NFL MVP 2012: Breaking Down Latest Odds for Top Contenders

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistDecember 14, 2012

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 06:  Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos pass the ball against the Oakland Raiders at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on December 6, 2012 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Nothing gets debate going quite like the NFL MVP award.

Determining the NFL's most valuable player is usually a difficult task and one of the more subjective debates that goes on in sports. The award is equal personal statistics and team achievement.

This season's debate should be as lively as ever as the race features three familiar faces vying for the award. Peyton Manning and Tom Brady have each won the award multiple times while Adrian Peterson plays the role of dark horse candidate with an outside shot to win.

With all three candidates enjoying great seasons, there's a case to be made for and against each one of them. Here's the breakdown on how each candidate stacks up. MVP odds courtesy of Bovada.

Peyton Manning

Current Odds: 1/3

Why He Should Win

Manning has been one of the best stories in the NFL this season.

After an offseason that saw him get cut by his longtime team, the Indianapolis Colts, many doubted that Manning could return to his old form after numerous neck surgeries and missing all of last season.

Making his debut in Denver, he has turned the Broncos into one of the best teams in the AFC. After a starting the season 2-3, they have won eight straight games and have one of the best offenses in the NFL.

Manning has been absolutely necessary to the success of the Broncos as their ability to run Manning's typical offense has taken them from an 8-8 team last season to a team with a shot at going 13-3.

Why He Shouldn't Win

The Broncos schedule has been incredibly weak.

During their remarkable eight-game win streak they have beaten exactly one team (Cincinnati Bengals) that currently has a winning record.

An argument could be made that any of the NFL's best quarterbacks could guide their team to an undefeated record in the Broncos last eight games.


Tom Brady

Current Odds: 11/4

Why He Should Win

Tom Terrific is up to his dominant ways again.

He's been extremely efficient throwing for 29 touchdowns to four interceptions and rocks a quarterback rating of 104.2 on the season. He also has the Patriots as a Super Bowl favorite once again.

The Patriots are 10-3 and Brady has put together some spectacular performances in primetime, including a 296-yard, four-touchdown performance against the Houston Texans on Monday Night Football.

Considering he's had to deal with injuries to Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski, it's impressive how well Brady has kept this offense humming.

Why He Shouldn't Win

Despite better numbers and the same team record as Manning, Brady hasn't had the same story this season.

Fair or not, Brady's success is partially credited to Bill Belichick. The Brady/Belichick duo has been doing this for years and there's nothing really special that makes this season stand out from any of the others.

Unfortunately for Brady, Manning's story gives him a big advantage in the eyes of voters.


Adrian Peterson

Current Odds: 7/1

Why He Should Win

Manning's comeback story is impressive. Peterson's comeback has been incredible.

Less than one year after tearing his ACL, Peterson is once again the NFL's best running back. Explosive as ever, Peterson is on pace to flirt with 2,000 yards and may even hit the landmark if he finishes the season strong over the last three games.

With an offense devoid of playmakers outside of the oft-injured Percy Harvin, Peterson has carried the Vikings to the brink of playoff contention at 7-6.

Why He Shouldn't Win

The NFL MVP award has undeniably become a quarterback award.

No running back has won the award since LaDainian Tomlinson took home the honor in 2006. Tomlinson scored 31 touchdowns that season and led the Chargers to the top record in the NFL at 14-2.

As good as Peterson's season has been, it isn't on the same level that Tomlinson's season was and it won't be enough to beat out a quarterback.