Posted on July 20, 2019, by Travis Pulver
Two years ago, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz looked like a lock to win the MVP award for the 2017-18 NFL season. But then a knee injury brought his season to an early end and opened the door for Tom Brady to win his third.
Injuries cut his season short again last year, but if he can remain healthy this year, he should be a good candidate once again. He certainly seems to be considered a serious one at one sportsbook.
According to reports, almost a third of the money wagered on MVP futures at the Draft Kings Sportsbook has been on Carson Wentz. However, it bears noting that the Draft Kings book is located in New Jersey which means the Eagles are close enough to be considered ‘local.’
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So, it only makes sense that they have seen so much action on Wentz.
“We know we’re going to see a good amount of action on the local guys, and Wentz hasn’t had any bad years, he just hasn’t been healthy,” Johnny Avello, DraftKings director of sportsbook operations, said via The Lines. “When he’s healthy, he’s a viable contender, and he could’ve won it the year they won the Super Bowl.”
According to SportsBettingDime.com (which posts an average of the leading books), the odds on Wentz had reached +2000 at the end of May; still good enough to be in the top seven, but a longshot at best. However, since then, his odds have gone down quite a bit. But by July 10, he had moved closer to the other top candidates (+1400). As of July 19, he is tied with Baker Mayfield and Tom Brady at +1300.
With all of this money being bet on Wentz, should observers take that as a sign to go ahead and join the masses? Should they trust that some of these people have done their homework and are not betting out of loyalty?
Of course not, because a smart bettor always does his/her own homework.
In 2017, Wentz had the benefit of having an offensive-minded head coach in Doug Pederson, a highly regarded offensive coordinator in Frank Reich, and also a highly regarded QB coach in John DiFilippo. So, he had a tremendous support system guiding him.
He also had the No. 3 running game in the NFL taking pressure off him. But last year, he didn’t have any of that. He still had Pederson, but Reich was in Indianapolis and DeFilippo was in Minnesota. Mike Groh and Press Talyor, his new OC and QB coaches, had never served in their new capacity before.
Factor in the almost complete lack of a running game (28th in the league) and it is not surprising that last season wasn’t too great for Wentz before another injury ended his year early.
So—why should anyone believe he could have an MVP caliber year this season?
He has an established relationship with his new OC and QB coach now, for one. The running game should be a lot better after acquiring Jordan Howard and drafting Miles Sanders. He also has a talented trio of starting receivers in Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, and Nelson Agholor (with rookie JJ Arcege-Whiteside waiting in the wings.
In short, the pieces are there for him to be successful once again. The trick, of course, will be whether he can stay healthy.
Does that mean you should bet on him? While there is a reason to believe in him this year, with the competition for the award, it may be wise to hold off before jumping on the Wentz bandwagon. There are too many variables still in play to be confident in betting on him.