Baby boomers from the Cincinnati area who appreciate good quarterbacking think back fondly on the 1980s, when Ken Anderson and Boomer Esiason were both winning NFL MVP Awards.
As for millennials and Gen Z, they finally have their own legitimate candidate to root for — and also to bet on now — to be the first Bengal in 35 years go win the league’s top honor.
Yes, Joe Burrow, carrying preseason MVP odds equal to those of Patrick Mahomes with some mobile sportsbooks and just behind him in others, is putting to rest anyone’s lukewarm (at best) memories of Jeff Blake and Jon Kitna while in the early stages of creating a potential Bengals dynasty.
After two seasons in which Cincinnati almost won one Super Bowl and nearly made it to another, the current odds on the team to win the Lombardi Trophy next February range from +800 at betJACK to +1000 at Caesars Sportsbook and DraftKings.
For that to happen, it will take another terrific season from Burrow in his fourth year in the NFL. The oddsmakers certainly see that as a plausible occurrence, based on what they’ve posted for anyone willing to invest money in an 11-month futures bet.
Closely bunched with Mahomes and Allen
After being chosen first overall in the 2020 NFL Draft, Burrow had an injury-shortened rookie season before winning the Comeback Player of the Year Award in 2021 and repeating impressive statistics last year while leading the Bengals to the AFC North title.
He threw for 4,475 yards and 35 touchdowns, both among tops in the NFL. The only problem, relatively speaking, is Mahomes threw for 5,250 yards and 41 TDs in the regular season (on which MVP voting is based) before leading the Kansas City Chiefs to another Super Bowl win.
It was Mahomes’ second MVP honor after also winning it in 2018. Burrow finished fourth in the voting, also behind the Eagles’ Jalen Hurts and Bills quarterback Josh Allen.
A quarterback has won the MVP Award every year since Adrian Peterson was the last player at another position to get it in 2012, so naturally, the odds line up that way again for 2023.
Early odds on MVP, as on Super Bowl and NFL division winners (the Bengals can be bet to win the AFC North at +135 at FanDuel or MVGBet), are available at most of the online sportsbooks that launched on Jan. 1 in Ohio. The odds will fluctuate before the season’s start in September and then during it as well.
For those willing to invest in Burrow now, the best return on him for MVP is the +750 from Caesars, which also has Allen at that price, with them both behind Mahomes at +650.
Multiple books — BetRivers, Barstool Sportsbook, and betJACK among them — have Burrow and Mahomes both at +700, slightly ahead of Allen. The shortest price on the Bengals quarterback — and thus the site best to avoid for this wager — is BetMGM’s +650, which prices Mahomes the same.
A lot of factors will come into play between now and January to determine whether it ultimately is a good investment — in addition to playing at the game’s highest level, Burrow would have to stay healthy and the Bengals presumably would have to repeat 2022’s 12-win season, or do even better.
But there’s no question — with our apologies to Andy Dalton for saying so — that “Joe Cool” is the best Bengals’ best post-Boomer candidate (and we mean that in both contexts) to be named the league’s top player.
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