Don’t rip up your Jalen Hurts NFL MVP tickets just yet

Jalen Hurts entered Monday morning as the consensus favorite over Patrick Mahomes in the NFL Most Valuable Player award race, and despite not playing a single down, dropped all the way to as low as fourth at several sportsbooks by Monday afternoon.

Turns out, Hurts was diagnosed with a sprained shoulder during their 25-20 victory in Week 15 in Chicago against the Bears, but wasn’t revealed until the betting markets started to collectively freak out.

The third-year Philadelphia Eagles quarterback began the day at -150 odds to win his first MVP, only to find himself as low as +700 on the board behind the aforementioned Kansas City Chiefs signal-caller, along with Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen and Joe Burrow of the Cincinnati Bengals.

Furthermore, bettors started to notice major line movement in the Eagles’ upcoming Week 16 matchup against the Dallas Cowboys; moving from a 1/1.5-point underdog on the road, to as high as 6-points with many unsure as to what was causing the drastic change. Eventually, word caught on after the betting markets shifted that Hurts could be dealing with a considerable injury.

WynnBET Sportsbook oddsmaker Motoi Pearson tells BetSided that the possibility of Hurts being unavailable was on their radar almost immediately:

“Having a guy like hurts out is going to catch our attention quick,” Pearson said. “Even with Minshew to back him up, he’s still worth a decent amount to the line and now we’ve got to go out and find Eagles bets to book at. Not to mention the significant drop in the total, we’re looking at the thing through a whole new lens.”

It’s worth mentioning that Hurts hasn’t been officially ruled out for Saturday’s game, as head coach Nick Sirianni believes his star quarterback could potentially heal up effectively enough to try and seal up the division.

With his status for this week, as well as the rest of the regular season in limbo, many bettors and insiders have already projected the NFL MVP race to be over for the Eagles star QB. However, if we take a closer look, I’m willing to bet that Hurts should not only remain a reasonable candidate, but that he deserves to remain the favorite as well.

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Time to Buy Low on Jalen Hurts’ NFL MVP Odds

In the interest of full transparency, I have an early season ticket on Hurts at +1800 odds to win MVP, and let’s just say watching Monday’s events transpire in real-time was not particularly pleasant.

However, even if I hadn’t placed the wager, there’s plenty of reasoning to go against the decision for dropping his odds in the race.

If the argument is purely based on precedent, there’s plenty to go against the notion that a player must play a full season to win. Via StatMusethe NFL has had 22 MVP award winners in league history play 14 games or less in a season, eight of which who have played in 12 games or less.

The counter to that argument is that for several of those players, a 14-game season was, in fact, the full season. It wasn’t until 1978 that the league made the decision to add two more games. Nevertheless, still six of those 22 winners did not play a full season since 1978 who went on to win the regular season’s most valuable player.

Secondly, if the argument is based on who is most deserving of the award, the odds at the start of the week indicated that Hurts was the better candidate than Mahomes; leading him in consensus odds at -150 to +130. After all, neither team played since those odds were released, with the only reason for movement being multiple non-confirmed reports of some sort of injury, with no official statement that he would actually miss games.

As a result, Hurts’ odds have since moved back into second place at +450 to +500, jumping once again ahead of Burrow and Allen, but still far behind Mahomes.

Finally, the question that should be asked is what truly changes for the Eagles if Hurts were to not only miss the Cowboys game, but also the rest of the season?

Mahomes already had a considerable lead on him in passing touchdowns and passing yards, but the two quarterbacks are neck-in-neck in completion percentage, and with Hurts’ 13 rushing touchdowns, he only trails Mahomes by three total scores. He’s also rushed for 434 more yards than Mahomes with 10 more rushing scores, with only five interceptions compared to Mahomes’ 11.

The Eagles currently hold a 3-game lead over the Dallas Cowboys for the NFC East division, and have all but locked up the No. 1 seed in the conference; earning them a first round bye to the divisional playoffs. The Minnesota Vikings sit two back of Philadelphia in the No. 2 seed, and appear highly unlikely to challenge the Eagles even if Hurts were to remain out.

Even if he sits for their game vs. the Cowboys, their next two matchups could potentially be irrelevant in the standings anyways. The New Orleans Saints are out of the playoff race, and the New York Giants will have likely sealed up one of the final Wild Card spots; currently -500 to make the playoffs at DraftKings Sportsbook.

It’s always conceivable that Mahomes, or potentially even Burrow or Allen play spectacular football down the stretch, willing their teams to top tier spots in the playoff race and truly exemplify themselves as the rightful candidate.

But with hurts already doing so, and not much else to prove, I buy into the argument that even with missed time, he’s done nothing to deserve his drop in status, and could be a worthwhile bet while the market is going against him.

Follow all of Ben’s betting plays in real-time HERE!

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.

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