The NFL playoff race is quickly becoming the most important topic across the league as we enter Week 12. Thanksgiving Day offers us three great matchups to enjoy throughout the holiday. Three teams have a clear identity created by the stellar play of their offensive star.
We know Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen is one of the top contenders for MVP, but could we see a running back win the NFL MVP race? We’ll also look at the cases for New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley and Dallas Cowboys rusher Tony Pollard. Let’s dive into the 2022 NFL MVP odds entering Week 12.
NFL MVP Odds Heading Into Week 12
Let’s take a look at the 10 players with the best odds of winning the NFL MVP award entering Week 12, courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook. Be sure to read our analysis of all NFL and CFB sports betting.
- Patrick Mahomes
QB, Kansas City Chiefs (-150)
- Tua Tagovailoa
QB, Miami Dolphins (+500)
- Jalen Hurts
QB, Philadelphia Eagles (+550)
- Josh Allen
QB, Buffalo Bills (+700)
- Joe Burrow
QB, Cincinnati Bengals (+1800)
- Lamar Jackson
QB, Baltimore Ravens (+3000)
- Geno Smith
QB, Seattle Seahawks (+4000)
- Kirk Cousins
QB, Minnesota Vikings (+6000)
- Tyreek Hill
WR, Miami Dolphins (+8000)
- Justin Herbert
QB, Los Angeles Chargers (+10000)
Can Josh Allen Win MVP in 2022?
Absolutely. Set to play a weakened Detroit Lions defense in the first game on Thanksgiving, Allen has the unique opportunity to earn back some goodwill on the national stage. He’s struggled over the last month, not only dealing with an elbow injury but also seeing a major drop in efficiency and decision-making.
Allen didn’t look great against the Browns in Week 11, missing some short throws we’re used to seeing him hit. But he broke a streak of three games with two interceptions. The Bills have to build off this.
Detroit’s defense will offer little resistance against this powerful cast of playmakers. Allen doesn’t need to be Superman for the Bills to win. Nonetheless, a tremendous performance as a passer and rusher could catapult his odds back closer to being a favorite. He dropped from +200 to +600 within two weeks.
I don’t think it’s likely Allen claws his way back into the MVP race, though. He’s been outplayed by Patrick Mahomes and Tua Tagovailoa, and Jalen Hurts has been more consistent on the league’s best team. Losing momentum in the MVP race can mark the immediate end of one’s candidacy.
It speaks to Allen’s talent and how important he is to Buffalo’s team that he still has a chance to earn the award. Most others in his situation would have no chance.
Can Saquon Barkley Win MVP in 2022?
I’m surprised Barkley doesn’t have odds listed to win MVP in 2022. While a running back hasn’t won the award since Adrian Peterson in 2012, there’s no question that Barkley is the engine that has kept the Giants humming. No one expected them to be 7-3 entering their Week 12 matchup against the Cowboys.
Barkley has been spectacular despite concerns about his explosiveness and future contract status entering the year. He’s second in yards through 10 games and should hit the 1,000-yard mark this week. There’s no question the Giants would be a much worse offense if they had an average starter in his place.
MORE: 2023 NFL Super Bowl Odds
Though he’s not currently listed with odds, a big Thanksgiving performance could give him a long-shot chance. It’s more likely Barkley competes for Offensive Player of the Year or Comeback Player of the Year. He’s tied for ninth in Offensive Player of the Year Odds at +2500 but second in Comeback Player of the Year odds at +105 (behind Geno Smith).
Barkley deserves more credit for overcoming a mediocre offensive line and a subpar quarterback. But he always had an uphill climb being a back and playing on a team no one considers to be a Super Bowl contender. That’s a shame.
Can Tony Pollard Win MVP in 2022?
If Barkley can’t even get a mention in the MVP race, surely Pollard won’t either. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve a ton of credit, though. He’s stepped up when his team needed him most. Pollard is set to cash in this offseason after showing he might be able to handle an RB1 role for the entire season.
I’ve long believed Pollard is the ideal complement to Ezekiel Elliott. There’s no question Elliott has lost his zip and isn’t explosive anymore. When he had more juice, Elliott was above average, even if he wasn’t a sexy playmaker at the position.
The Cowboys surely want to get out of Elliott’s contract as soon as possible. Pollard’s 701 rushing yards have come with a 5.9 ypc average. He has 80 or more rushing yards in five of his last six games and just had 109 receiving yards in Week 11.
Pollard has transformed this offense while Dak Prescott has struggled upon his return from injury. He’s not listed for Offensive Player of the Year yet, but it would be a fitting award for Pollard. Unfortunately, the competition is high, and Pollard is working from a disadvantageous position because he didn’t have the star power entering the season.