When it comes to wagering on Super Bowl MVPs, there is no secret that the voting is biased towards certain positions. Over the last 53 Super Bowls, the MVP has been awarded to the following positions: 29 quarterbacks, nine defensive players, seven running backs, seven wide receivers, and one kick returner. In the last ten years alone, seven quarterbacks have won MVP. Just once has the MVP gone to a player on a losing team. Since more than half of the awards have gone to quarterbacks, it may be wise to identify which team you think will be victorious and bet on that team’s quarterback. However, expect to receive much smaller odds compared to other positions.
Here are the best bets to take home the Super Bowl MVP Award. (odds courtesy of FanDuel)
Jimmy Garoppolo (+250)
Critics of this pick will say that Garoppolo has only attempted 27 passes combined in the last two playoff games. If the 49ers use the formula that got them here, with a physical running game to dominate time of possession, then Garoppolo will not have much of a chance to pad his stats. However, predicted game flow suggests that Garoppolo will have to throw in this game. The Chiefs possess such a quick-strike ability and seem likely to score their share of points. While the 49ers would prefer not to get into a shootout, the fact remains this is likely to be a high scoring game. If the Chiefs get up early, the 49ers will not be able to simply lean on their running game to bleed clock and limit possessions.
There was another team that played the Chiefs that planned on using that same mentality. However, when the Titans found themselves down, Ryan Tannehill had no choice but to throw the ball. Kansas City did a great job bottling up Derrick Henry, limiting him to 69 yards on 19 carries. If the Chiefs rush defense can be that productive again, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan will have no choice but to resort to the passing game with Garoppolo. Even if the 49ers are having success on the ground, Shanahan tends to employ the “hot hand” approach. Thus, carries may be evenly split amongst their three running backs, not allowing anyone to assert themselves more than the others. In a game that figures to be high scoring and one I like the 49ers to win, Garoppolo’s odds of +250 are welcomed.
Travis Kelce (+2200)
In case the Chiefs are victorious, it would be wise to have something invested on their side. This pick certainly goes against history in that no tight end has ever won Super Bowl MVP. However, in a game that features the two best tight ends in the league, this seems like a year to buck that trend. For Kelce to win the award over Patrick Mahomes, he would have to do something incredible. If Mahomes threw for three touchdowns, Kelce would likely have to have at least two of them. However, it is possible the 49ers defense forces Mahomes into a bad game and Kelce is still productive.
The 49ers led the league in the regular season with just 169.2 passing yards per game allowed. If Mahomes struggles, perhaps all it would take for Kelce to win MVP is the game-winning touchdown. It is not a smart investment to bet on both quarterbacks since that is not maximizing returns. However, +2200 for a talent like Kelce is enticing. I am sure historians are itching to be able to give their first Super Bowl MVP award to a tight end, and there haven’t been many better than Kelce.
Nick Bosa (+3000)
There have been more defensive players to win Super Bowl MVP than running backs or wide receivers. Thus, it is not exactly reaching to place a wager on a defensive player. In this game, there is not anyone more likely to have an impact than Nick Bosa. Though just a rookie, he was tied for fifth in the NFL in tackles for loss. He was named NFC Defensive Player of the Month for October. In addition, he was named NFC defensive player of the week twice.
San Francisco is likely to scheme to try and get pressure on Patrick Mahomes with their front four. Given how much Chiefs coach Andy Reid likes to throw the ball, Bosa will have his opportunities for big plays. Bosa had two sacks in the first playoff game against the Vikings and added another against Green Bay. It would likely take a turnover forced or a defensive touchdown to earn MVP votes. Given how relentless Bosa is in the pass rush, he is as likely as any defensive player to win MVP honors.