Is Chargers QB Justin Herbert a Good Bet to Wins the 2023 M.V.P?
This could be a massive week for the starting quarterbacks of Los Angeles’ two National Football League teams. Last weekend, L.A. Chargers QB1 Justin Herbert claimed the Pro Bowl Offensive M.V.P. award. He helped lead the A.F.C. to their fifth straight win over the N.F.C. in the N.F.L. All-Star Game, a new series record for dominance in the showcase exhibition.
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The stakes are infinitely more significant when the Chargers’ roommates, the L.A. Rams, host the Cincinnati Bengals in their house (SoFi Stadium) for Super Bowl LVI. The Rams are substantially favored in this game, and with that in mind, their franchise signal-caller, Matthew Stafford is the favorite to claim the Super Bowl M.V.P. award.
This brings us to the question we’ll try to answer here: Is Justin Herbert a future NFL MVP? And if so, when is the time lime for this? I said it was time to buy in on the L.A. Chargers back in the fall. Around October, I said the time had come to buy Justin Herbert rookie cards, just as we had advised nearly a year previously. It was an opportune moment to draft Herbert in your fantasy league and also to bet on the Chargers whenever possible. Get in now, on the ground floor, I said back then.
Well, it didn’t quite work out that way, as the Bolts stumbled down the home stretch of the season and ended up narrowly missing out on the playoffs after going 9-8. However, they will be back in full force, as Herbert truly has this team on the rise. How far can he take them?
High enough so that he can become an N.F.L. regular-season M.V.P. someday? Next year, or perhaps in 2023, maybe? Let’s explore this concept in detail.
NFL MVP Plus the Clutch Gene
C.B.S. Sports and Showtime pundit Julian Edelman said it best about the 2020 AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year:
“I first-hand saw Justin Herbert before he was coming out of the draft, we were at Golden West Community College in Orange County… I threw with this guy a couple of times, and I was amazed at his confidence and demeanor.
“He had an aura about him.”
Edelman, a New England Patriots club legend and one of the greatest slot receivers of all time, later added, during that specific episode of the show:
“These quarterbacks are excellent, and I would love to play with them all, but I’m saying right now the ice water that’s running through Justin Herbert’s veins.
“We need to change his name – Justin Sherbet – he’s got that ice cream through the veins.”
Justin Herbert is the probably perfect nickname for the cool, calm, and collected signal-caller who set several N.F.L. rookie season statistical records. These benchmarks include most touchdown passes, passing yards per game, completions, and 300-yard passing games. Selected sixth overall out of Oregon (the state flagship university located in his hometown of Eugene) in the 2020 N.F.L. Draft, Herbert had a very storied collegiate career.
He won the Rose Bowl M.V.P. award after leading the Ducks to the Pac-12 title in his final season playing college football. He entered the N.F.L. with a ton of promise, and so far, he seems to be living up to it. Said Phil Simms, a two time Super Bowl-winning quarterback and broadcaster with C.B.S., described Herbert like this:
“He’s got everything you want in a franchise quarterback… He can make all the throws… He’s more mobile than people think.”
The Super Bowl XXI MVP and member of the New York Giants Ring of Honor utilized one of the most classic cliches for passers right there before mentioning his abilities as a runner. It’s undoubtedly true; Herbert is an underrated scrambler who escapes when the pocket collapses.
He also gets it done on the designed runs, and the statistics bare that out. He’s rushed for 536 yards and eight touchdowns, on an excellent 4.5 yards per carrying, in his N.F.L. career thus far.
Justin Herbert 2022-23 NFL MVP & Branding
Herbert earned his first Pro Bowl selection in just his second season, as he racked up 5,014 passing yards, a 66% completion rate, and 38 touchdown passes (against 15 interceptions in 672 attempts), while starting all 17 games. His passer rating this past season was 97.7, complementing the 98.3 that he posted during his rookie campaign.
For his career, he’s at 97.9 for his Q.B. rating, which is astounding for a player who is entering only his third season. In other words, he’s certainly for real, but is his team? What about his supporting cast? They are fun to watch and all, but they’re competing for attention in a town that’s notoriously bad for showing/maintaining interest in the N.F.L.
“We have to earn respect in L.A. because we’re brand new,” Chargers Coach Brandon Staley said while appearing on Inside the N.F.L. in October.
“We can’t expect to come into the city of L.A. and for people to welcome us. We’ve got to earn our way in this city.”
He’s right because L.A. is essentially a town of transplants. All those originally from somewhere else brought their rooting interests with them. For instance, the Chicago transplant living in Los Angeles is a Bears fan usually (and with that, a masochist). It’s a fickle sports town, to begin with; just look at all the people who leave Dodgers games early. This lukewarm only sentiment towards N.F.L. franchises is why the Chargers already moved out of L.A. once. (In their early days of existence, back in the 1960s)
As did their SoFi Stadium share mates, the Rams, in the mid-1990s. Ditto for the Raiders. Randy Newman may love L.A., but N.F.L. franchises most certainly do not. If Herbert is going to win an M.V.P. award, he’ll have to overcome the obstacle of winning and producing numbers in a town that tends to have mixed feelings about professional football for the most part.
And now the Chargers are even behind the Rams in this regard, so they have even more extra work to do. Don’t forget this fact, to be a Most Valuable Player, you need to be a brand name, and the Chargers have a whole lot of brand building to do. The Chargers do have a fair amount of history, but that all dates way back to the A.F.L. era, long before there was even a Super Bowl. To their acclaim, though, many credit this club, during the Air Coryell days, with creating and popularizing the modern passing game, which led the way towards the N.F.L. redefining itself in a manner where every team’s air attack is in full focus.
In this modern era, however, the Chargers’ most successful season was 1994, which resulted in an A.F.C. title, but they got blown out by the San Francisco 49ers in their lone Super Bowl appearance. In the N.F.L. grand scheme of things, the Chargers are pretty much way off the main grid.
Filling the Brady/N.F.L. QB Star Void
Tom Brady, the Greatest of All-Time (G.O.A.T.), recently just announced that he’s hanging up his boots. That leaves the N.F.L. with a big void in terms of the face of the league. Ben Roethlisberger, who accomplished a lot on the field, despite being very sketchy off of it, is also retired now.
So there is a major opportunity for stellar A.F.C. Q.B.s to step up and replace the star power that’s missing in the conference. Joe Burrow and Patrick Mahomes have a jump up on the rest of the pack that’s competing for these positions with Herbert. The list includes the likes of Josh Allen, Mac Jones, and Lamar Jackson. Any and all of these guys could be the next big thing.
“I think the way that he took care of his body in the way he was able to play for 22 or 23 years was incredible,” Herbert recently said of Brady in an interview with FOX Digital.
“And at the same time, he found a way to win all those years. It might not have been the prettiest of games, but I found a way to win.
“And I think that’s what’s most important about the quarterback position is putting your team in a position to win it. You know, whether that’s getting the ball out quickly, finding check downs. Make sure that you’re playing the game the way you need to be played, not the way that you want to play. I think he was the best at that.”
That sounds like the type of mindset that’s needed in a franchise Q.B. to win the M.V.P. award.
2022 AP NFL MVP Voting Results
Aaron Rodgers received the fewest votes since Matt Ryan won the award.
Here's the voting for AP NFL MVP:
Aaron Rodgers 39
Tom Brady 10
Cooper Kupp 1
— Josh Dubow (@JoshDubowAP) February 11, 2022
Final 2021-22 NFL MVP odds
Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers -500
Tom Brady, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers +350
Cooper Kupp, WR, Los Angeles Rams +2000
Joe Burrow, QB, Cincinnati Bengals +2500
Jonathan Taylor, RB, Indianapolis Colts +3500
Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo Bills +6500
Patrick Mahomes, Q.B., Kansas City Chiefs +6500
Matthew Stafford, QB, Los Angeles Rams +10000
Dak Prescott, QB, Dallas Cowboys +10000
Derek Carr, QB, Las Vegas Raiders +10000
Kyler Murray, QB, Arizona Cardinals +10000
We predicted Rodgers would win the award back in late December but did not feel super strong about it and failed to make a bet.
