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Matthew Stafford opens fourth in MVP odds

Syndication: DetroitFreePress Kirthmon F. Dozier, Detroit Free Press

Matthew Stafford rarely had opportunities to get noticed during his 12 seasons with the Detroit Lions. Yes, he could have done better. Yes, he’s only been to the playoffs three times (and lost each game). But Stafford also led the NFL in game-winning drives in 2014, 2016, and 2017.

Stafford’s eight game-winning drives in 2016 is still the most ever recorded in a single season, dating back to at least 1960.

Now Stafford is playing for a head coach who has led the LA Rams to the playoffs in three of four tries — with a winning record in all four seasons — and he’s joining a team that had the number one defense in 2020. LA’s trade for Stafford in January propelled them into the Super Bowl conversation immediately and as of mid-April, it has put the quarterback square in the preseason MVP race.

According to the opening NFL MVP odds for 2021, Stafford is tied with Lamar Jackson for the fourth-best chances to take the award next season: 14-to-1.

Stafford and Jackson are behind Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers, and Josh Allen. The closest NFC West competition is not Seattle’s Russell Wilson, but instead Arizona’s Kyler Murray at 16-to-1 odds. Wilson is tied with Deshaun Watson and Justin Herbert at 22-to-1. (If you don’t like those Stafford odds, may I suggest Herbert???)

MVP awards are meaningless. MVP odds might actually be more meaningful, because at least some lucky fans will make money. MVP odds in April, I know, seem even less consequential to our daily lives.

Don’t blame me, I didn’t trade the Rams’ first round picks.