pocket passer this offseason with the Ravens set to deploy him under center a bit more, and Harbaugh thinks he’s done a great job at improving his weaknesses. 

“One thing about Lamar, we talk to him a lot, and you talk to him about what he needs to do, Lamar thinks every day about what he needs to do to get better, and he’s always got a plan for himself,” Harbaugh said. “And he’s open to your ideas, but he’s gotta believe it for himself. He’s gonna do what he believes he needs to do to get better.”

The praise from Harbaugh is great, but do oddsmakers think Jackson can actually be better than he was in 2019? The latest MVP odds at WynnBET suggest that Jackson will be good, but not the league’s best player in 2021.

Jackson is currently tied for sixth on the odds list at +1500, which is a great spot to be, but he’s well behind Patrick Mahomes (+550), Josh Allen (+900) and Justin Herbert (+1000) to be the favorite for the award. 

Last season, Lamar led the Ravens to a playoff win, his first in his career, and he’s got his sights set on that again in 2021. 

“You know I don’t let anything like that bother me,” Jackson said of the criticisms of his game. “They’ve been saying stuff like that, I’ve been hearing stuff like that for a long time. Everything we have going on here, I’m just trying to win games.”

The Ravens are favored to win the AFC North at +125 odds, and if they have another impressive season in the win column, it should vault Jackson up the list to win the league’s MVP.

Does Lamar Jackson have value as an MVP candidate? Get in the action on the WynnBET app.