NFL MVP Odds: Aaron Rodgers Surges To Top Of The Pack

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers acknowledges the fans after he broke Brett Favre's team record for touchdown passes
Image Credit: Wm. Glasheen/USA TODAY Network

During the eight-season span from 2013-20, only three running backs finished third or higher in voting for Associated Press NFL MVP:

2017: Todd Gurley, 2nd place (2,093 total yards/19 TDs)
2016: Ezekiel Elliott, tied for 3rd (1,994 total yards/16 TDs)
2014: DeMarco Murray, tied for 3rd (2,261 total yards/13 TDs)

Not included on that list: Derrick Henry (who didn’t receive a single MVP vote last year despite breaking the 2,000-yard rushing mark) or Christian McCaffrey (who in 2019 became the fourth tailback in NFL history to amass 1,000 rushing/receiving yards in a season but was an afterthought as Ravens QB Lamar Jackson won the award unanimously).

Which brings us to the present. Indianapolis Colts tailback Jonathan Taylor (1,626 rushing yards, 17 total TDs) likely won’t reach 2,000 rushing yards this season, despite the NFL adding a 17th game. Taylor also won’t approach LaDainian Tomlinson’s single-season record of 31 combined touchdowns set in his 2006 MVP season.

And yet, with two weeks of regular-season action remaining, Taylor has shot up the NFL MVP odds board and is now the consensus third choice in the betting market.

The reason: Over his last 10 games, the second-year player from Wisconsin has averaged 129.9 rushing yards and 1.6 touchdowns per outing. His production is the main reason the Colts have gone from 1-4 to 9-6 and firmly in the playoff hunt.

Is Taylor a serious candidate to become just the fourth tailback this century to win the NFL’s biggest individual prize? (The others: Tomlinson, Marshall Faulk in 2000, Shaun Alexander in 2005, and Adrian Peterson in 2012.) Or will the award stay in the quarterback family for a ninth consecutive year? breaks down the constantly evolving MVP chase.


Position/Player Team MVP Odds
QB Aaron Rodgers Packers -175
QB Tom Brady Buccaneers +600
RB Jonathan Taylor Colts +700
QB Josh Allen Bills +1,000
QB Patrick Mahomes Chiefs +1,000
QB Dak Prescott Cowboys +1,600
WR Cooper Kupp Rams +2,500

Odds via FanDuel and updated as of 3 p.m. EST on Dec. 30.

Trending Up

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers uncorks a pass in an Oct. 4, 2021, game.
Image Credit: Samantha Madar-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier this month, Aaron Rodgers was sitting in the spot Taylor currently occupies: He was the solid third choice — behind fellow QBs Tom Brady and Josh Allen — in the NFL MVP betting market. Today, Rodgers is the prohibitive favorite to win his fourth MVP (and second in a row).

In addition to FanDuel, Rodgers boasts odds of -190 at BetMGM, -175 at DraftKings, and -225 at PointsBet USA.

If Rodgers does indeed reach the finish line first, he would become the fifth player since 1957 (the first year of balloting) to claim MVP honors in consecutive seasons. He would join Jim Brown (1957-58), Joe Montana (1989-90), former teammate Brett Favre (1995-97), and Peyton Manning (2008-09).

Rodgers’ rise to the top of the NFL MVP odds board has been impressive, considering how his season started. After an offseason punctuated by will-he-play/won’t-he-play headlines, Rodgers came out of the gate and passed for just 133 yards, zero touchdowns, and two interceptions in Green Bay’s ugly 38-3 season-opening loss to New Orleans.

In the aftermath, Rodgers garnered criticism for skipping all of the Packers’ offseason mini-camps (including the mandatory ones) while attempting to leverage a blockbuster trade.

It’s safe to presume all that media heat lit a fire under the three-time MVP.

Since the Week 1 debacle, Rodgers has thrown 33 touchdowns in 13 games (including three or more nine times). He’s tossed only two additional interceptions (none in the last six weeks). And he’s once again flirting with a 70 percent completion rate (he’s at 68.0 percent, a tad off last year’s career-high of 70.7).

Green Bay also is a 12-2 since Week 2. Rodgers watched one of those defeats — 13-7 at Kansas City — from his couch after testing positive for COVID. In the other setback — 34-31 at Minnesota in Week 11 — Rodgers racked up 385 yards passing and four touchdowns.

When first chronicled the MVP race back on Oct. 14, Rodgers wasn’t even mentioned among the top seven candidates. Now, thanks to his stellar play — as well as a dip in production from the guy who had spent two months atop of the NFL MVP odds board — Rodgers is in the driver’s seat.

