Does it make sense to bet on the MVP instead of his team to win?
In 56 previous Super Bowls, the quarterback of the winning team has won the Super Bowl MVP award 31 times. The only MVP to win the award on the losing team was linebacker Chuck Howley in Super Bowl V for the Dallas Cowboys against the Baltimore Colts.
We’ve seen a greater spread of MVP winners recently, as only five of the last nine Super Bowl MVPs have been quarterbacks (Tom Brady was three of them), but 15 of the last 24 have been quarterbacks. It may not be a quarterback-driven award to the same level, but a running back has not won the award since 1998 (Terrell Davis) and only five wide receivers have won in that span.
Let’s compare and contrast the Super Bowl odds and the Super Bowl MVP odds for the quarterbacks from DraftKings Sportsbook.
Kansas City Chiefs
Chiefs +300 vs. Patrick Mahomes +350
Mahomes won the MVP at Super Bowl LIV, an award that probably should have gone to Damien Williams, but running backs don’t really get a lot of consideration. When you look at the Chiefs, a team that went 14-3 and had the best offense in the NFL, it is Mahomes, Travis Kelce and then everybody else.
For Kansas City to win the Super Bowl, it sure looks like Mahomes would have to be the MVP. There’s always a chance that Kelce gets it, but he’d be the first tight end ever to win the award. Anybody else would be getting thrown the ball by Mahomes and doesn’t carry a lot of name value. Isiah Pacheco averages 10 carries per game and has played fewer than 50% of the snaps each of the last six weeks.
To me, this is a scenario where if you like the Chiefs, Mahomes at +350 is worth the risk of somebody else winning the award.
Bills +350 vs. Josh Allen +450
Allen had a monster regular season, accumulating 5,045 total yards as a passer and a runner. We know that Allen’s legs are a huge part of Buffalo’s offensive strategy and explosiveness. He had 124 carries as the second-leading rusher in both attempts and yards. When you talk about essentially a dual-threat quarterback like that, how can you envision a Bills Super Bowl win in which Allen isn’t the most valuable player on the field?
Obviously, your mind gravitates to Stefon Diggs, who caught 108 passes and had 11 touchdowns. Cooper Kupp won last year’s MVP because Matthew Stafford threw two interceptions and Kupp had the game-winning score, along with the extra attention paid to him when Odell Beckham Jr. went out. Julian Edelman won in Super Bowl LIII because it was a 13-3 game and Tom Brady didn’t have a touchdown pass, while Edelman had 10 catches for 141 yards.
Ben Roethlisberger was 9-of-21 for 123 yards with zero touchdowns and two interceptions in Super Bowl XL. Santonio Holmes had one of the best touchdown catches ever to win Super Bowl XLIII, along with 131 yards receiving. It takes a lot for a wide receiver to win. A Buffalo running back has no shot. The only fear, if the Bills win, is a defensive player, but Allen has to be “the guy” for the Bills to end their Super Bowl drought, so if you like Buffalo, Allen at +450 yields more value.
San Francisco 49ers
49ers +450 vs. Brock Purdy +750
This is where it gets interesting. Purdy has been nothing short of spectacular in his young NFL career, but he’s also faced some cupcake defenses. There is a legitimate path in which the 49ers win with the run and with defense, which is something I’d be less inclined to say about the Bills or Chiefs.
Christian McCaffrey is +1400. Because he’s a dual-threat running back who also excels as a receiver, there is a path to him winning the award to break the RB curse. He’s an option, and the only running back I believe has a chance to win.
Deebo Samuel is +3000. What he’s able to do as a versatile player that can get a lot of touches and break off explosive plays provides a ton of intrigue. That being said, Deebo has only averaged 7.5 touches per game. McCaffrey, meanwhile, has averaged 20.2. That’s a limited sample size for Deebo to make a big impact.
Also, this is one of the teams where a defensive player to win MVP isn’t crazy at all. If you like the Niners, even though we have a big spread between their futures odds and Purdy’s MVP odds, I’d be too scared to gamble on the QB.
