As we've said before in this space, we're not in the business of dishing out gambling advice.
For one, we're just not good at it. And two, it's a bit taboo.
But either way, Las Vegas lines and odds can be fascinating looks at the NFL, or any sport for that matter. They're set based on the house hedging and protecting themselves as much as possible from a betting standpoint, but that in turn is based on public perception and how the betting public views the NFL.
So with that in mind, let's mow through some of Bovada's NFL MVP numbers for the 2014 season, and we'll break them down into small groups and go from there ...
The big dogs. And if you asked me to pick an MVP today, it would come from this quintet. I likely would pick Rodgers. He's 30 years old, was on pace for about 5,000 yards (and about nine turnovers) last season when he got hurt, has terrific weapons and could be in the best shape of his life this season. Manning will get all the love, but Rodgers seems like a heady choice to me. (But you've got me, right? This is not betting advice. It's not even real-world advice. Just one football guy talkin' ball ...)
This is where there's a fairly interesting dropoff. Kind of stunned that Cutler and Stafford, two talented but somewhat maligned guys (generally speaking) in the public eye, are ahead of new-schoolers such as Kaep, Cam, Russ and RG3. You can make a case for any of them to win MVP in the right circumstances, but boy, doesn't Wilson make the most sense of these six given the environment he has around him? That's just me riffing though ...
OK, the fantasy football elite here, and the first wave of non-quarterbacks. McCoy is dreaming of 2,000 yards this season, and his quarterback Nick Foles would have to do something pretty dramatic (and improve on his statistically eye-popping season from a year ago) to be a real candidate. So Shady makes some sense. Peterson beat out Manning two years ago, and he's a cyborg, so that too is eminently possible. Calvin Johnson is Megatron. He also knows a little something about the 2K yardage mark. All shockingly legit choices, and maybe even higher (in non-betting reality) than some of the QBs listed right above them.
These bets, to me, strike me as the drunk Falcons/Eagles/Steelers/Giants/Chargers/Cowboys options for the fan who wagers with their heart (or their liver?) and not their head. No offense to these talented quarterbacks, all of whom have blown up a few scoreboards the past few seasons. But they're just not strong bets, I'd venture to guess. But yeah, if Romo can overcome everything he's dealing with down in Dallas, give him the MVP, elect him to the Texas state senate and give him his choice of second wives. I'm down with it.
Marshawn Lynch 50/1
Demaryius Thomas 66/1
Matt Forte 66/1
Jamaal Charles 66/1
Dez Bryant 66/1
Brandon Marshall 66/1
Julio Jones 66/1
A few off-the-wall options. Lynch is a tough call — as good as he is, he's capable, but will he win the sentimental vote with the media without actually speaking to them during a season? A good dark horse here might be Charles, who might have to do some serious lifting for the Chiefs this season and largely has shown he's capable of such things.
Jimmy Graham 66/1
The first tight end on the list. Wait, we're emailing Stephen Burbank on this first.
Johnny Manziel 100/1
Joe Flacco 100/1
Andy Dalton 100/1
Eddie Lacy 100/1
Arian Foster 100/1
Rob Gronkowski 100/1
Look at this amazing cast of characters. Seriously, someone put these six men in a room and lock them in — with cameras rolling and oxygen and house music flowing freely — for days on end. Tell me Dalton and Manziel would not want to strangle each other after spending an hour together. It would be amazing. I have no idea if any of these guys are real candidates for this award, but this little crew can come to my summer BBQ any darned time they want. There should be a rule for this sub-section: If you bet in Vegas on any of these guys to win and you later party with them in Vegas — regardless of whether they win MVP or not — you automatically triple your money.
Alex Smith 150/1
Alfred Morris 150/1
C.J. Spiller 150/1
Antonio Brown 150/1
... aaaaaaaand, I just fell asleep.
DeMarco Murray 200/1
Frank Gore 200/1
Wait a sec. Neither guy is winning it, let's be honest, but you're telling me I can bet a dollar and potentially come away with two hondo if one of these cats does win it?! In Vegas terms, that's money pretty well spent ...
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