NFL MVP: How the odds changed throughout the 2021 race
Our week-by-week breakdown reveals how the top five in the NFL MVP odds changed throughout a thrilling regular season.
With the Super Bowl just days away, it’s almost time for the NFL to announce its MVP for the 2021 regular season.
After leading the Green Bay Packers to the No. 1 seed in the NFC, Aaron Rodgers is poised to win his fourth NFL MVP and his second in as many years.
The 38-year-old tops the sports betting heading into the NFL Honors ceremony on February 10, with the recently retired Tom Brady his closest challenger.
Rodgers wasn’t always the favorite, though. Here, in our week-by-week breakdown, we’ll show how the top five in the MVP race changed throughout the 2021 season before A-Rod ultimately rose to the top of the market.
Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs opens as the +500 favorite to be named NFL MVP for 2021. Rodgers – the reigning VP – sits behind him at +800 odds, followed by Josh Allen and Brady at +1200. Matthew Stafford, meanwhile, slots in at fifth in the betting at +1600 after his offseason trade to the Los Angeles Rams – a major Super Bowl contender.
Mahomes’ odds shorten slightly after a 33-29 win over the Cleveland Browns in Week 1 in which he passes for 337 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for another. Josh Allen and Aaron Rodgers both suffer opening-game defeats but, with a long way to go in the regular season remaining, neither drops out of the top three, and both bounce back in Week 2.
The first major shift of the season, as Kyler Murray vaults into joint-second in the market at +600. With nine total touchdowns in his first two games, Murray has the Arizona Cardinals looking like one of the best teams in the NFC, and he adds another TD in a win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Rodgers drops out of the top five.
Matthew Stafford heads into Week 4 as the new favorite after a four-touchdown game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. However, a 37-20 defeat to Murray and the Cardinals deals a huge blow to his MVP hopes.
Murray is the +500 favorite after beating the Rams, while Dak Prescott is the newest entrant to the top five. His Cowboys move to 4-1 with a win over the New York Giants, with their only defeat to this point coming in Week 1 against the Buccaneers.
Josh Allen crept back towards the top of the race with four total TDs in a win over the Chiefs in Week 5, and managed to hold on to second place despite losing to the Tennessee Titans in Week 6.
Rodgers re-enters the top five for the first time in over a month as he passes for three touchdowns in a 24-10 win over Washington. Since the Packers’ Week 1 defeat to the New Orleans Saints, he’s now thrown for 15 touchdowns and just one interception. Preseason favorite Mahomes plummets out of the top five completely as the Chiefs fall to 3-4.
A second consecutive week with three touchdowns and no interceptions sees Stafford move back into the top five. His Rams have now won four in a row by convincing margins, albeit against struggling teams like the Detroit Lions and Houston Texans.
Murray injures his ankle in a Week 8 defeat to the Packers, meaning he loses top spot for the first time since Week 4. Allen is the new favorite following a third consecutive game with three touchdowns.
Allen somehow remains on top despite a 9-6 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, while Rodgers drops out of the top five completely after missing Week 9 with COVID and then going without a TD in a win over the Minnesota Vikings. Prescott is back in the top five with the Cowboys sitting at 7-2.
Murray is still yet to return since his Week 8 injury and is now almost out of the top five entirely at +1000 odds. Brady’s odds have been steadily shortening since Week 7, and he becomes the new favorite as his Buccaneers beat the New York Giants 30-10.
Brady’s odds shorten as the Bucs beat the Indianapolis Colts, while Rodgers yet again returns to the top five after a huge win over the Rams. He won’t drop lower than fourth for the rest of the season.
Murray returns to action in Week 13 and is back in the MVP race at +600 odds. A four-touchdown night against the Chicago Bears suggests he still has a chance of claiming the award.
Brady and the Bucs earn a statement win over the Buffalo Bills, which sees the quarterback go odds-on for the first time all season at -125. Allen, meanwhile, sees his odds lengthen to +900 after a crushing defeat. Rodgers moves into second.
Brady holds firm at -125 but this is now looking like a two-horse race as Rodgers’ odds shorten to +250. He passes for 268 yards and three touchdowns in a 31-30 win over the Ravens as the Packers move to 11-3 at the top of the NFC.
A 9-0 loss to the New Orleans Saints in Week 15 means Brady falls all the way to +700, while Rodgers takes a commanding lead at the top of the market at -175. A running back enters the frame for the first time all season as Jonathan Taylor of the Colts comes in at +600. To this point, he has nine 100-yard rushing games and leads the league with 17 touchdowns on the ground.
Rodgers scores multiple touchdowns with no interceptions for the sixth successive game in Week 17 as the Packers beat the Vikings 37-10 and clinch the No. 1 seed in the NFC. Rodgers has also almost definitely clinched the league MVP award. Two names enter the top five for the first time – Joe Burrow and Cooper Kupp.
Rodgers passes for two touchdowns against the Lions and then takes a seat on the bench for the second half. He’s got the MVP locked up. Kupp’s odds shorten to +2000 as the Rams receiver finishes off an incredible 1,947-yard season. Burrow finishes at +2500 after guiding the Bengals to the playoffs (and later, all the way to the Super Bowl), while Taylor closes out the top five.