Don’t forget about football.
Perhaps it slipped your mind with baseball, basketball and hockey set to return this month. But every once in a while, the sport generates some news that lands like a mortar shell, reminding everyone of its importance.
And yesterday, the shockwaves were produced by the contract extension agreed to by Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. According to an ESPN article, the new deal is a 10-year contract worth $450 million (up to $503 million if certain incentives are reached) and includes $140 million in guaranteed money.
Even though the numbers are eye-popping, the contract makes a lot of sense. Mahomes is still young (24 years old) and fresh off a Super Bowl win where he earned the game’s MVP Award. He’s perhaps the best offensive player in the entire league and the favorite (+400) to be the NFL’s MVP this fall.
But football is an unpredictable game, as is NFL betting. Could one of Pennsylvania’s quarterbacks finish ahead of him in the MVP race? Could teams from the Keystone State finish ahead of his Kansas City Chiefs, who are the oddsmakers’ favorite (+600) to win the Super Bowl again?
Maybe. Anything is possible, right?
Let’s take a look and have a little fun with the numbers.
How Carson Wentz (20-1) could become the league’s MVP
The first part is always simple: wins. Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson was named last season’s MVP after his Ravens finished the regular season 14-2. Jackson had incredible statistics as well (3,127 passing yards, 1,206 rushing yards and 43 total touchdowns), but notable team success always launches a quarterback to the forefront of the MVP discussion.
Wentz currently has 20-1 odds for the league’s MVP award at BetRivers. FanDuel Sportsbook has him at 17-1, and FOX Bet has 25-1 odds. Wentz would need to stay healthy for the entire season — which has been a challenge for him — and the Eagles need to win a lot of games.
In that regard, they’ll get a little help from the schedule. Philadelphia’s strength of schedule this season is the eighth easiest, according to an article at CBS Sports.
If the Eagles can finish as one of the NFC’s best teams and Wentz and his statistics are a big reason why, he’ll certainly be in the conversation for the award.
Does Ben Roethlisberger (50-1) have any hope for an MVP award?
Big Ben is much farther down in the list for MVP favorites. BetRivers and PlaySugarHouse have him at 50-1. FanDuel Sportsbook has him at 44-1, and Fox Bet has him at 45-1. For Roethlisberger’s MVP candidacy to have life, the ingredients are very similar to Wentz’ — health and wins.
Roethlisberger missed most of last season with an injury, so he’ll need to stay healthy throughout 2020 to have a chance. And the Steelers will also need to rise to the top of the AFC standings. They’ll have some help from the schedule too. Pittsburgh’s strength of schedule is the second easiest in the entire league, according to CBS Sports.
Roethlisberger generally performs well when the Steelers do. He’ll need some strong statistics and will also need to cut the interceptions that have plagued him in recent years to have any shot at the league’s MVP.
Any hope for the Steelers and Eagles to ascend past the Chiefs?
Both Pittsburgh and Philadelphia have an easier schedule in the upcoming season than Kansas City. The Chiefs’ schedule ranks 18th in terms of difficulty, with their opponents’ combined 2019 win percentage at .500.
But Kansas City’s overall talent has them firmly ahead of Pennsylvania’s teams in terms of Super Bowl odds. BetRivers and PlaySugarHouse have the Chiefs at +600 to win the next Super Bowl. The Eagles are 20-1 and the Steelers are 25-1, with odds varying somewhat across PA sports gambling sites.
Kansas City is following up its Super Bowl victory by securing its franchise quarterback for an entire decade, hoping to capture even more titles during Mahomes’ tenure. They are in a great position for continued success, one the Steelers and Eagles can’t help but envy.
But the NFL is often unpredictable. Sometimes long odds come home, just like they did when the Philadelphia Eagles won the 2018 Super Bowl.
So this season — just like all the others — will be worth watching.
Don’t forget about football.