Aaron Rodgers has already been named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player – twice, in 2011 and 2014. After missing most of the 2017 season with a broken collarbone, Rodgers is back under center for the Green Bay Packers, and at press time, he’s the top favorite at +500 on the 2018 NFL MVP odds board. Can Rodgers stay healthy this year? Can he lead his team back into the playoffs? If so, Rodgers has a built-in advantage over his fellow MVP candidates.

That’s because it’s the sports writers from Associated Press who decide the winner. A panel of 50 writers will vote on the MVP after the regular season is done, but before the playoffs begin. These writers follow the NFL closely, but are not affiliated with the league, so their vote tends to be sharper than other panel-based votes. However, they’re still writers, and the potential storyline of how Rodgers resuscitated the Packers after their lost 2017 campaign – where back-up QB Brett Hundley (9 TD, 12 INT) started nine games – makes for an easy decision if it comes to pass.


NFL MVP Betting Odds Getting Crowded

That’s a very important if. The Packers are second favorites at +155 to win the NFC North, behind the Minnesota Vikings at +115, so they might need one of the two NFC Wild Card berths to reach the postseason. And the NFC is absolutely loaded this year. Among the other division non-favorites standing in their way are the Atlanta Falcons, the Carolina Panthers, the Dallas Cowboys, and the San Francisco 49ers. For Rodgers to win the MVP, both he and his teammates must play well enough to survive this gauntlet.

Then you have his most likely challenger from the AFC. New England Patriots QB Tom Brady, the reigning and three-time winner, has the third-best odds to win the NFL MVP award at +850. Brady might be the only player in the league who can match or out-strip Rodgers in popularity, and he would be a compelling choice if he continues to perform at a high level in the twilight of his career. Playing against the relatively soft competition in the AFC will only make Brady look better.

At least Rodgers will have a little more breathing room now that Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz, the second favorite at +700, looks doubtful to start Week 1. Wentz still hasn’t been cleared for contact, the last major hurdle in his impending return from a torn ACL. Nick Foles will almost certainly get the nod this Thursday (8:20 PM ET, NBC) when the Eagles host the Falcons in the 2018 season opener. If Foles ends up filling in for several games – and especially if he plays like he did in capturing last year’s Super Bowl MVP honors – that should be enough to take Wentz out of the running. Maybe this is Rodgers’ award to win after all.



*Odds as of September 4, 2018