Super Bowl LVI is still over a week away, but initial lines and props are already starting to trickle out that will be bet on early and often. One of those early props already open at books is who win the Super Bowl MVP Award.
The Rams are currently a favorite in Super Bowl odds, so it’s not surprising that Matthew Stafford (+135 on BetMGM Sportsbook) is the favorite to take the award home this season.
Latest Super Bowl 56 MVP Odds:
In the Super Bowl’s 55-year history, 47 different players have been named MVP of the game. The first edge you can gain on who will win the award is an obvious one…picking a player from the winning team.
Just once over those 55 years has a player won the MVP award while on the losing team, with the exception being Cowboys linebacker Chuck Howley back in 1971. Whichever team you’re backing in the game should be where your support for MVP is going.
Just like the regular season award, the position with the chalkiest odds to win the award for the big game are the quarterbacks. The award has gone to a quarterback 31 times. Over the past 10 years, quarterbacks have taken home the award seven times, with Julian Edelman, Von Miller and Malcolm Smith as the non-quarterback winners over that span.
Because of that, Joe Burow (+225) is behind Stafford in odds. If you want to make a safest bets, target the quarterbacks.
Staying on the offensive side of the ball is where you want to be if moving away from a signal caller. An offensive player has won the award 45 times. You also want to focus on touchdown equity offensively.
Just two offensive players — Edelman in 2019 and Deion Branch in 2005 — have won the award without scoring a touchdown in the game. The highest odds behind both passers is Cooper Kupp (+600).
Wide receivers and running backs have each won the award seven times but have moved in opposite directions in the frequency of taking home the honor. The last running back to win the award was Terrell Davis back in 1998. Since that season, four wide receivers have won the award with Edelman in 2019 being the first wideout to win since Santonio Holmes in 2009.
Technically Desmond Howard’s position was wide receiver, but he was not included in the totals since he won the award as a return man in 1997. It is hard for a wide receiver to win since all of his stats also are factored into his quarterback’s, so they really have to stand out on their own merit over the rest of the offensive statistics on his team.
No tight end has ever won the award and there is low probability of that happening here, especially with the health of both Tyler Higbee (+10,000) and C.J. Uzomah (+10,000) in question.
Defensive players have taken home the award 10 times and just four times over the past 20 seasons. The last defensive player to win, Von Miller (+5000) is actually in the game.
If shopping at a specific position, linebackers lead the way with four wins, followed by defensive ends and safeties with two each and one defensive tackle and one cornerback. If backing a defensive player, the good news is that you don’t necessarily have to chase the randomness of a defensive touchdown. Just one of those 10 defensive players have scored a touchdown off of a turnover.
The bad news is that you still likely need that player to have created some turnover in the game and most likely multiple ones. Ray Lewis in 2001 is the only defensive player to win the award without forcing or recovering a fumble or having an interception since 1978.
Aaron Donald (+1200) has the highest odds of any defensive player (fourth overall in the game) while the next closest player is Miller (+4500) and the highest Cincinnati defensive player is Trey Henrickson (+10,000), who shares those odds with Jalen Ramsey.
No kicker has ever won the award if you are thinking of casting that long of a net, Evan McPherson (+10,000) and Matt Gay (+10,000) sport some of the longest odds.
Shop around for the best odds on the MVP Award, but as a starting block of seeing where players are ranked, here are the current MVP odds from DraftKings.
Favorite Non-QB Super Bowl MVP Bet: Cooper Kupp (+600)
Kupp will be the most popular bet outside of the quarterbacks, but there is still value here. Kupp pressed seasonal records with 145 receptions for 1,947 yards and 16 touchdowns on 191 targets, leading the league in all four categories.
All he has done in the postseason is rollover that production, posting games of 5-61-1, 9-183-1, and 11-142-2. We are getting plenty of offensive opportunities paired with touchdown equity.
It also does not hurt that the Bengals are 26th in receptions (8.1) and 25th in yards allowed (99.9) per game to opposing slot wide receivers.
Favorite Los Angeles Longshot Super Bowl MVP Bet: Cam Akers (+3000)
If betting a Ram outside of Stafford and Kupp, Akers draws a favorable layout. Akers has only rushed 59 times for 154 yards (2.6 YPC) since returning from his Achilles injury, but over the span the Rams have faced the 49ers twice (second in run success rate allowed), the Buccaneers (eighth), and the Cardinals (13th).
All three of those teams also rank in the top four in EPA allowed per rushing play. The Bengals are 18th in success rate (41.1%) and 15th in EPA allowed per rush (-0.070).
We have not seen the Rams involve their backs in the passing game (they are 31st in target rate to their backs at 12%) but if they did draw up a game plan to get Akers involved out of the backfield, the Bengals are 20th in success rate (49%) and 20th in yards allowed per target (5.8) to backs.
Akers faces thorns with the Rams not passing much to their backs and conceding touches to Sony Michel, but he also comes with lower odds than Odell Beckham (+2800) to price some of that in.
Favorite Cincinnati Longshot Super Bowl MVP Bet: Tee Higgins (+5000)
Ja’Marr Chase (+1600) is deservedly the Bengal that is second in odds behind Burrow, but as is the case with DFS ownership at various points this season, the gap on the odds for Higgins should not be more than double that of the rookie wideout.
Since the Week 10 bye, Higgins only has six fewer targets (76), four fewer receptions (53), and 30 fewer receiving yards (869) than Chase. Chase does have three more touchdowns as a separator, but Higgins has out-targeted Chase in five of those 10 games played with both on the field, including the past two weeks with the Titans and Chiefs making it a point of emphasis to not let Chase beat them downfield.
The Rams may throw Jalen Ramsey at Chase in the big game, which can afford more target opportunity and need to have Higgins make plays.
Since the Rams Week 11 bye, Ramsey has played 425 snaps outside compared to just 86 in the slot after having a 370-to-253 split prior. In the playoffs teams have gone the other direction, targeting Darious Williams a team-high 32 times in coverage.
Favorite Defensive Hail Mary Super Bowl MVP Bet: Mike Hilton (+15,000)
Every Super Bowl needs the deepest of dart throws and I am ready to galaxy brain a few pennies on Hilton. While we do not get many defensive players winning the award, when they do win, they aren’t always the chalky options.
Players such as Malcolm Smith, Dexter Jackson, and Larry Brown have won the award as three of the past five defensive players to take it home.
Hilton is going to be a huge part of this game by default because of Kupp. Hilton has played the most slot coverage snaps in the NFL this season (549). While he is not going to have 1-on-1 coverage on Kupp, he will be the Cincinnati defender closest to Kupp for more snaps than any other player. Hilton can also get beat in this game and not have that matter; we are strictly chasing the opportunities that can lead to impact plays.
Even if he gives up a bunch of catches and yards, we may get a punch out after the catch or an interception (Stafford threw five interceptions targeting Kupp this season) strictly based on Kupp being the most involved player in the offense and Hilton being around him more than any other Bengal.
With Hilton, we also have a wild card element as a pass rusher. The Bengals do not blitz a lot, but when they do, Hilton is a defender they like to send. Hilton leads the Cincinnati defensive backs in snaps as a pass rusher (38) and defensive pressures (nine) to potentially get into the stat book with a sack or strip fumble opportunity.
Be sure to look through our Super Bowl 56 Hub for detailed coverage & analysis on the big game.