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What does Trey Lance’s MVP odds shift actually mean?

Apparently, money poured in on the soon-to-be starter when the odds were initially posted after the Super Bowl. Let’s break that down.

Houston Texans v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

Unless you live under the world’s biggest rock or simply don’t have Twitter, you almost certainly remember where you were and what you were doing when some Trey Lance practice footage hit the timeline last week.

It was just that monumental. The clips showed exactly what every Niner fan is hoping that Lance can bring to the offense next season: Ability to extend plays with his legs, the arm strength to deliver precision strikes downfield, and, most tantalizing of all, the combination of those two assets with shocking ease.

Apparently, those who’ve been crying out for “Trey Area” were not the only ones to sit up and take notice. Caesar’s Sportsbook released their initial MVP Odds for the 2022 season after the Super Bowl, and Lance opened at +20000. Very quickly, those odds dropped all the way to +7500 or, in other words, 75/1. DraftKings Sportsbook is offering Lance at +5000.

What does this mean? First of all, more than a few bettors put down a nice chunk of change on next year’s presumed starter in San Francisco. In fact, according to Caesars, 37% of all MVP tickets had Lance’s name on them, which made up 53% of all money wagered so far.

Secondly, it means that when bettors looked at the board, they saw something that they loved… Value, value, value. The futures market in February doesn’t move based on anything substantial or concrete. The swings in odds don’t correlate to insider info or backroom whispers. It’s just the sharps allocating funds to what they determine to have good value, and Lance’s value has precedent.

Back in 2018, another athletically superior second-year quarterback replaced a beloved but limited veteran, taking the reins of a unit chock full of gifted skill players and orchestrated by a well-established offensive guru. 5097 yards and 50 touchdowns later, Patrick Mahomes took home the MVP going away.

A quick disclaimer, I AM IN NO WAY SAYING TREY LANCE WILL BE LIKE MAHOMES NEXT YEAR. So much of sports is wide-sweeping generalizations and overreactions, which I’d like to jump in front of right now. Patrick Mahomes is a stone-cold one-of-a-kind alien freak, and to put those expectations on Lance is insane and unfair to a player who will most likely be the youngest starting quarterback in the league next year.

However, in the minds of gamblers, it’s hard to ignore how these two situations are eerily similar, and quite honestly, Lance doesn’t necessarily need to be as earth-scorchingly phenomenal as Mahomes was in his first season to win the hardware. The QB MVP bias is well documented, and the scale tips towards those on higher-seeded playoff teams. Just consider that seven of the last ten winners were from a number one seeded team, two were from the two seed, and the other was Adrian Peterson.

What this all really comes down to is those people out there holding Trey Lance slips are wagering on the idea that under Shanahan and with some help from Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, etc. that he elevates the team back to 2019 levels of success while opening the passing attack and taking better care of the ball.

If for every dollar you put down, you receive 75 in return, I’d imagine most of you reading right now could talk yourselves into that reality, and if I’m right, I’d strike soon. The odds on Mahomes plummeted from +10000 in the offseason to +3300 by Week 1 before finishing up as a -230 favorite.