NFL MVP, Super Bowl futures watch: Is it time to take the Arizona Cardinals?

AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

The cream is starting to rise to the top. At least that's the case in the NFC with four one-loss teams right behind the undefeated Arizona Cardinals. Meanwhile, the AFC is led by six teams with two losses. If you can definitively say right now which teams will separate themselves, then please slide into my DMs.

Super Bowl options

Obviously snagging a valuable future ticket is all about finding the needle in the haystack. But I literally think it's too difficult right now, when you are assessing a one-way betting market. As I mentioned last week, the path for the Dallas Cowboys (11-1) is very attractive and could enable them to snag the NFC's top seed. Then again, they are only 2.5-point favorites in Minnesota this Sunday and perhaps the bye week derailed their rhythm. After all, 6-0 ATS is pretty darn impressive but what happens after a week off?

Two other one-loss teams also have challenging games in Week 8. The Green Bay Packers (11-1) are six-point underdogs in Arizona on Thursday and may play without stud wide receiver Davante Adams. Super Bowl favorite Tampa Bay (+500) is only a 4.5-point favorite in New Orleans, and Tom Brady pretty much struggled in all three meetings in 2020.

The Los Angeles Rams (+850) have certainly positioned themselves well but they still have road games against Green Bay, Arizona, Minnesota and Baltimore left on the schedule. For me, that leaves Arizona (+900) as the only sensible play right now in the NFC. They likely will be favored in all but one remaining game. The Cardinals deserve our respect and may finally get it from current doubters, come Thursday night.

The AFC is bonkers with the Cincinnati Bengals and Las Vegas Raiders currently leading their divisions. The Tennessee Titans and Indianapolis Colts will square off this Sunday but do we really trust either to make a deep playoff run? The Buffalo Bills are predictably leading the AFC East but they also have two losses in their first six games. As the second-favorite, Buffalo (+550) will not get my money right now. I also do not believe enough in Cincy (35-1) or Las Vegas (50-1).

Super Bowl futures

Tampa Bay Buccaneers +500
Buffalo Bills +550
Los Angeles Rams +850
Arizona Cardinals +900
Baltimore Ravens +1100
Green Bay Packers +1100
Dallas Cowboys +1200
Kansas City Chiefs +1300
Tennessee Titans +1500
Los Angeles Chargers +1800
Cleveland Browns +2500
Cincinnati Bengals +3500

MVP options

The MVP race is starting to take shape with four quarterbacks at +500 or shorter. I still think it's pretty wild that Aaron Rodgers is 10-1 when he only has one loss as we approach Halloween. Then again, as I mentioned above, the NFC is super stacked. Lamar Jackson is also in the mix for a second MVP but is 14-1 enough to bite? Will the Ravens land one of the top two seeds? Pass.

I think we are all still in shock seeing Patrick Mahomes listed at 40-1. As tempting as it is and obviously stranger things have happened, it sure feels like a sucker bet. Joe Burrow (40-1) and Derek Carr (50-1) are more palpable but is either guy really going to outshine the household names? Are the Bengals or Raiders going to grab a top seed? Of the two, Carr probably has a better chance, given he nearly won the award in 2016. I also think the team has fully embraced interim coach Rich Bisaccia and the upside is there. While I am not sold on the Raiders as 50-1 Super Bowl longshots, I do feel Carr as MVP is somewhat conceivable. Otherwise, we may have to wait to see how another week or two plays out.

MVP Favorites

Kyler Murray +375
Dak Prescott +475
Josh Allen +500
Tom Brady +500
Matthew Stafford +800
Aaron Rodgers +1000
Lamar Jackson +1400
Justin Herbert +1800
Derrick Henry +2000
Patrick Mahomes +4000
Joe Burrow +4000
Derek Carr +5000

Other awards to watch

  • The Indianapolis Colts are +360 to win the AFC South. The Colts essentially have to beat Tennessee this Sunday as a one-point home underdog. Otherwise, they will sit three losses back and the Titans will own the head-to-head tiebreaker. But after this game, Tennessee plays at the Rams and then hosts the Saints. I am not quite ready to pull the trigger on a Colts play but I also do not envision a team like the Titans to go wire-to-wire. Their two wins over Seattle and Buffalo could have easily been losses. This is still a team that lost to the Jets.

  • The Minnesota Vikings are +700 to win the NFC North. The Vikings trail the Packers by two losses and they have yet to face off this season. The next month will determine a lot, as Minnesota hosts Dallas, visits Baltimore, and plays at the Chargers before hosting Green Bay. But remember, the Packers are six-point underdogs at Arizona this week and Minnesota's early struggles don't look so bad anymore. Opening the season with road losses to Cincinnati and Arizona by a combined four points is now actually looking respectable.