Super Bowl 2023: Bettor places big wager on Eagles long shot Kenneth Gainwell to win MVP

One bettor is looking down the Philadelphia Eagles’ depth chart for a potential Super Bowl MVP long shot.

According to BetMGM, a bettor in Michigan wagered $2,500 on Eagles running back Kenneth Gainwell to win Super Bowl MVP on Sunday. Gainwell is listed at +12500 to win the award, meaning the payout would be $312,500 if it came to fruition.

Gainwell has had a strong postseason splitting carries with Miles Sanders. While Gainwell rushed for only 240 yards in the regular season (compared to Sanders’ 1,269), Gainwell has outgained Sanders 160 yards to 132 in Philadelphia’s two playoff games.

Gainwell also has only two fewer carries (26) than Sanders (28) and has caught three of five targets for 35 yards. Sanders has been targeted just once out of the backfield — a 3-yard reception in the NFC championship win over the San Francisco 49ers.

Kenneth Gainwell is a long shot for a reason

Gainwell has played well, but has it really been a true split backfield approach for the Eagles?

Sanders had 17 carries in the divisional round win over the New York Giants — a 38-7 blowout — and 13 of them came in the first half. Five of Gainwell’s 12 carries came in the first half.

The Eagles had a 28-0 halftime lead and were content to mainly run out the clock in the second half while nursing a big lead. Sanders had four second-half carries. Gainwell had nine, including a 35-yard touchdown in the final two minutes.

In the NFC championship versus the 49ers, the splits were similar. Sanders had 10 carries in the first half while Gainwell had three rushing attempts and two targets. In the second half, with the Eagles up 28-7 and the 49ers without a healthy quarterback, Gainwell had 11 carries while Sanders was put in bubble wrap and touched the ball just once.

Philadelphia Eagles running back Kenneth Gainwell in action during the NFC Championship NFL football game on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Eagles running back Kenneth Gainwell has been Philadelphia's closer in the playoffs. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

And when you look at the regular season as a whole, the carry distribution for the Eagles weighs significantly in Sanders’ favor. He had 259 attempts, more than Gainwell (53) and Boston Scott (54) combined.

Could Gainwell play a big role in the Super Bowl? The Eagles have so many other weapons, and that includes quarterback Jalen Hurts’ running ability. Hurts had 760 yards and 13 touchdowns on 165 rushes during the regular season. The Eagles also have two star wide receivers — A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith — and an excellent tight end in Dallas Goedert.

Gainwell, who doesn’t even play special teams (Scott is the kickoff returner) is the very definition of a long shot. There are only so many touches to go around.

Who are favorites to win Super Bowl MVP?

Unsurprisingly, the two quarterbacks are the favorites to win Super Bowl MVP. Hurts and Patrick Mahomes are both listed at +135 at BetMGM. A quarterback has won the Super Bowl MVP 31 times, including in four of the past six games. Mahomes himself won it in Super Bowl LIV when the Chiefs beat the San Francisco 49ers.

Behind those two on the odds board are Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (+1100) and Eagles receiver A.J. Brown (+1400). Next, Eagles receiver DeVonta Smith, Sanders and Eagles edge rusher Haason Reddick are all listed at +3000.

Mahomes (10.9%), Kelce (10.8%) and Hurts (10.4%) have received the most MVP bets at BetMGM. Mahomes has received 21.9% of the money with Hurts next at 16.1%.

Here’s a more complete look at the Super Bowl MVP odds board at BetMGM: