It's a matchup of MVP candidates Sunday when Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers visit the streaking Jonathan Taylor and Indianapolis Colts in what could also be a Super Bowl 56 preview. While Brady is the MVP favorite currently at Caesars Sportsbook, Taylor is skyrocketing up the list and could join the favorites and set an NFL record with another very attainable statistical game Sunday. The Bucs are 3-point favorites.
That Brady is the +275 favorite to win his fourth MVP Award is no shock as he leads the NFL by a wide margin with 29 touchdown passes and is second to Patrick Mahomes with 3,177 yards – Mahomes has played one more game. In Monday's win over the Giants, Brady became the first player in league history with 19 seasons of 3,000 passing yards – he had been tied at 18 with Brett Favre.
With all due respect to Brady, though, Taylor is playing better offensively than anyone on the NFL over the past six weeks or so, and it's no coincidence that the Colts are 5-1 in that stretch.
Entering Week 11, Taylor was a +15000 long shot at Caesars to win MVP. Then the former Wisconsin star went out and had 204 scrimmage yards (185 rushing, 19 receiving) and five touchdowns (four rushing, one receiving) in the Colts' shocking 41-15 win at Buffalo. Taylor became the fifth player in NFL history with four rushing scores and a receiving TD in the same game and first since Shaun Alexander on 2002.
Taylor was the first player ever with at least 175 rushing yards, four rushing touchdowns and one touchdown reception in a single game. Finally, he joined LaDainian Tomlinson (2006) and Lydell Mitchell (1975-76) as the lone players with eight straight games with at least 100 scrimmage yards and a rushing score. Obviously, Taylor could set that record Sunday.
He is now +2000 to win NFL MVP, by far the shortest odds of any running back. One New Jersey bettor placed $125 on Taylor at Caesars when he was at +5000 early in the season for potential winnings of $62,500.
"It's difficult for running backs to win the award," said Adam Pullen, Assistant Director of Trading at Caesars Sportsbook. "But what Taylor has done, you can't argue with his performance. If the Colts go as Taylor keeps producing, his odds are going to continue to lower. They can attribute a lot of their success to him. He has a big game coming up against Tampa, there will be a lot of hype in that game and can cement himself as a contender for the award with another great performance."
Tampa Bay ranks No. 1 against the run in allowing 78.4 yards per game and has surrendered just six rushing scores. However, stellar run-stuffing defensive tackle Vita Vea is in question after missing Monday's game injured. Caesars Sportsbook gives Taylor an Over/Under of 107.5 rushing and receiving yards.
Via SportsLine oddsmakers: Will Jonathan Taylor score a TD on Sunday (rushing or receiving)?
- Yes -200
- No +150
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