With football season fast approaching, there are countless player props and futures odds on the NFL MVP and league passing, rushing and receiving leaders at Las Vegas sportsbooks.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is the clear favorite to repeat as NFL MVP (4-1 at the Westgate). But the unlikely runaway leader in tickets and money wagered to win the award is Mitchell Trubisky.
The Chicago Bears QB is at 30-1 at Caesars Entertainment after opening at 75-1 and he’s at 50-1 at the Westgate after opening at 200-1.
“We’re absolutely inundated on Mitch Trubisky to win the MVP. It’s broken the six-figure loss at this point,” Caesars risk manager Jeff Davis said. “There’s so much Chicago tourist money in Vegas between the Cubs and Blackhawks and Bears. It’s just an absolute avalanche of $10 to $100 bets from Bears fans.”
Davis said he took a substantial sharp bet on Vikings QB Kirk Cousins to win the MVP at 75-1 before moving his odds to 45-1. Andrew Luck is the 6-1 second choice, followed by Carson Wentz (7-1) and Aaron Rodgers (8-1).
Caesars also has taken a lot of action on Trubisky to lead the league in passing, moving his odds from 60-1 to 30-1. Trubisky helped lead the Bears to a 12-4 record last season but finished 20th in the NFL in passing yards. Chicago led the league in scoring defense (17.7 ppg) but was only 21st in passing.
“He’s going to improve,” Davis said. “But just the way the Bears offense runs, I’d be shocked if he led the league in passing.”
Money on Mayfield, Brees
Mahomes, who finished second to Ben Roethlisberger in passing yards last season, is the 7-2 favorite to win the passing title. Matt Ryan is the 11-2 second choice, followed by Andrew Luck and Baker Mayfield at 7-1.
“Mayfield is getting a ton of money,” Davis said. “We dropped him from 25-1 to 12-1 when the Browns got (Odell) Beckham (Jr.) and now he’s down to 7-1.”
Drew Brees is the 9-1 fifth choice after opening at 18-1 and represents the largest liability for Caesars. But Davis is fine with that.
“We kind of think the Saints are going to be down a bit this year,” he said. “Brees is 40 and there’s a chance he takes a step back this year.”
Davis said he and his staff weigh several factors in making the odds.
“It’s a combination of what they’ve done recently and what the situation is,” he said. “In the past, Roethlisberger has been in single digits but the Steelers don’t have Antonio Brown anymore and Roethlisberger is not getting any younger. He’s 12-1 this year.”
Brown going down
On the flip side, oddsmakers expect Brown’s production to drop catching passes from Raiders QB Derek Carr instead of Roethlisberger.
Julio Jones is the 9-2 favorite at Caesars to lead the NFL in receiving yards. Brown opened as the 5-1 second choice but has since fallen to the 17-2 fifth choice, behind Beckham (6-1), DeAndre Hopkins (13-2) and ex-Steelers teammate JuJu Smith-Schuster (13-2).
“I don’t think much of Derek Carr and I think a lot of people feel the same way,” Davis said. “Brown has really not attracted much interest.”
Station Casinos posted player props in March on Brown, Beckham, Mayfield, Le’Veon Bell and Nick Foles. And Sunset Station sportsbook director Chuck Esposito expects Brown’s numbers to go down and Beckham’s to go up.
“Brown’s going to be the focal point of the offense but he doesn’t have the same surrounding cast,” he said. “There’s a lot of pressure on Carr this year, now that he has Antonio Brown, and what he can do with this offense.”
Beckham opened at 15-1 to lead the league in receiving yards and moved from 12-1 to 8-1 when he was traded to the Browns. If he stays healthy, Esposito expects Beckham to go over his total of 8½ touchdowns.
Elliott, Barkley on the run
Ezekiel Elliott is the 2-1 favorite to repeat as the NFL’s rushing leader and has taken twice as much money as any other running back since opening at 3-1. Nick Chubb is the 6-1 second choice and Saquon Barkley is the 13-2 third choice and leads the ticket count by a 2-1 margin.
Todd Gurley has dipped to 12-1 after opening at 5-1.
“No one’s touching Gurley,” Davis said. “There has been no interest whatsoever.”