Eagles +500 vs. Jalen Hurts +600
This is another interesting one because Hurts fits a similar mold as Allen in that he’s a dual-threat guy whose team is at its best when the quarterback’s legs are involved. On the other hand, it sure seems like Hurts is playing at less than 100%. Like the 49ers, this is a team that shares the ball. Miles Sanders had 259 carries. Three players had at least 55 receptions and Dallas Goedert would’ve had more had he not missed five games.
However, one wrinkle here is that Hurts was on track to be the regular season NFL MVP had he not gotten hurt. If the voters have choices in the Super Bowl, would they throw him the biggest bone and make up for it with a Super Bowl MVP award?
I tend to lean towards Hurts being the best choice if the Eagles win the Super Bowl, even though they had four guys with 11 or more sacks and also had 27 takeaways, so a defensive standout isn’t out of the realm of possibility. His health is the obvious question, but if he looks good against the Giants, how far does his price fall in this market? There is a lot of risk here, but also a decent reward.
Cowboys +800 vs. Dak Prescott +1000
You probably won’t find a lot of people eager to take the Cowboys over both the Eagles and 49ers. In fact, the best option here is clearly a moneyline rollover (aka rolling parlay) if you like Dallas to win it all. The Cowboys are as high as +175 this week. They’d likely be around the same next week and then a dog to the Chiefs or Bills in the Super Bowl. I would guess maybe Bengals -1 in a hypothetical Super Bowl matchup.
If we assume +175 (49ers), +150 (Eagles), and then +150 against the Bills/Chiefs and -105 against the Bengals, you’re looking at roughly 13/1 on the low end and 17/1 on the high end with a moneyline rollover (bet your wager + win amount on each successive game). So, to me, there’s no value in anything other than that with the Cowboys.
If Prescott plays as he did against the Bucs, he has a great shot. If he doesn’t, the Cowboys aren’t winning the Super Bowl. Whether or not that means he’ll win the MVP is a fair question, but I think Dallas is one of the hardest teams to gauge left in the postseason.
Bengals +800 vs. Joe Burrow +800
Welp, not much to say here, as both options are the exact same. Well, I take that back. The Bengals are once again a way better option as a rolling parlay, as they’re a decent underdog this week and would be an underdog again next week if the Chiefs beat the Jaguars. In fact, at +200 this week, anything higher than +166 against the Chiefs already yields a higher return than +800 in a moneyline parlay to win the AFC.
If the Bengals got there, they have five guys that caught at least 50 passes. They really share the ball well. I think the odds of it being Burrow would be quite high if Cincinnati got to the Super Bowl, but that moneyline parlay is a much better use of your investment.
New York Giants
Giants +2500 vs. Daniel Jones +3500
The moneyline parlay very much applies here as well, but for the sake of argument, let’s talk about Daniel Jones. He has only put up more than 228 yards in three games this season, though one of them was the game of his life against the Vikings. He’s a running threat, which would certainly help his case.
For all the receptions that Saquon Barkley had (57 on 76 targets), he never had a receiving touchdown. Barkley only had two targets in the red zone during the regular season and only had four 100-yard games on the ground. The +6000 price may be attractive, but he doesn’t really fit the mold of being the running back that could break a 25-year drought.
By default, I’d have to look at Jones, but I don’t think the Giants win this weekend anyway.
Jaguars +3500 vs. Trevor Lawrence +3500
Hmmm. This is an interesting set of odds, eh? The moneyline parlay theory very much applies here as well, especially with the Jaguars being such a big underdog this week. Lawrence had a ghastly first half last week with four interceptions, but the team never panicked and eventually came from behind to win. Given that Lawrence had a 15/2 TD/INT ratio over his last nine regular season starts, we know he can take care of the ball.
That’s important because we’ve seen quarterbacks get punished for having a 3/2 TD/INT ratio or something like that in the past. Having a pedestrian stat line without turnovers can sometimes be enough. Christian Kirk and Zay Jones would likely cannibalize each other with targets and receptions. Travis Etienne is averaging 17 touches per game and +13000 probably looks exciting, but I wouldn’t go that route. Kirk is +25000 and Jones is +40000 if one really had a monster game.
The Jaguars are highly unlikely to go that far anyway, so I’m not sure it matters, but there aren’t many viable candidates.
To sum it all up, don’t just default to the futures price. Look for alternative betting options like the awards market or moneyline parlays.