After a 2-3 start to this season, the Cincinnati Bengals looked like anything but the Super Bowl runner-up from last season, and QB Joe Burrow’s MVP odds were an afterthought. Since then, they’ve won six out of their last seven and have four consecutive wins. That includes their third straight victory against MVP favorite Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs last Sunday.
Burrow outdueled Mahomes in the matchup, racking up more yards and touchdowns, and securing the victory. The next day, he jumped to third in MVP odds. He wasn’t top five on most online sportsbooks’ preseason MVP odds, having odds ranging from +1200 to +1800 before the season started.
Joe Burrow NFL MVP Odds Update
After a slow start, Burrow has worked his statistics up to a 60% completion percentage, nearly 3,500 yards passing, and 25 touchdowns. He is currently on pace for 4,881 yards, 35 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. The NFL added an extra game this season, so Burrow and the rest of the league will have an additional opportunity to add to their totals.
The biggest number, however, is the win total. The Bengals are going to need at least 12 wins to give Burrow a chance considering the records of the two QBs that stand in his way — Mahomes and Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts. The Bengals need to take four of their last five games, including the matchup against the Buffalo Bills, to give Burrow his best shot. If he gets the four wins that include the Bills, this will significantly help his cause.
Another major talking point for Burrow is the Bengals’ strength of schedule. Although Mahomes and Hurts will have similar — if not better — numbers all around, their schedules rank near the bottom — easiest in the league in Mahomes’ case.
|Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City||+125||+115||+125|
|Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia||+175||+160||+150|
|Joe Burrow, Cincinnati||+600||+700||+900|
|Tua Tagovailoa, Miami||+1200||+1200||+1400|
|Josh Allen, Buffalo||+1400||+1200||+1100|
Overcoming Patrick Mahomes
Mahomes is the current favorite and has better statistics than Burrow right now with 362 more passing yards, five more touchdown passes, and a significantly higher QBR. That’s going to be hard for Burrow to overcome considering how explosive and dynamic the Chiefs’ offense can be. Additionally, of the Chiefs’ last five games, three are against the Broncos and Texans. Mahomes could potentially put up a quarter-season worth of stats against those franchises alone given their performances lately.
If he does light it up against those teams, his stats may be too far away for the voters to get past and consider any other arguments beyond Hurts, whose team has the best record in football.
Jalen Hurts’ Finish
Hurts is the surprise of the season for many around the league, from commentators to fans, and the like. So far this season, he’s compiled 2,980 passing yards and 20 passing touchdowns and has thrown three interceptions. He also has 609 rushing yards and nine rushing touchdowns, an 11-1 record, and sits second in MVP odds.
Although he is performing well, Hurts’ peer Lamar Jackson sets an extremely high bar for his playing style. Hurts is going to have to crack the 1,000-yard rushing mark and finish the season with two or fewer losses considering his stats won’t be as impressive as those of Mahomes and Burrow.
Unfortunately for Hurts, he has played himself into a tight space. He put himself in the MVP position due, in large part, to his team’s 11-1 record. If he loses more than one of the remaining five games, his final stats may not be enough to overcome a lesser win-loss total.
Burrow has a real shot at going out and taking MVP honors from the clutches of his QB peers. It’s a heavy lift, but good to great performances from here on out can make things very difficult for voters. Burrow has the benefit of not being a familiar face in the race and a favorable record against the current favorite. If it all plays out the way Burrow needs it to, we may finally learn if head-to-head wins matter in MVP voting when statistics are near the same.
Article contributed by David Fletcher