Super Bowl LIV between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers is just around the corner, and sportsbooks offer a wide variety of ways you can bet on the game. Outside of typical football bets like the points spread, money line, or totals bets, the Super Bowl always has a large slate of proposition wagers that bettors can make.
Back and better than ever ?
— Hard Rock Stadium (@HardRockStadium) January 23, 2020
One of the most popular NFL prop bets, as they are known in the industry, is betting on which player will win the Super Bowl MVP award. In this article, we will give a brief history of the award, breakdown the favorites to win the MVP award this year, give you a couple of long shots and value plays that could win if things break their way. Let’s get started!
Super Bowl MVP Award
When you are trying to handicap the field for an award such as this, the first thing you need to look at is which type of players typically win. Historically, quarterbacks have dominated the MVP award, winning twenty-nine times in the awards fifty-three-year history, which is nearly 55% of the time. Going back to the turn of the century, QBs have won twelve out of the last twenty awards, so the trend of signal-callers winning is showing no signs of slowing down.
Outside of quarterbacks, wide receivers and running backs are tied as the next most likely position to pick up the prestigious honor, both having seven winners. But when you look at recent history, running backs seems to no longer be considered as they haven’t won the award since Terrell Davis in 1998. Wide receivers are trending upwards as they have won four times in the last fifteen years, including Julian Edelman winning last season.
Julian Edelman. 3x Super Bowl champion. 2019 Super Bowl MVP. pic.twitter.com/tegBk1mONs
— ESPN (@espn) February 4, 2019
We talked about the position of players that win, but the strongest trend when it comes to predicting who will win, is that the player is nearly always on the team that wins the Super Bowl. Only one time in the award’s history has a player from the losing team won the MVP, and that came way back in 1971 when Dallas Cowboys linebacker Chuck Howley won the award despite the Cowboys losing the game to the Baltimore Colts.
If you want to make a rash generalization to give you an idea of where to bet, taking the QB of the team that you expect to win the game is going to make you a winner more often than not. Now that we have a good idea of who wins, we will dive into this year’s odds to take home the Pete Rozelle Trophy.
2020 Super Bowl MVP Odds
When I first glanced at this list, it seemed pretty straight forward. The QBs were deservingly the favorites with Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes, the prohibitive favorite, and 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo not far behind. But when I took a little bit of a closer look, I was a bit surprised to see some of the other numbers.
Travis Kelce as the eighth favorite? LeSean McCoy, a guy that hasn’t gotten a single touch in the postseason, is on the list? And he has the same odds as the kickers from both teams, that could very well be asked to come on late to win the game with a field goal as time expires? The more I look at these odds, the more value that I find.
In this first section, I am going to break down the favorites. Clearly, we have Mahomes and Jimmy G in that top tier, but I will also add 49ers running back Raheem Mostert as the third favorite at +650.
Mahomes is a recent NFL MVP award winner, and after spending much of the season struggling with various injuries, he looks healthy now and has been lights out in the playoffs. Through two playoff games, Mahomes is averaging over 300 passing yards a game and has eight passing touchdowns and no interceptions. He has also added a wrinkle we haven’t seen much of this year, as he has rushed for over a hundred combined yards in those two games, including a rushing TD.
Jimmy G has spent the majority of this postseason handing the ball off to the Niners trio of running backs Raheem Mostert, Matt Breida, and Tevin Coleman. San Francisco has rushed for far more yards than they have passed for in this postseason as they have focused on pounding the ball and eating up the clock. But don’t let that fool you into thinking Garoppolo can’t throw the ball if he needs to. He had three games this year with four passing TDs and five times he threw for at least 275 passing yards in a single game.
Not many people outside of the Bay Area knew the name Raheem Mostert before the journeyman back exploded onto the national scene in the NFC Championship game with a performance for the ages. Against the Packers, Mostert rushed for 220 yards and four, yes four, scores. It was a performance that was impossible to predict as he rushed for over a hundred yards in a game just one time all season, despite playing in fifteen regular-season games. Even after he took over as the lead back for SF in week thirteen, he had fewer than 70 yards in five of those six games.
So, where is the value here? It isn’t an overly sexy pick, but Mahomes is the play here. He has by far the highest ceiling of any player in this game and could break any, and all, single-game Super Bowl passing records if he plays his best game. The 49ers have an elite passing defense, they finished number one in the NFL against the pass in the regular season, but I still expect Mahomes to have a lot of success.
