Why Stephen A. Smith Picks Patrick Mahomes For MVP Over Tua Tagovailoa

Dan Orlovsky had a different take


November 14, 2022

After Week 10, there is a new betting favorite to win NFL MVP.

Preseason front-runner Josh Allen fell short to the Minnesota Vikings in Week 10, and the Bills fell to third place in the AFC East after the loss. The Buffalo quarterback has +600 odds to win MVP, and Patrick Mahomes is the new favorite at +150, according to DraftKings Sportsbook. Behind the Kansas City Chiefs signal-caller is Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa at +400.

Stephen A. Smith and Dan Orlovsky debated on ESPN’s “First Take” if Tagovailoa should be MVP or not. The Miami Dolphins are first in the AFC East at 7-3 after Week 10, and while their standing is by no means certain, their QB has played very well when healthy.

For Orlovsky, he was happy to back Tagovailoa and stick it to those who doubted the third-year quarterback’s ability. But Smith had a differing opinion.

” … Tyreek Hill is no longer in KC, and look at what we’ve seen Patrick Mahomes do,” Smith said, per ESPN video. “We didn’t see Tua do this until Tyreek Hill joined (Jaylen) Waddle. We’ve seen Patrick Mahomes do this without Tyreek Hill, and Kansas City is balling. Right now, if I had to give the edge, it would be to Patrick Mahomes over Tua, but Tua is in the conversation, deserves a lot of credit.”

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“First Take” host Molly Qerim put Hurts’ name into the discussion, but Smith and Orlovsky agreed he is just outside of the MVP conversation but still in the top five.

Smith and Orlovsky, as is typical of “First Take,” continued to debate the semantics of whether or not Tagovailoa is a deep passer or not, as the former stated the Dolphins quarterback is the beneficiary of Hill and Waddle’s elusive speed that can turn a five-yard pass into a long touchdown.

The numbers tell a different story. Tagovailoa has a 9.5 average depth of target compared to Mahomes’ 7.6 ADOT, according to Pro Football Focus. Though, for those who “watch the games,” they may have a differing opinion on what the numbers say.

But advanced numbers do agree Tagovailoa and Mahomes are the two best quarterbacks in the league after Week 10. The Dolphins QB is first in combined expected points added and completion percentage over expected, and the Chiefs signal-caller is second in that statistic. If PFF grades are your deal, Tagovailoa is No. 1 in passing grade, and Mahomes is second.

At their current odds, you’re definitely buying high on the two quarterbacks. A $100 bet on Mahomes would pay out $250, and a $100 bet on Tagovailoa would pay out $500. There was certainly more profit to be had before the season when the pair had longer odds.

Before the season, the Dolphins QB had 75-to-1 odds to win MVP at Caesars Sportsbook. Those odds were worse than Mac Jones’. While still a front-runner, Mahomes had odds of 8-to-1 before the season at BetMGM.

If you believe Allen and the Bills can turn things around and take back first place in the AFC East, the time to buy on his MVP odds would be before Week 11. But as of the Monday after Week 10, it’s a two-man race for the award.

Thumbnail photo via Denny Medley/USA TODAY Sports Images

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