Trending Down

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady fumbles the ball in the second half against the New Orleans Saints
Image Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

During a 4-0 SU and ATS run from Week 11-14, Tom Brady guided the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ explosive offense to 32.7 points per game. At that juncture, the Bucs seemed to be charting an easy path to the NFC’s best overall record. And Brady seemed well on his way to his fourth MVP.

Then everything changed in Week 15 against the Saints. Brady passed for 214 yards, zero touchdowns, one interception and was sacked four times in the Bucs’ stunning 9-0 loss. It marked the first home shutout defeat in Brady’s decorated career. Adding injury to insult, Brady that night also lost his favorite target — WR Chris Godwin — to a season-ending torn ACL.

Can Brady win an eighth Super Bowl without Godwin? Only time will tell. This much is known, though: Despite ranking either first or second this season in passing yards (4,580), completions (422), touchdown passes (37), total touchdowns (39), and completions of 20-plus yards (60), the quarterback’s MVP candidacy suddenly resembles a lost cause.

Taylor’s Sliver Of Daylight To MVP Glory

Jonathan Taylor #28 of the Indianapolis Colts rushes during the first half against the Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium on November 21, 2021 in Orchard Park, New York.
Image Credit: Joshua Bessex/Getty Images

Even though Taylor’s numbers fall short of recent running backs who never came close to winning MVP — and even though he has two future Hall of Famers to leap-frog — his candidacy has legs.

Here’s why:

Green Bay led the NFL in scoring offense for each of Rodgers’ three previous MVP campaigns — 2011 (35 points per game), 2014 (30.4 ppg), and 2020 (31.8 ppg). Plus, Rodgers averaged 4,441 yards passing, 46.3 total touchdowns, and 5.3 interceptions during those award-winning seasons.

This year, the Packers are barely in the top half of the league in scoring (13th, 25.5 ppg). And while Rodgers is on pace for 4,216 yards passing, 41 TDs, and 4.5 INTs, those numbers lag behind Brady’s 17-game projections of 5,190 yards passing and 42 total touchdowns.

Then there’s the possibility that Rodgers will sit out Green Bay’s season finale at Detroit to rest his chronically injured toe. He’ll likely do that if the 12-3 Packers clinch home-field advantage this weekend. And if Tampa Bay’s playoff positioning is set after this weekend, Brady also could sit in Week 18.

If either or both players miss time — and/or underperform when they are on the field — Taylor’s MVP chances will improve. That is, if he (and his team) keep rolling.

Taylor is on pace to finish with 2,223 scrimmage yards and 22 total touchdowns. But he needs to average 137 rushing yards in the final two games against the Raiders (home) and Jaguars (road) to hit the 1,900-yard milestone. That per-game average would have to jump to 187 rushing yards to reach the hallowed 2,000-yard mark.

For what it’s worth, of the eight players in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards in a single campaign, only Peterson (2012), Barry Sanders (1997), and O.J. Simpson (1973) collected the MVP trophy.

Ticket Takers & Money Makers

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray rolls out to pass
Image Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

At least one sportsbook operator would be more than happy to see Taylor take home the award — or really anyone not named Brady and Rodgers.

At BetMGM, more money has been wagered on Brady (25.8%) than any other player. Rodgers (16.0%) is next in terms of money liability, followed by Cardinals QB Kyler Murray (10.3%). Further down the list is Taylor (5.7%), who slots seventh.

Murray, who briefly was favored to win the MVP early in the season, has seen his odds plummet to +40,000 at BetMGM. Still, he leads the way at BetMGM in terms of ticket out (13.1%), followed by Brady (10.1%), Rams QB Matthew Stafford (9.8%), and then Taylor (8.9%).

Jay Clemons
Jay Clemons remains the only sports writer on the planet to capture Cynposis Media's national award for Sports Blog Of The Year (beating out,,, The Players' Tribune in 2015), along with the Fantasy Sports Writers Association's pre-eminent award for Best Football Writer (2008). Through the years, Mr. Clemons has been a key figure with numerous blue-chip sports/media brands, namely the Detroit Lions, Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports, Bleacher Report and now American Affiliate's Clemons, a graduate of Michigan State University and Wayne State University, has been an on-camera Web-TV host for Sports Illustrated, Bleacher Report and FOX Sports. In 2015, he also became the first-ever sports journalism professor at Kennesaw State University in suburban Atlanta. And for the betting community, covering the last two years of the sports calendar (2019-20 / 2020-21), Clemons enjoyed a rock-solid winning rate of 59.6 percent with point-spread and over/under selections (NFL, college football and college basketball.)