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NFL MVP: Manning or Peterson?

2012 may be best defined as the year of the comeback in the NFL, especially when it comes to the race for the MVP award. Several players have come and gone from the year-long conversation surrounding the most valuable player in the league, but for most bettors and sportsbooks, it’s now become a two-horse race as we near the end of the regular season and those horses are Peyton Manning and Adrian Peterson.

After missing all of last season with an injury, Peyton Manning has returned with a new team, in a new offense and has still managed to produce the kind of numbers we were accustom to seeing from him in his youth. He enters week 17 with 4,355 passing yards, 34 touchdowns and a QB rating of 103.7, which would be the third best of his career as it stands now. However, the most important and impressive number of all is the 12 wins he had led the Broncos to this season, considering that they went 8-8 a year ago with much of the same roster. Manning is currently the favorite of the two with 1/2 odds to win the award according to Bovada, as his consistent play has kept his name floating around the water cooler talk for MVP each week.

Then there’s AP. Peterson is coming off an even more severe season-ending injury–an ACL tear–and has not only managed, but thrived on his new legs this season, rushing for a career high 1,898 yards so far this year. The six year veteran has been a true workhorse, receiving more than 300 carries for just the second time in his career in 2012. Considering no player is ever quite as strong or as agile after such an injury, his accomplishments are even that more amazing, but perhaps most impressive of all is that he’s been able to produce such numbers without a passing game to compliment him. Although his opponents know he is getting the ball, they still haven’t been able to stop him and that may be the true measure of an MVP. The one knock he has against him is that his team, at 9-6, still may miss the playoffs, which would take away a lot of the buzz surrounding his candidacy at this point. However, his 3/2 odds are still strong and a solid bet in the MVP prop category.

Personally, I like Peterson here. Firstly, I believe he deserves the MVP more because he is more valuable to his team and secondly, his accomplishments deserve merit. I also like the value you are getting by taking AP in this prop. However, I think the voters will side with Manning, as he seems to be getting the most love, as quarterbacks often do. And let’s not forget how much of a fan favorite he is as opposed to Peterson. What’s nice is that neither pick is bad and each one is backed by a solid argument, so what it comes down to is the odds. You’re more likely to make a small profit with Manning, but you are getting slightly better value by taking Peterson. But whatever happens, I think we can all agree that  both are deserving and considering the circumstances, both have enjoyed the best years of their careers.

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