Posted in: NFL
Few would disagree that Patrick Mahomes is shaping up to be the MVP for the 2018 NFL regular season. That’s usually what 50 passing touchdowns and over 5,000 passing yards will get you.
Winning the NFL MVP for an impressive 16-game stretch is certainly something every player strives for. It’s not everything, though.
Much more alluring is the possibility of securing the Super Bowl MVP hardware. Why? Because 99% of the time it means your team just won a championship and you were the main reason why.
Going into Super Bowl 53, the top NFL betting sites seem to have this thing pegged. New England is favored to win, and just as he has four times before, quarterback Tom Brady is propped up as the guy who will be named the game’s Most Valuable Player.
It’s hard to go against Brady. He and his Patriots brethren are incredibly experienced, they’ve won five times at this stage and they looked really good during the AFC playoffs.
You’re not getting a whole lot of value with Brady, though. He’s the runaway favorite to win the award and only Rams passer Jared Goff comes close.
Check out the latest Super Bowl 53 MVP odds, per Bovada:
It’s easy to see who the top favorites are and they’re typically the biggest names. However, even the stars who offer solid odds aren’t bringing back insane money if you bet on them.
One option for bettors is to ditch what history tells us and aim high on a Super Bowl prop bet such as MVP. That has me looking at some interesting Super Bowl MVP sleepers that could potentially actually win the award and would bring back some nice profit.
I won’t go as far as special teams aces like Matthew Slater or fullbacks like James Develin. These guys would need an insane combination of things to go right and even then, it’s hard to see them winning.
The bottom half of this list is largely out of the running in my eyes, although a faint argument could be made for some defensive players or an offensive weapon like Phillip Dorsett.
However, I’ve got six guys I especially like that have a great price and an actual path to snagging the Super Bowl MVP out from under the favorites:
Brandin Cooks is just +1000 less, but I prefer the value with Woods, who is basically the 1B to Cooks’ 1A in this explosive passing game.
Woods has been needed more ever since the loss of Cooper Kupp and that’s translated into career numbers across the board with 86 receptions, 1,219 yards, and six touchdowns. All of those numbers top his previous career highs and Woods’ value can’t be understated in this offense.
Best of all, the Patriots know Cooks pretty well and will likely put top cornerback Stephon Gilmore on him as much as possible. That could leave Woods free for a huge game.
I wouldn’t say he’s the best receiver in football, but if the numbers are there and the Rams win, Woods could be a flat out steal at this current +5000 price tag over at Bovada.
I’m also interested in Burkhead, who is insanely versatile and still very involved in what New England does offensively despite being loaded at running back.
Sony Michel is the main guy on early downs and James White dominates the targets as a receiver out of the backfield, but the Pats love to rotate Burkhead in often to keep both of those guys fresh.
That allowed Burkhead to go off in the AFC title game, where he racked up 64 total yards and two scores. The odds are pretty good he’s still the third guy in line, but depending on how this game shakes out, he could easily rack up 60+ total yards and 1-2 scores again.
If Burkhead ends with the best stat line and New England wins, you may not be sorry you bet on his +6600 odds at Bovada.
Suh has turned it on a bit during the playoffs, but bettors haven’t really felt his presence from a statistical perspective this year. He can still generate pressure up the gut and help against the run, but nobody is being blow away by his actual numbers.
While true, he’s still a force to be reckoned with and could always blow up as a pass rusher in the biggest game of his life. Coming from a guy who has largely been wasted in Detroit and Miami, I doubt he comes up small in this spot.
New England typically does a good job protecting Tom Brady, but an obvious route to success for the Rams is bucking that trend. If L.A. can limit New England’s rushing offense and rattle Brady, chances are Suh has a hand in it.
If Suh can be effective and also register a couple of sacks, it could be him sneaking the Super Bowl MVP award away instead of a more popular defensive play like teammate, Aaron Donald.
I love guys with versatility that could be asked to impact the game in a number of ways. Burkhead is the first option at +6600, but C-Patt offers even more upside at his +8000 price tag.
There’s no denying that Patterson’s production isn’t the most reliable thing for bettors, but he can impact the game as a runner, receiver and special teamer.
Patterson is called upon as a situational offensive weapon, but if he can rack up some scrimmage yards and turn a return into a game-breaking score, he may quickly vault from Super Bowl MVP sleeper to instant favorite.
Patterson is likely to have a weak statistical outing in the biggest game of his life, but he spread out five total scores on the year and found the end-zone as a rusher, receiver and return man.
If he can do something similar all in this one massive game for all the marbles, he’d be a very interesting candidate to steal the show.
Defensive players to do win Super Bowl MVP very often, but they still have a reasonable track record if they can impact the game in a big way. This is still going to require some huge moments and some pretty eye-popping stats, but at +9000 a huge name like Talib shouldn’t go ignored.
Talib has such a massive impact for the L.A. defense as a whole, especially if you look at the splits this year of when he was active compared to when he was out with an injury. Rams head coach Sean McVay certainly sees the contrast:
Sean Payton: Aqib Talib's presence is "significant" difference from regular season https://t.co/2uqOLSfUSq
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) January 17, 2019
The Super Bowl has handed out the MVP award to a defensive back before and if Talib plays a big role in stifling New England’s passing attack and also chips in a pick, sack and perhaps a defensive score, he’s a fun sleeper.
There are a lot of Super Bowl MVP sleepers to take a look at, but Hogan and his +10000 odds cap things for me. A mostly forgotten element of New England’s offense, Hogan still has the speed and route-running ability to burn defenses.
The big advantage for Hogan is that he could sneak up on the Rams, who will largely be trying to slow down pass-catching options like Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski.
Hogan could slip through the cracks, which is a little surprising since he’s actually been targeted quite a bit over his last three contests. If the Rams work hard to stop everyone else, the speedy Hogan could shock with a huge game and rise up as a sneaky Super Bowl MVP pick.
If you came here for ridiculous long shot Super Bowl MVP sleepers worth betting on such as fullback James Develin or tight end Tyler Higbee, I hate to disappoint you. Those guys aren’t remotely realistic.
They do offer insane betting value, though, so as is the case with any NFL prop bets, you absolutely can still throw a few bucks on them and hope a miracle happens.
That’s the most important thing for bettors to consider; the Super Bowl MVP has nothing to do with anything prior to this game. This is precisely why defensive players like Larry Brown and Malcolm Smith won MVP in this storied game in the past.
It’s about who can have a massive impact and (arguably) be the deciding force in the biggest game of the year? Can that end up being Woods, Burkhead or Suh? I honestly believe they all have a valid argument to do just that.
Things just need to break exactly right and you probably can’t have amazing games out of the favorites like Brady, Gurley, and Goff.
Bet how you want and for the most part, stick with Brady, Gurley or Goff. Just think outside the box and give yourself some alternative options. Because once Super Bowl 53 actually arrives, all bets are off.