Bovada has the latest odds for the NFL MVP race. Despite Ezekiel Elliott’s surge and the Cowboys having the best record in the NFL, and Derek Carr’s Raiders getting to 8-2, tying New England atop the AFC, Tom Brady is the favorite.
That’s not unexpected based on historical comparisons and what categories tend to be tied to the MVP winner. What is more unexpected is that Russell Wilson is listed as the second favorite, at +350, behind only Brady and ahead of Elliott.
Wilson has been incredible for the last two games, and these are predictive odds, not “who would I make MVP today,” since the season is not over. That said, Wilson would likely have to continue the surge. As of right now, he has 11 touchdown passes after 10 games, and that would be way, way below any MVP winner in terms of passing touchdown totals or ranking.
Using the same categories I used two weeks ago, that are most strongly correlated with winning MVP, here are where each of the top 6 QBs would rank:
Wilson is lacking in several normal categories for MVP (I bolded those where a candidate is outside the top 6 in a category). Brady and Ryan are the clear cases that fit historical precedent. Both are near the top in every category, though Ryan’s chances are likely tied to the Falcons finishing strong in wins.
Dak Prescott actual profiles very well (only really lacking in total TDs), but Ezekiel Elliott will likely get more votes. Speaking of Elliott, he fits nicely with the numbers of past running back winners. His averages are in line with those winners in rushing yards and yards from scrimmage (a little below in touchdowns).
That said, running backs have high hurdles to clear to win. Those that have won have not only been the leader in key categories, but dominated. Half of the last six winners crossed 2,000 yards rushing. Four of the last five had at least 23 total touchdowns (only Peterson did not). Right now, Elliott leads in both rushing yards and yards from scrimmage, but is not leading in touchdown categories. His chances likely depend on increasing the spread in the yardage categories (he leads David Johnson by only 9 in scrimmage yards).