January 31, 2020 - by Jason Lisk
Patrick Mahomes is the favorite to win Super Bowl MVP (Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire)
When it comes to Super Bowl MVP odds, you have Patrick Mahomes at the top of the list, and then everyone else. Not surprisingly, last year’s NFL MVP is the clear favorite in the betting markets to be the MVP of Super Bowl 54.
So far in the 2020 NFL playoffs, Mahomes has accounted for 9 touchdowns as the Chiefs have twice stormed back from double-digit deficits to win comfortably.
But just because Mahomes is the most likely Super Bowl MVP doesn’t necessarily make him the best betting option. You also have to account for the payout odds, factoring in both the risk and the potential reward.
(By the way, if you’re interested in other props, make sure to check out our analysis of three other Super Bowl prop bets.)
As of Thursday afternoon, here are the 15 players with the shortest Super Bowl 54 MVP Odds (meaning that they have the lowest payouts if they win), according to PointsBet online sportsbook (see New Jersey offer).
|Patrick Mahomes||Kansas City||+100|
|Jimmy Garoppolo||San Francisco||+210|
|Raheem Mostert||San Francisco||+500|
|Tyreek Hill||Kansas City||+1600|
|Travis Kelce||Kansas City||+1800|
|Damien Williams||Kansas City||+1800|
|George Kittle||San Francisco||+2200|
|Nick Bosa||San Francisco||+3000|
|Richard Sherman||San Francisco||+3000|
|Tevin Coleman||San Francisco||+3300|
|Deebo Samuel||San Francisco||+3500|
|Tyrann Mathieu||Kansas City||+4000|
|Mecole Hardman||Kansas City||+4000|
|Sammy Watkins||Kansas City||+5000|
|Arik Armstead||San Francisco||+5000|
Jimmy Garoppolo, the 49ers quarterback, makes sense as the second biggest favorite, as quarterbacks have won the majority of MVP awards. After that, running back Raheem Mostert for San Francisco and wide receiver Tyreek Hill of Kansas City are given the best odds.
Let’s explain what these odds mean. For a bet on Mahomes, it’s simple. The +100 means you would win $100 if you risked $100. That means to be worth the risk of betting it, you would have to think that Mahomes has more than a 50% chance to win MVP. For Mostert, the +500 means you would win $500 if you risked $100.
The break-even point (with the “vigorish” or rake baked in) for Mostert would be if you think he has at least a 16.7% chance of winning MVP ($100 divided by $600, which is the $500 for winning + $100 you risked).
Patrick Mahomes is the clear MVP favorite, at even odds (+100). But the Chiefs are only a slight favorite to win Super Bowl 54, with the money line currently at -125 for Kansas City to win. (That means you would need to risk $125 to win $100 on a bet for the Chiefs to win the game.)
The last (and only) Super Bowl MVP on a losing team was Chuck Howley of the Dallas Cowboys back in Super Bowl V. Patrick Mahomes could become the second player to do so, but history has shown the odds of that are slim. So there’s not a ton of difference in the payout odds for a Chiefs’ victory (where you cash if anyone else on KC also wins MVP) compared to a Mahomes MVP win.
If Mahomes wins MVP, it’s most likely because (a) Kansas City won, and (b) he played well, because a good performance is usually necessary for a victory.
So one alternative approach to betting Mahomes as MVP could be to take a prop bet on Mahomes with similar payout odds (e.g. for him to account for 3+ total touchdowns, which was paying -105, or if you want even more risk/reward, 4+ total touchdowns, which was paying +260). If Mahomes hits those kind of statistical milestones, he likely puts up an MVP performance, but at least you aren’t still at the mercy of the Chiefs losing a shootout or the voters selecting a Chiefs teammate for MVP because of one key play.
San Francisco running back Raheem Mostert, coming off his 220 rushing yards in the NFC Championship, is the third most likely player to win MVP according to the betting odds — in other words, he has the third lowest payout if he wins.
In San Francisco’s most recent game (the conference championship against the Packers), Mostert had the first 200-yard rushing performance in a playoff game since Ryan Grant did it in 2008 against Seattle. Mostert’s 220 yards were the most in a playoff game since Eric Dickerson ran for 248 yards against Dallas in January of 1986.
One fact to consider before betting this prop is that Denver’s Terrell Davis was the last running back to win Super Bowl MVP … and that was 22 years ago. Davis was also the last running back to top 150 rushing yards and score multiple touchdowns in the same Super Bowl. Only two backs have even topped the 100-yard mark in the last ten Super Bowls: Frank Gore in 2013 (110 yards) and Marshawn Lynch in 2015 (102 yards).
There is precedent for a non-QB, non-RB to win Super Bowl MVP. New England wide receiver Julian Edelman won Super Bowl MVP last year, becoming the fourth wide receiver the last 15 years to do so. (Santonio Holmes, Hines Ward, and Deion Branch were the others.)
In addition, two defensive players, Von Miller of Denver and Malcolm Smith of Seattle, have won the award in the last six Super Bowls. Four defenders have been named Super Bowl MVP in the last 20 years.
If you don’t want to try to pick “a needle in a haystack” by betting on a specific defender or wide receiver, you could make a wager on picking the correct position of the MVP. As of writing, here were odds you could make a wager to predict the position played by the MVP, at PointsBet:
Twenty per cent of the last 20 MVPs have been from the defensive side, and that is roughly in line with all-time historical trends, where 10 Super Bowl MVPs have played defense.
While there are some future Hall of Famers (Ray Lewis and Von Miller recently) who were the stars of their units, other players like Malcolm Smith of Seattle, Dexter Jackson of Tampa Bay, and Larry Brown of Dallas also won the award. Going in to those respective Super Bowls, it’s doubtful anyone would have claimed Smith, Jackson, or Brown to be the most likely defenders to win MVP. So taking a chance on something like a Defensive Player winning at +700 odds (where the break-even point is at 12.5% chance of winning) would get you coverage of both the expected stars and the potential surprise performances.
Patrick Mahomes is the clear leader in terms of odds to win Super Bowl MVP. But because the Chiefs are a very small favorite (which could change by kickoff) and because the MVP almost universally comes from the winning team, there may not be much value in betting him.
Instead, you could consider making other, less popular types of prop wagers on Mahomes that are likely to involve paying less rake to the sportsbook, but would still reflect (and likely win in the case of) an MVP-level Mahomes performance.
Meanwhile, while each individual is a long shot, recent history has shown the two most frequent positions after quarterback to win a Super Bowl MVP are defensive players and wide receivers.
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