NFL Super Bowl MVP betting: Is there value in fading the quarterbacks?
I've suffered some brutal bad beats in my betting career. You don't know pain until you've watched Takeru Kobayashi blow a two hot dog lead in the final seconds of the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest. Two hundred and fifty bucks, gone, just because some guy doesn't have enough dog in him.
Have you ever wagered on a college football team that goes into halftime with a 28-7 lead, you and your buddies have the entire bar chanting "lock it up," they end up losing 35-31, and then two weeks later a report comes out stating that team is under investigation for point-shaving? The state of Hawaii owes me and my crew an all-inclusive two-week vacation, as far as I'm concerned.
One year later, I'm at a poker game and we all bet on Iona to cover +2 against BYU in the 2012 NCAA tournament. The Gaels go up 25 points in the first half and I announce to the room that they don't have to worry about their bets any more because I'm magnanimously locking it up. Iona still holds the record for the biggest blown lead in the NCAA tourney and I'm still stuck with the nickname "Iona Greg."
If you bet for any length of time, you're going to experience bad beats and you'll eventually learn to stop saying, "lock it up." One of the things you can control is whether you place bets that are mathematically illogical and have you drawing thin before the event even kicks off. That brings us to the question of who you should place your money on when you're betting Super Bowl MVP at BetMGM.
QB or not QB?
BetMGM offers multiple futures and props for Super Bowl MVP. You can pick from a list of players you think will win, you can wager on which specific position will take home the Pete Rozelle Trophy, or you can simply bet on whether it will be a quarterback or a non-quarterback.
Let's first focus on the latter. The price is -650 for a QB to be named Super Bowl MVP and +400 for any other position to win the award. In order to be a profitable wager, the QB side needs to win 86.7% of the time, and the non-QB side needs to win at a rate anywhere north of 20%.
Out of 56 Super Bowls, a QB has been named MVP 31 times (55.4%). Even as we enter an era of the NFL where quarterbacks are virtual locks to win the regular season MVP, only six of the last 10 Super Bowl MVPs have been signal-callers. That's far below the 86.7% we're looking for.
But it's a different case with Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts, right? Few teams rely on their quarterbacks more than the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles.
I went back and logged the MVPs for each of the Chiefs' and Eagles' victories this season (only one player has ever won Super Bowl MVP in a losing effort). Both quarterbacks have won 16 games, including the playoffs. You could make a case for Hurts winning MVP honors in 11 or 12 of those. For Mahomes, its 10-11. That's a range of 62.5% to 75%. The value in this prop clearly lies in a non-QB winning the award.
Betting on specific players
If you don't already have a futures bet on Hurts (+110) or Mahomes (+125) to win Super Bowl MVP, you're too late. Their implied odds of securing the MVP trophy are 47.6% for Hurts and 44.4% for Mahomes. If we factor in the implied odds for each team's moneyline, as well as the percentage of the quarterbacks' MVP performances in games this season, we get 41.7% for Hurts and 35.2% for Mahomes. You'd be much better off just betting the moneyline of whichever team you think will win the Super Bowl.
I'm going with the Eagles moneyline, lock it up.
Stats provided by Pro Football Reference.