The NFL’s 2019 regular season is still more than two months away, but it is never too early to look ahead — something the oddsmakers from Westgate SuperBook did earlier this week when they released their latest MVP odds. When it comes to the New England Patriots, three players find their names listed. Running back Sony Michel and wide receiver Julian Edelman are seen as long shots at 100/1 and 200/1, respectively.
Then there is Tom Brady, who is listed at 12/1 to win his fourth regular season MVP award — just the sixth best odds across the league. Seeing the greatest quarterback of all time this relatively far down the list shouldn’t surprise you, however, and here’s why:
The Patriots win comparatively few individual awards
Even though Brady has been among the NFL’s best and most successful quarterbacks for most parts of his 19-year career so far, he has won just three NFL MVP trophies. The competition is of course tough, but this is a reflection of how the Patriots and their individual achievements are seen: they are oftentimes viewed as more of a byproduct of the system and in turn downgraded. Even Bill Belichick, the league’s undisputed best head coach, is not immune to that. Just like Brady, he should have more ‘best of the year’ trophies to his name than three.
New England lost some considerable offensive talent this offseason
While the Patriots still have one of the NFL’s best offensive lines, a potent backfield and a Super Bowl MVP wide receiver, they had to see some key pieces from last year leave over the course of the offseason: gone are Rob Gronkowski, Trent Brown, Chris Hogan and Cordarrelle Patterson, replaced by free agency and draft acquisitions that bring upside to the table but are unproven in New England’s system. Seeing oddsmakers take a cautious approach to this is no surprise, especially when looking at last year.
Brady’s 2018 season was good but not spectacular
At times in 2018, Brady was outstanding. That being said, he was not on the same level of consistency as during his insane three-year run from 2015 to 2017 — especially early on during the season. After all, the future Hall of Famer had to work with a comparatively makeshift group of pass catchers outside of Gronkowski and running back James White. This changed when Julian Edelman returned from his four-game suspension and Josh Gordon was added to the mix, but with 2019’s receiving corps developing in similar fashion the bookkeepers obviously did not feel confident giving Brady better odds.
The competition is very good
The five men ahead of Brady on the list of MVP odds are all fellow quarterbacks: last year’s winner Patrick Mahomes (4/1), Aaron Rodgers (8/1), Andrew Luck (8/1), Drew Brees (10/1) and Carson Wentz (10/1). With the exception of Wentz, who never threw for 4,000 yards in a single season and ended both 2017 and 2018 sidelined due to injuries, the group of QBs with better odds than Brady is filled with established talent — and with talent that probably earns more fantasy points than the GOAT in any given season. While this shouldn’t factor in MVP votes, a correlation between those two seems to exist to some extent.
Ultimately, however, Brady will continue to do what he has done throughout his career: his job of conducting the Patriots’ offensive show. While this may lead to individual NFL MVP recognition from time to time, the overall goal is to win the Super Bowl. And when it comes to that, no quarterback should have better odds than Tom Brady.