We've looked at our surprises, disappointments and favorite trends from the first half of the NFL season, and now it's time to recalibrate our future bets at midseason.
Using the odds at BetMGM, our Yahoo Sportsbook team looked at our favorite bets for the rest of the NFL season from a team and player level:
Who's your best midseason value bet for MVP?
Nick Bromberg: I’m not going to look at the odds and instead name the guy who has been the MVP through the first nine weeks of the season: Patrick Mahomes. The Chiefs’ QB showed why he was the MVP in the Chiefs’ comeback win over the Titans on Sunday night and he’s been the best passer in the NFL so far this season. Mahomes was a much better MVP value before Week 9, but all that matters is your bet cashing, right? And if he keeps this up, he’ll be a two-time MVP at the end of the season.
Peter Truszkowski: The big three — Patrick Mahomes, Jalen Hurts and Josh Allen — are all neck-and-neck on top of the oddsboard, and you can certainly make a case for all three. If we’re looking for value down the board, there’s only three that really stick out. Derrick Henry at 150-to-1, but betting on a non-QB is the equivalent of burning your cash. Tua Tagovailoa at 11-to-1 is appealing. His odds have gone way down this week. The Dolphins are 6-0 in the games he’s started and finished and his receivers are putting up gaudy numbers. Geno Smith at 25-to-1 isn’t going to happen, but man, what a story.
Greg Brainos: I wouldn’t call it a huge value at 10-to-1, but Lamar Jackson is certainly intriguing for a couple of reasons. An offense of Kenyan Drake, Demarcus Robinson, Isaiah Likely, and various other accouterments has no business being a top three offense. That’s how valuable Lamar is. Baltimore’s remaining schedule is another reason I like this bet. After their Week 10 bye, here are the DVOA rankings of the defenses they’ll face: 28, 22, 2, 20, 24, 29, 20, 8. That’s not cake, that’s whipped cream.
Frank Schwab: I still think Josh Allen is very much in play for MVP and his odds has crept up to +300. His elbow injury is scary though. But my bet is Tua Tagovailoa. He was +4000 a few days ago, then +2000 and now sits at +1100. Most of the value is gone. But he still has a compelling case. The Dolphins are 6-0 in games Tagovailoa has started and finished. He leads the NFL in passer rating. He is averaging 282.9 passing yards per game. Tyreek Hill deserves to be front and center in the MVP conversation, but we all know that isn’t happening. A receiver isn’t going to win. Tua is a nice pivot. I'll also throw a shout to Lamar Jackson at +1000, but hopefully you have some 20-to-1 tickets on him from the preseason.
Scott Pianowski: Usually the favorite odds are sucker plays, but Patrick Mahomes at +200 doesn’t look bad to me. The Chiefs have a pedestrian running game, and the receiving group might be the weakest Mahomes has ever worked with. Meanwhile, Mahomes keeps pulling a rabbit out of his hat. The Chiefs also have three stand-alone games in a six-week period (counting last week); sometimes those showcase games carry significant weight with the voters. Heck, Tom Brady probably lost last year’s MVP after the Saints bageled him on a Sunday night.
Josh Allen was a reasonable play before this current injury, which sounds like it will cost him some time. I don’t think Miami will win enough games to push Tua Tagovailoa into the conversation; even if the Dolphins did rally, it’s hard to separate Tua’s performance from the greatness of his two wide receivers.
Who's the best value among Super Bowl bets?
Nick Bromberg: I still think the Bills or Chiefs are the obvious pick here. I will be stunned if the AFC representative isn’t either team and I’d give the Bills a slight edge thanks to the possibility of home-field advantage – though Josh Allen’s elbow is a slight concern.
Peter Truszkowski: I’m not going to do it, but I’d just like to point out that the Buccaneers can win the NFC South and then have a path to the NFC championship game that includes a home game against Daniel Jones and Kirk Cousins in a prime time spot. Tom Brady is like a cockroach that you just can’t get rid of. My favorite value bet would probably be the 49ers at 11-to-1. There’s so much talent on both sides of this roster when they’re healthy. As long as Jimmy G can do his part…but that’s asking a lot.