However, we do feel super strong in regards to the crazy high odds Mr. Justin Herbert is currently getting for the 2022-23 NFL MVP.
2022 NFL MVP Odds
- Patrick Mahomes 7-1
- Aaron Rodgers 7-1
- Josh Allen 9-1
- Joe Burrow 12-1
- Justin Herbert 14-1 (we feel this should be no lower than 8 to 1)
- Matthew Stafford 15-1
- Derrick Henry 18-1
- Lamar Jackson 22-1
- Dak Prescott 22-1
- Cooper Kupp 25-1
- Kyler Murray 25-1
- Jonathan Taylor 30-1
- Russell Wilson 30-1
- Derek Carr 40-1
- Jalen Hurts 40-1
- Deebo Samuel 40-1
- Tom Brady 45-1
- Davante Adams 50-1
- Nick Chubb 50-1
- Dalvin Cook 50-1
- Ja’Marr Chase 50-1
As you can see there, Herbert is nowhere to be found, thus making him a wild card, a long shot, to say the least. The bigger trend here, though, is that betting on a player who isn’t a Q.B. is indeed a sucker bet. Take a look at recent history.
Recent Past NFL MVP Award Winners
Courtesy of Vegas Insider
2022-23 – ???
2021-22 – QB Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers)
2020-21 – QB Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers)
2019-20 – QB Lamar Jackson (Baltimore Ravens)
2018-19 – QB Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City Chiefs)
2017-18 – QB Tom Brady (New England Patriots
2016-17 – QB Matt Ryan (Atlanta Falcons)
2015-16 – QB Cam Newton (Carolina Panthers)
2014-15 – QB Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers)
2013-14 – QB Peyton Manning (Denver Broncos)
2012-13 – RB Adrian Peterson (Minnesota Vikings)
2011-12 – QB Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers)
You know all the N.F.L. Sunday morning talk show cliches: “it all starts with the quarterback,” “it’s a quarterback-driven league,” “it’s a pass-first league,” and so on and so on. We don’t have 2023 NFL MVP futures odds right now, but as legal sports gaming continues to take off in America, we’ll see those before too long.
Sports gambling is huge right now, and it’s only going to get bigger.
Top-Line Growth, Bottom Line Analysis
I would strongly advise against betting on Justin Herbert to win the M.V.P. award this upcoming season. That said, his odds for 2023 should likely be pretty good. I would feel pretty bullish on that, actually. It’s very easy to project Herbert as the franchise’s best Q.B. since Dan Fouts (sorry, Phillip Rivers).
Hebert leads a team that is very fun to watch, and they fit today’s N.F.L., i.e. very pass-first approach, nicely. They rack up passing yards and score points at will, and that will get eyeballs, sell tickets and attract headlines. However, Herbert needs a whole lot of help right now. He needs to lead a team to the playoffs before he wins a playoff game. And until he starts achieving N.F.L. postseason glory, he won’t be in the M.V.P. conversation.
However, Herbert is one of those rare National Football League franchise Q.B.s who hit the ground running. Typically, a signal-caller drafted very high goes to a really bad team, and that means they take their lumps early on. It’s common to see some really bad statistics in the beginning, and then those turn into excellent numbers later on in his career.
With Herbert, he was stellar from the start, indicating a fast learning curve. So if that trend continues, well, we might truly be talking about the next big thing here and at a time when the league is desperately looking for that.
Just like in the stock market, the motto is definitely “buy low and sell high!”
Our 2022-23 NFL MVP Prediction
Take Justin Herbert now at 14 to 1 as this number will only go down.