Who will win Super Bowl MVP? Here are 3 non-QBs worth considering
The party has officially begun in Glendale, Arizona. Super Bowl Opening Night kicked things off as the media got their first crack at the star players from each team. Five days from now, one of those players will be voted the Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl LVII. Once the game's outcome is determined, everyone's attention will shift immediately to who should get the award. We will start campaigning to the person sitting next to us, knowing full well the fate of tickets are in the hands of people who can't hear a word we are saying. Every bettor wants to end the night a winner, and the MVP award is our last chance of the season.
Before the conference championship games, I got a head start by recommending a few players at some advantageous prices. Those numbers are no longer available, and they aren't coming back. However, the good news is that there is still plenty of opportunity on the board at BetMGM. Let's start with the most important position on the field and work our way down to the juiciest of long shots.
Should you bet on a quarterback?
Jalen Hurts and Patrick Mahomes are priced exactly the same at +135 at BetMGM, despite the Eagles being slight favorites in the game. If you like Kansas City, Mahomes makes a lot of sense. Overcoming the Eagles' pass rush and carving up the No. 1 pass defense on a bad ankle sounds like a pretty good MVP story if the Chiefs get the right ending. The only concern is that he is likely to lean on Travis Kelce for much of that production. I detailed why I think Kelce was a good target at +2500, and is still your best bet at +1100 for any Kansas City player not named Patrick Mahomes.
On the other hand, Jalen Hurts has more high-profile players around him, making him less attractive at this price. His mobility is the X-factor in a game where I expect the Eagles to have a lot of success on the ground.
As you can probably tell, I am not completely sold on a QB taking home the award. It's been a 60/40 split for QBs over the past 10 years, and there is more value this year on some other positional players. If you agree, you can always bet the field to win the award. BetMGM currently has the QB to win at -450, with the field at +300 (implied odds of 25%). So keep that in your back pocket, in case you don't feel strong about these three Eagles players.
A.J. Brown +1400
I love A.J. Brown to have a monster game. I bet him at 35-1, but I would still fire on this price if I were entering the market. Not only does Kansas City rank 31st in covering opponents' WR1, but it's also likely to blitz and let its corners play press coverage. That's just asking to get cooked against the 6-foot-1 227-pound Brown, who's 4.5 yards per route run against press coverage is the highest mark from all wideouts since 2016. DeVonta Smith has stepped up recently, but the Chiefs defense is eighth best at limiting explosive pass plays and 31st at defending the pass in the middle of the field. It's the perfect recipe for the physical Brown to beat press coverage, and play catch and run with Jalen Hurts on crossing routes. Good luck tackling that man in the open field. Brown has the best chance to win the award over Hurts, but the player I will talk about next may have the best value at the current odds.
Miles Sanders +3000
Overthinking is a bettor's biggest enemy. Philadelphia's most significant advantage is its offensive line against the Chiefs' poor run defense. Despite Kenneth Gainwell's emergence late in the games, Sanders is the clear No. 1 and will be the main beneficiary of the Eagles' success on the ground. Kansas City's defense is 22nd in run EPA allowed, and is one of the worst defenses at contacting opposing rushers at or before the line of scrimmage. Sanders will have clear lanes to gash the Chiefs defense, and could very easily break the 100-yard mark as the focal point of Philadelphia's offense. At 30 to 1, he is the most valuable non-quarterback on the board.
Fletcher Cox +20000
Here comes the longshot. If a defensive player is going to win the award, you would have to assume that Philadelphia's pass rush wrecks Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense. The betting market has hammered Haason Reddick's odds down to +3000. If we don't want to bet a bad number on Reddick, then who? The Chiefs' weakest links are their tackles. Pressure will be coming from the edge. When Mahomes dips out of the pocket, it's a real possibility he is stepping into two of the best interior defensive tackles, Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave, who combined for 20 sacks this season. Defensive players are always long shots, so keep in mind the implied probability is 0.5% for a reason. But, if you are determined to take a chance on a defensive player, I'd rather go further down the board with a player like Cox and take a chance he steals the show at 200 to 1.
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