Jalen Hurts of the Philadelphia Eagles

NFL MVP Watch: Hurts over Mahomes in massive shake up; Dak is back

NFL MVP (Most Valuable Player) is the most prized individual award in pro football, and it provides a tantalising subplot to every single season.

Betting on the MVP race is one of the most volatile markets around, providing weekly swings with one false move potentially ruining a contender’s dreams of picking up the big prize.

One poor performance or one minor injury can wreck everything - continued excellence is the only way to win this bauble.

Let’s look at how the race for NFL MVP stands in 2023, 11 weeks into the regular season.

MVP race and odds in 2023

We have a new favourite after Week11, and here is the latest MVP picture:

5/2 Jalen Hurts (QB, Philadelphia Eagles): Jalen is our new MVP favourite after winning his huge battle with previous market leader Patrick Mahomes on Monday Night Football. Hurts’ numbers were hardly stunning as he threw for just 150 yards, no TDs and one pick, He did though rush for a couple of crucial scores, and more importantly, he got the W. Philly has the best record in football at 9-1 and Hurts and co are in great shape heading down the stretch. Another big game awaits this weekend - at home to Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.

7/2 Lamar Jackson (QB, Baltimore Ravens): Lamar was cut from 11/2 after a terrific showing in Baltimore’s 34-20 defeat of big AFC North rival Cincinnati on Thursday Night Football. Jackson threw for 264 yards and a pair of scores and ran for another 54 yards. The win also ended up moving the Ravens into the #1 seed in the AFC playoff race. Next up Lamar and co head to the West Coast to face the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday Night Football.

7/2 Patrick Mahomes (QB, Kansas City Chiefs): Mahomes lost his spot at the head of the market following that 21-17 home loss to Hurts and the Eagles, but things could have been so different. Mahomes found a wide open Marquez Valdes-Scantling sprinting towards the endzone in the final two minutes, but MVS could not haul in the pass. It was one of a number of key drops by Chiefs receivers on a frustrating night for Mahomes. He ended the evening with 177 passing yards, two TDs and one interception. Patrick gets a swift opportunity to bounce back against Las Vegas on Sunday, facing off against a Raider defense he has so often feasted on.

11/2 Tua Tagovailoa (QB, Miami Dolphins): The Dolphins held off the revitalised Raiders 20-13 in Week 11 to improve their record to 7-3, and Tua kept his MVP hopes alive in the process. He threw for 325 yards and a pair of scores to keep Miami right in the hunt for the AFC East title and the #1 seed in the AFC. Now Tua and the Fish head to the Big Apple to face the New York Jets in the NFL’s first ever Black Friday primetime game. Get the popcorn ready…

14/1 Dak Prescott (QB, Dallas Cowboys): A couple of weeks ago Dak appeared to be toast from an MVP perspective with the Cowboys offense struggling, but he is right back in the groove and Dallas is humming at 7-3. Prescott was efficient rather than spectacular in throwing for 189 yards and a pair of scores in a routine 33-10 win at the hapless Carolina Panthers. Now he gets a chance to state his MVP case in front of a national TV audience when the Cowboys host the Washington Commanders in their traditional Thanksgiving Day spectacular on Thursday.

16/1 Brock Purdy (QB, San Francisco 49ers): Purdy and the Niners have come back strong after dropping three straight heading into their Week 9 bye. Since then they’ve destroyed the Jaguars and Buccaneers, and both times Purdy has been just about perfect. He completed 84% of his passes for 333 yards and 3 TDs in that latest win over Tampa, and all of a sudden Kyle Shanahan’s innovative scheme is cooking once again. Next comes a crucial divisional trip to Seattle to face the Seahawks on Thanksgiving night.

18/1 C.J. Stroud (QB, Houston Texans): Stroud threw three picks against the Cardinals last weekend, but he still put up big numbers and he still managed to get another win. Houston remains very much in contention at 6-4, quite the turnaround for a team with pretty humble ambitions heading into 2023. Stroud has been a revelation and it looks like the Texans definitely picked the right QB. Next up is an enormous showdown with Jacksonville on Sunday, with the AFC South lead on the line. If Stroud wins this one, Houston can really start dreaming.

Best of the rest: If you’re wondering where the non-QBs are, we’ll come onto the grim MVP stats for anybody not playing under center in a moment. But for the record, the lowest non-QB in the betting is San Francisco RB Christian McCaffrey at 30/1. The lowest defensive player in the betting odds in 2023 is Cleveland DE Myles Garrett at 150/1.

Previous winners - the stats

If anybody ever tells you that the NFL is not all about the quarterback in 2023, just cite the latest odds for MVP. Then show them the list of previous winners. Nobody can deny it.

The Pro Football Writers of America began voting for MVP in 1975, and since then the men under center have absolutely dominated. In total, some 33 QBs have won the award outright in that time while Brett Favre shared with Barry Sanders in 1997.

Running backs are next best with 11 wins along with that Sanders share. But we haven’t had an RB take the prize since Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings in 2012.

Now - partly thanks to rule changes - it is all about the QB. They have won the last 10 awards and 18 of the last 20. For your reference, here are the last 10:

  • 2012: Adrian Peterson (RB, Minnesota)
  • 2013: Peyton Manning (QB, Denver)
  • 2014: Aaron Rodgers (QB, Green Bay)
  • 2015: Cam Newton (QB, Carolina)
  • 2016: Matt Ryan (QB, Atlanta)
  • 2017: Tom Brady (QB, New England)
  • 2018: Patrick Mahomes (QB, Kansas City)
  • 2019: Lamar Jackson (QB, Baltimore)
  • 2020: Aaron Rodgers (QB, Green Bay)
  • 2021: Aaron Rodgers (QB, Green Bay)
  • 2022: Patrick Mahomes (QB, Kansas City)

The only two players outside QB and RB to be NFL MVP in the modern era are both generational talents - linebacker Lawrence Taylor (the only defensive winner) in 1986 and San Francisco WR Jerry Rice one year later.

Voting - who chooses the MVP?

This isn’t some nationwide fan vote - it is taken incredibly seriously. As such only 50 sports writers get to cast their vote for NFL MVP.

The big thing to note about the voting is WHEN it happens. Votes are cast at the end of the NFL regular season, so any success in the playoffs and Super Bowl DOES NOT count.

This is all about sustained excellence and brilliance throughout a 17-game season. Hot streaks in January and February do not apply.

When is NFL MVP announced?

NFL MVP is now announced at the league’s annual Awards Ceremony, a glitzy bash which takes place in the host Super Bowl city on the Thursday of game week.

That means the 2023 MVP should be crowned in Las Vegas, Nevada on Thursday February 8, 2024.

Odds correct at 1130 BST on 22/11/23

Safer gambling

We are committed in our support of safer gambling. Recommended bets are advised to over-18s and we strongly encourage readers to wager only what they can afford to lose.

If you are concerned about your gambling, please call the National Gambling Helpline / GamCare on 0808 8020 133.

Further support and information can be found at begambleaware.org and gamblingtherapy.org.

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