2020 MVP race and betting: Patrick Mahomes looks unstoppable

Patrick Mahomes is now odds-on to be named NFL Regular Season MVP.
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Chris Rivers

NFL · 1 year ago

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A self-confessed sports nut who has managed to turn his passion into a career, resulting in the last 15 years being spent covering a wide variety of sports for numerous media outlets. You can find me writing mainly about the NFL and NHL here on Pickswise, with a bit of soccer on the side. One of the rarest of breeds: an actual LA Chargers fan.

If the Regular Season MVP competition was a boxing match, the rest of the contenders would be throwing in the towel right about now after yet another brilliant round from fighter in the red corner. After the early weeks of the season, Patrick Mahomes looked like he would have serious competition with Russell Wilson cooking up a storm in Seattle’s kitchen and Aaron Rodgers rolling back the years in Green Bay.

Fast-forward to December and there’s only one name on everyone’s lips when talking about the MVP award. The reigning Super Bowl MVP has shortened to -400 in the MVP regular season betting after a string of near-faultless displays, while Wilson and Rodgers have stumbled in a race where they needed to be perfect.

2018 Mahomes vs 2020 Mahomes

Barring a major collapse by the Kansas City Chiefs and Mahomes, the 25-year-old should win the MVP in a landslide vote. When he was awarded the 2018 Regular Season MVP prize he collected 41 votes to runner-up Drew Brees’ nine.

That year, he had taken the NFL by storm in his first season as a starter for the Chiefs, becoming only the third player in history to pass for 50 touchdowns in a 16-game regular season. He threw for 5,097 yards in total while only having 12 interceptions and finished the year with a passer rating of 113.8.

He lost his crown to Lamar Jackson in 2019 but hardly played badly with injuries perhaps restricting him, while he wasn’t to end the year empty-handed as he guided the Chiefs to Super Bowl glory. While Baltimore’s Jackson has found it tough to maintain the high standard he set 12 months ago, Mahomes keeps raising the bar and his all-round play in 2020 has been better than ever.

He might not throw another 50 touchdown passes this season but his current total of 30 TDs with five games to play is hardly to be sniffed at. The areas where he has improved are in his scrambling skills, putting up 215 yards on the ground, while he’s only thrown two interceptions all year.

He has a higher pass completion percentage than 2018 Mahomes and a better QB rating. In nearly every metric, he’s better than he was two years ago and perhaps most worryingly for the rest of the NFL this season, he’s only just starting to peak.

Best is yet to come from Mahomes

Tyreek Hill’s eye-catching performance in Sunday’s 27-24 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers stole the headlines from Mahomes on his best day of the year so far. The Texas Tech graduate had 359 passing yards in the first half alone, the highest total for the first 30 minutes of a game since 1978, according to the NFL.

He ended the game with a season-high 462 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions, just missing out on setting his highest completion percentage of the year by 0.05 percent. It was as close to a perfect game as we’ve seen in the NFL this year and how can you possibly compete with that?

There’s little doubt Mahomes has been put in a great place to succeed with a myriad of weapons stacked around him and an offensive genius in Andy Reid calling in the plays, but he’s still had to realize that opportunity and has done so impressively.

Wilson and Rodgers worthy opponents

Wilson came out on top the last time he shared a field with Mahomes but is unlikely to beat him in the 2020 MVP race.

Take Mahomes out of the equation and the race between Rodgers and Wilson for the MVP prize would be very close. Rodgers and Wilson are both currently priced at +650 with FanDuel, Wilson’s odds having drifted after an excellent start to the season.

Wilson had been the favorite to be crowned MVP entering Week 5 but it was inevitable there would be some kind of drop off given the kind of crazy numbers he was putting up. He still has 3216 passing yards, 31 touchdowns and a completion percentage of 70.7, and a strong end to the season could see him narrow the gap to Mahomes. At the very least, this should finally be the year he gets his first MVP vote.

Rodgers’ numbers are slightly worse than Wilson’s, although he has thrown for a league-high 33 touchdowns. It has been some renaissance from the 2011 and 2014 MVP, who appeared inspired by the suggestion the Packers could be ready to move on from him when they drafted Jordan Love in April. The 37-year-old has been lights out at times but his inability to get it done in a couple of big games, most notably in the 38-10 thrashing by Tampa Bay, hurts his stock.

For Wilson, Rodgers, and the rest of the NFL, trying to get to the level Mahomes is now operating on is a massive challenge and for this year at least, that appears beyond the reaches of anyone.

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