Handicapping the MVP race

Peyton Manning tops odds-based ranking of candidates entering season

Originally Published: September 3, 2014
By Mike Sando | ESPN Insider

Rodgers, Manning, BreesGetty ImagesThere's a good chance that Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning or Drew Brees will be named MVP.

Drew Brees seemed like a solid MVP choice for the upcoming NFL season when I filled out my 2014 predictions for our preview. Silly me. Peyton Manning, winner of five MVP awards in the past 11 seasons, casts a large shadow over the field as an 11-4 betting favorite. Brees has never won MVP honors even though a quarterback has won the award six of the past seven seasons.

We'll get to Brees in a moment, but any MVP discussion must begin with Manning, the only player given odds shorter than 5-1 when Bovada released its prop bets for the season. I also wanted to focus on the long-shot chances for a couple of wide receivers, including one who was added upon request as a 100-1 shot after his name did not appear among the 43 players initially listed.

Here's a look at the MVP field based on odds heading into the 2014 season.


Six players listed at better than 20-1 odds


1. Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos (11-4 odds)

Manning has never missed a start in any season except the one he missed entirely. It has become futile betting that this will be the year he finally fades. Manning won't be facing the AFC South in the scheduling rotation this season, however. He gets the NFC West instead, but he also has his left tackle back in the lineup. The Broncos are a statistical machine and that will not change.