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Derek Carr popular pick to lead NFL in passing, win MVP award

Updated June 10, 2022 - 12:03 pm

Derek Carr has increased his passing yards in four consecutive seasons while helping the Raiders improve their record three years in a row.

With Carr’s former Fresno State teammate Davante Adams becoming a teammate, the Raiders quarterback is a popular pick at sportsbooks to not only lead the league in passing yards but to win the NFL MVP award.

Carr opened at 40-1 to be MVP but is down to 20-1 at Caesars Sportsbook, where he is the largest liability at six figures and counting.

“Anything on the Raiders here in Nevada is a popular bet,” Caesars assistant director of trading Adam Pullen said. “Money is coming in almost no matter what you put the odds at. Add Davante Adams into the mix and it’s easy for people to get excited.

“Award betting, in general, is increasing year to year. There’s a good amount in the pool already and we’re still three months away from the first regular-season game.”

Carr is still 40-1 at the Westgate SuperBook to win MVP and 30-1 at Station Casinos. He’s the 14th choice at both books behind Josh Allen (7-1); Tom Brady (8-1); Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert at 10-1; Russell Wilson (12-1); Kyler Murray, Matthew Stafford and Deshaun Watson at 16-1; Lamar Jackson (20-1); and Jalen Hurts (30-1).

For Carr to come out of the pack and claim the award, he’ll probably have to lead the Raiders to the title in the NFL’s toughest division in the AFC West while putting up monster numbers.

“It’s very reflective of how the team does, not just him,” Pullen said.

Souped-up Carr

He threw for a career-high 4,804 yards last season to finish fifth in the NFL behind leader Brady (5,316), Herbert (5,014), Stafford (4,886) and Mahomes (4,839).

Carr is 12-1 at Station to lead the league in passing yards and he’ll have plenty of weapons to help him do it under first-year coach Josh McDaniels, who has been hailed for having a brilliant offensive mind.

“This is, by far, the best group of skill position players he’s had with the Raiders and he’s got a coach who knows how to use that,” Red Rock Resort sportsbook director Chuck Esposito said. “You can make a case Adams is the best receiver in the league and they have arguably the best tight end in the league in Darren Waller.

“They’ve got a phenomenal slot receiver in Hunter Renfrow and then he’s got Josh Jacobs out of the backfield who wants to be more involved in the passing game. And Carr has proven he can sling it.”

Esposito also expects Carr to have ample opportunities to pad his stats in shootouts. Carr is second in tickets at Caesars on the passing yards prop behind Herbert.

“When you look at the division with Herbert, Mahomes and Wilson, that screams offense for me and l’d look for shootouts when they play each other,” Esposito said. “The Raiders added Chandler Jones but there are still some questions on defense. They might be looking at the offense to outscore teams on a weekly basis.

“If that’s the case and Carr is able to produce some big-time numbers, especially touchdowns, he’s got a chance to win MVP.”

Herbert is the 7-1 favorite at Caesars to lead the league in passing, followed by Brady (8-1), Burrow (9-1) and Mahomes, Stafford and Carr at 10-1.

Passing fancy

New Orleans Saints QB Jameis Winston is, by far, the book’s largest liability on the prop.

Winston opened at 75-1 before a barrage of bets drove his price down to 40-1. He led the league in passing yards (5,109) for Tampa Bay in 2019.

“We’ll see how Jameis comes back off injury,” Pullen said. “(Michael) Thomas should be back and they signed Jarvis Landry. There are clearly bettors who feel he’s primed for a bounce off the injury. People want to search for value, that’s the whole name of the game. They’re clearly guessing that things will open up with the upgrades at receiver.”

A Virginia bettor wagered $2,000 to win $100,000 on Winston at 50-1 and a Nevada bettor wagered $1,000 to win $80,000 at 80-1.

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.

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