Greg Brainos: Hello, I am back to spread Ravens propaganda. Their defense looked infinitely better after the addition of Roquan Smith and the return of Tyus Bowser. It’s going to be tough to run against this unit for the rest of the season, and I expect the secondary to continue jelling as we near the playoffs. Buffalo would be a tough out, but Baltimore’s offense is tailor-made to run all over the Chiefs and I like their chances against the NFC’s top teams. Great value at 12-to-1.
Frank Schwab: I'm with Greg. You might not care that the Ravens have led every team they've played this season by double digits, but that indicates to me a level of domination I want to see from a championship contender. They blew three of those leads, and that's why you'll find them at good odds.
What about a conference championship bet?
Nick Bromberg: I think the Cowboys at +550 are the best value of any team to win a conference. Dallas is behind the Eagles (+180) and the 49ers (+450) to win the NFC and I think Dallas is closer to Philadelphia than it is to the 49ers atop the NFC. I’ll be slightly surprised if we don’t get a matchup between the Cowboys and Eagles at some point during the playoffs.
Peter Truszkowski: I mentioned it above, but there’s a chance the Buccaneers have a very doable path to the NFC championship game. They look so bad right now, but that’s why they’re 10-to-1 to win the conference. In the AFC, the team that sticks out at their current odds is Baltimore at 6-to-1. That defense looked superb on Monday night. Lamar hasn’t been good in the playoffs, but we know he has the talent.
Greg Brainos: The time to buy in on the Niners (+450) is right now, before everyone sees them play at full strength. Opposing defenses couldn’t stop Deebo Samuel last year, now they have to gameplan against him and Christian McCaffrey? I can see them running all over an Eagles defense that ranks 29th in rushing success rate, especially if Jordan Davis isn’t able to play a significant number of snaps. San Francisco smashes their way through the NFC and releases a team music video a la the ‘85 Bears called “The Super Gremlin Shuffle.”
Frank Schwab: I've been wondering aloud for weeks why the Cowboys aren't getting more attention; they're clearly the fourth-best team in the NFL at the midway point. I'll take them to win the NFC at +550, even if their path to the Super Bowl likely goes through the wild-card route.
Scott Pianowski: I like the angles above on the Niners and Cowboys. I could also see the Bengals scaring some AFC teams if Ja’Marr Chase gets back early enough. This team isn’t afraid of anyone, and the defense is better than many realize.
Any other bets you're making for the second half?
Nick Bromberg: Sometimes you just have to take the easy money. I’d confidently bet both the Bills and the Titans at -300 to win their divisions. Sure, that’s just a $16.67 payout on a $50 bet, but that’s still a pretty good rate of return for bets that I see as fairly foolproof.
Peter Truszkowski: I got Kenneth Walker to win OROY at +250 right after Breece Hall’s injury, and now Walker is +100. This feels like the last call to get in on him. Nick Sirriani is -130 to win COTY, but I think there’s plenty of value in that market between Brian Daboll (+800), Robert Saleh (+900) and Pete Carroll (+700).
Greg Brainos: The only way Geno Smith doesn’t win Comeback Player of the Year is if he gets injured and misses time, or if Terry Bradshaw signs with the Steelers and leads them to the playoffs. He’s a steal at -135.
Frank Schwab: I'll ride with Peter on Kenneth Walker for Offensive Rookie of the Year. I have Dameon Pierce tickets from the preseason I'd really like to cash, but Walker is playing for a much better team (which matters to voters) and he is a fantastic player. As much as I want Pierce to win, he seemed destined for a second-place finish. I can get some of my money back on Walker.
Scott Pianowski: Tyreek Hill has a chance to set the all-time receiver yardage record, and that could lead to an Offensive Player of the Year win (we know receivers can’t win MVP, so forget about that). The OPOTY often goes to a running back, but no runner thus far has distanced himself from the field.
I’m also tempted to punch a Pete Carroll Coach of the Year ticket for the heck of it, even if it’s a crowded field and a longshot play. I get it, the Eagles are undefeated, and that makes Nick Sirianni a gigantic favorite. But plenty of people — including some of our panel — had the Eagles winning the NFC before the season. Find me anyone who thought the Seahawks would merely be competitive this year, let alone the bullies of the NFC West.