2015 NFL MVP Odds Are Out; How Does J.J. Watt Stack Up?

2015 NFL MVP Odds Are Out; How Does J.J. Watt Stack Up?
Photo by Eric Sauseda

Much is being made of this "golden age" of Houston sports that we could be on the cusp of right now. Given that the Texans are still a quarterback away from being a real threat and the Astros haven't even clinched a postseason spot for 2015 yet, perhaps "golden age" is jumping the gun a little bit.  Undoubtedly, though, it's a hell of a lot more interesting across the board than it was just a few years ago, and it is inarguable that, barring injury, we will be watching at least one of the premier players in all three of the NFL, NBA and MLB for the next five to ten years.

More specifically, I defy any other city in the country to come up with a better Big Three than Houston's "Triple Threat" of J.J. Watt (NFL), James Harden (NBA) and Carlos Correa (MLB). Keep racking your brains, non-Houstonians, because you can't come up with one. There are towns with multiple teams in some of these respective sports who still can't come close. 

The bottom line is, so long as Correa's early burst upon the scene is the beginning of a trend of greatness (and as a former number one overall pick, that is the bet), the city of Houston likely has a player in each of the three most major sports who will be a top five MVP candidate for the remainder of this decade. You MUST enjoy this era, Houston fan. If you can't enjoy this, we probably can't be friends. 

I am reminded of all this because Bovada just released its latest NFL preseason MVP odds, presumably tweaked for the likelihood that Tom Brady will be serving some sort of suspension to start the 2015 NFL season. As he should be, coming off a season when he was the runner-up for the award, Watt is firmly in the mix for 2015:

Odds to Win the 2015 NFL MVP
Aaron Rodgers .. 5/1
Andrew Luck .. 7/1
Adrian Peterson .. 12/1
J.J. Watt .. 12/1
Peyton Manning .. 16/1
Le'Veon Bell .. 20/1
Tom Brady .. 20/1
Drew Brees .. 20/1
Jamaal Charles .. 20/1
Ben Roethlisberger .. 20/1
Russell Wilson .. 20/1
Odell Beckham .. 25/1
Dez Bryant .. 25/1
Calvin Johnson .. 25/1
Eddie Lacy .. 25/1
Marshawn Lynch .. 25/1
DeMarco Murray .. 25/1
Tony Romo .. 25/1
Philip Rivers .. 33/1
Joe Flacco .. 40/1
Matt Forte .. 40/1
Eli Manning .. 40/1
Matt Ryan .. 40/1
Matthew Stafford .. 40/1
Ryan Tannehill .. 40/1
Sam Bradford .. 50/1
Antonio Brown .. 50/1
Jay Cutler .. 50/1
Andy Dalton .. 50/1
Julio Jones .. 50/1
Colin Kaepernick .. 50/1
Cam Newton .. 50/1
Demaryius Thomas .. 50/1

A few quick hit thoughts here:

1. So the question every Texans fan has — what does J.J. Watt have to do in order to win the MVP award? Well, let's start with this — he must have a season at least as great as 2014 was for him. That's the buy-in into the conversation. After that, oddly enough, it is in the hands of the team. If the Texans go 6-10, it won't matter if Watt is 25 percent or 50 percent better than he was in 2014. If the team is mediocre (or worse), he will be out of the mix. (Keep in mind, J.J. Watt was great in 2013, too, and the Texans went 2-14.) Similarly, if Watt's performance dips in any noticeable way, even slightly, and the team still goes, say, 11-5, he probably won't win it. The only part that is in Watt's hands is to simply be great; after that, he's at the mercy of a system that is massively skewed to favor quarterbacks.

2. If I had three $100 bets to place — one on a favorite, one on a medium-risk play and one on a long shot — who would I take? Well, I'm glad you asked! I'd go with $100 on Rodgers at 5/1 (seems like great value for a guy who is a lock to have a great season, if he's healthy), $100 on Tony Romo at 25/1 (actually got a few votes last season, and if the Cowboys are one of the top two teams in the NFC, "Cowboys QB" is like "Notre Dame QB"; they'll always be in the awards hunt) and $100 on Ryan Tannehill at 40/1 (Dolphins poised to take advantage of Brady suspension and Tannehill appears ready to make a jump this season).

3. Biggest wild card on the board — Peyton Manning; at 16/1, either he will win the award by throwing 35 touchdowns and taking the Broncos to a first-round bye or he is toast at nearly 40 years old, and you'll be like, "God, what was I thinking??"

4. Off-the-radar name who is not in these odds but will be in the first set of revised odds that come out a few weeks into the regular season — Carson Palmer, Arizona QB. Cards open with three of first four games at home (NOLA, SF, STL) and a road game in Chicago. The Cards should be 3-1 and could be 4-0. Palmer was having a great season before getting injured last year, and Bruce Arians will find a way to game-plan around the loss of Michael Floyd with his finger injury. 

5. Put Teddy Bridgewater down as my super-duper sleeper. How Jay Cutler is on this list and Palmer and Bridgewater aren't is beyond me.

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast. 

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