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Time to pay attention to Tua Tagovailoa

Does Tua Tagovailoa have your attention yet?

The Dolphins quarterback put the league on notice with one of the best comebacks in NFL history on Sunday, erasing a 21-point deficit in the fourth quarter to lead the Dolphins to a thrilling 42-38 road win over the Ravens.

He finished with 469 yards and six touchdowns – one shy of the all-time single-game record – and became just the fifth NFL quarterback ever to throw four passing touchdowns in the fourth quarter. He also tied the franchise record for passing TDs, previously set by Hall of Fame passers Bob Griese (1977) and Dan Marino (1986).

Naturally, the betting market was quick to react to Tagovailoa’s historic day, pricing the third-year passer at 16/1 at BetMGM to win this year’s MVP award as of Tuesday evening. That ranks sixth on the board, just ahead of three-time winner Tom Brady (18/1) and two-time reigning winner Aaron Rodgers (20/1).

Just a week ago, Tagovailoa was still dealing as a 40/1 long shot, down from 50/1 entering the season and as high as 150/1 earlier this summer. Is this jump for real? And is there still value on Miami’s ascending star?


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2022 NFL MVP betting odds ahead of Week 3 (via BetMGM)

Josh Allen +300
Patrick Mahomes +450
Justin Herbert +1000
Jalen Hurts +1000
Lamar Jackson +1100
Tua Tagovailoa +1600
Tom Brady +1800
Aaron Rodgers +2000
Joe Burrow +2200
Kyler Murray +2500
Russell Wilson +2500
Matthew Stafford +3000
Derek Carr +4000
Kirk Cousins +4000
Jimmy Garoppolo +5000
Trevor Lawrence +6600
Justin Jefferson +6600
Derrick Henry +8000
Cooper Kupp +8000
Mac Jones +8000
Daniel Jones +8000

Tua Tagovailoa’s case to win 2022 NFL MVP

Entering this season, it felt like the entire betting market had bailed on Tagovailoa, who entered his third year as an MVP long shot (50/1) after a rocky start to his pro career. But the evidence of a potential breakout was clear to see.

The former Alabama star always has had the talent to produce at an elite level, as evidenced by Miami taking him sixth overall in 2020 despite a severe hip injury that limited him in his rookie season. A year later, he struggled in his first year as a full-time starter thanks to an uninspiring supporting cast, a dreadful offensive line, and serious lack of support from his coaching staff.

That all changed this summer. The Dolphins hired innovative young coach Mike McDaniel, whose offensive creativity was central to San Francisco’s success in recent years despite substandard QB play. They signed All-Pro left tackle Terron Armstead and traded five draft picks for blazing wideout Tyreek Hill, who pairs with Jaylen Waddle for arguably the best receiving duo in the league.

Finally, one of the best quarterback prospects in recent memory was surrounded with the talent and coaching to showcase his immense skill set. And it hasn’t taken long to see the results.

Through two weeks, Tagovailoa leads the NFL in passing yards (739) and touchdowns (7) and ranks second in QBR (87.1). After years of being criticized for his arm strength, he ranks third in yards per attempt (8.9) and leads the league in air yards (430), and he paces the field in passing attempts that traveled at least 30 yards (5), 40 yards (4), and 50 yards (2).

The third-year star has settled into an ideal role as the “point guard” for this offense, already having completed 59 passes to 10 different receivers. McDaniel’s scheme is getting the most out of Hill (284 yards) and Waddle (240), who are both simply too fast to contain with single coverage, and Tagovailoa is both smart enough and accurate enough to make defenses pay for doubling either one.

We saw it all on display on Sunday, when Tagovailoa picked apart the soft coverage for a Ravens defense that was terrified to get beat deep – and continually got beat deep, anyway. And while throwing six TDs isn’t exactly a first-class ticket to winning MVP, it sure helps. Six of the last 20 players to throw for six touchdowns in a game won the award that season, and it’s a list you’re familiar with: Peyton Manning (2003, 2004, 2013), Tom Brady (2007), Aaron Rodgers (2014), and Patrick Mahomes (2018).

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Finally, Tagovailoa looks like an actualized version of the superstar prospect that came out of Alabama in 2020. He’ll be tested in a big way this week against the division rival Bills and MVP favorite Josh Allen, who is coming off a pair of electric performances in prime time. It’s an incredible opportunity for Tagovailoa to validate his MVP credentials, or to be humbled after a stellar start to the McDaniel era.

Either way, all eyes will be on the Dolphins passer – finally – after one of the best performances in NFL history. And if last week was any indication, he’s ready for the spotlight.

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