Jimmy G will be better than he has been of late as he should take advantage of the weak Chiefs passing defense, but at the current price, I don’t think he shows much value. At the end of the day, the 49ers are built on running the football, and the only way they will throw it enough to give Garoppolo a realistic chance to win the award, would be in they are getting blown out, and we all know that for a player to win, his team needs to win the game. Pass on Garoppolo.
After being cut by 6 teams, @RMos_8Ball has had quite the journey in the league.
— NFL Films (@NFLFilms) January 24, 2020
As far as Mostert goes, I love this guy, and he has a great back story. He was an undrafted free agent coming out of college, and the 49ers are his seventh NFL team. He never really caught on in the 49er’s backfield until this year and came out of nowhere late in the season to lead this team to the Super Bowl. But barring another completely fluky performance like he had in the NFC Championship game, this guy isn’t going to win the MVP award and shows very little value at the current price.
Middle Of The Pack
We talked about the favorites, now we are going to look at some of the players lower down the board that are providing some significant value.
Shockingly, a tight end has never won the Super Bowl MVP award. But this year we likely have the best tandem of tight ends in Super Bowl history with George Kittle and Travis Kelce being first and second, in the NFL in receiving yards for tight ends the last two seasons. Kittle has made some huge plays for the 49ers this season and led the team in both catches and receiving yards and was tied for the team lead in receiving scores.
Did the oddsmakers miss the Chiefs AFC Divisional round playoff game this year? Against the Texans, Kelce helped the Chiefs come back from a 24-0 deficit and finished his day with 12 catches for 134 and 3 scores. Similar to Kittle, Kelce led his team in catches and receiving yards. In the last two seasons, Kelce is averaging 100 catches and 1282 yards as Mahomes’ favorite target.
History isn’t kind to defensive players in general, as only ten defensive players have won the award. And of those winners, only two played defensive end. The last guy to win it as a defensive end was Richard Dent, for the 1985 Chicago Bears, a team that is widely considered as having the best defense of all time. But if a defensive player is going to win this award, Bosa is the guy to do it. The rookie pass rusher already has three sacks in this postseason and will be chasing Mahomes all around the field on Sunday. If he can catch him, he could be a dark horse for MVP.
Kelce and Kittle are my two favorite bets on the board. They are the number one target for both of their QBs, and both guys have come up huge recently when their teams needed them. This game will likely end up with a lot of passing, and if one of these guys dominates the targets like they have done all season long and finds the end zone a couple of times, they are going to win it. Remember, the fans help vote on this award and both of these guys are extremely popular and could easily be the first tight end to be awarded the MVP trophy.
In this final section, we will take a look at some of the longshots that could win the award. Many times, the best player on the winning team wins the award. We have seen this with guys like Montana, Brady, Rice, Elway, and Rodgers winning. But occasionally, it is a player that nobody saw coming that ends up taking home the honors. Past winners like Malcolm Smith, Deion Branch, and Dexter Jackson give us hope that one of these longshots could come in.
A kicker has never won this award, but both of these guys have big legs, and in a game that projects to be very competitive, if one of these guys ends up getting a shot to make a long field goal late, to win the game, they could take home the award. I wouldn’t make a big play here, but at 100-1, throwing a couple of bucks on either of these guys would be a fun sweat, that could end up being very profitable.
Sanders was added to this team early in the season in a trade with the Denver Broncos and has shown big-play ability out of the slot. Sanders has two 100+ yards games in his ten with the 49ers including a 7 catch 157-yard performance against the New Orleans Saints, in a game that gave the 49ers home-field advantage in the playoffs.
It is interesting to see Coleman fall so far down the board, considering he is just one game removed from a 105-rushing yard, two-touchdown performance, in the divisional round against the Minnesota Vikings. The conventional wisdom is that Mostert is the lead back now, but Coleman was the bell cow in the Niners backfield for much of the season, and if Mostert doesn’t have it going early, Coleman is going to get his fair share of touches. On a team that is run based, having a guy that could end up being their leading rusher is a nice value spot at this price.
Betting on the Super Bowl is as exciting as it gets, and making money doing it, makes it that much better! Here we have found some great value plays on betting odds to win the Super Bowl MVP, now go out there and make your bets. Thanks for reading and good luck betting on Super Bowl LIV!