Super Bowl season is upon us and there are a ton of ways to participate in the event, including betting on lots of props. In this article, I will take you through a couple of longshot bets that I think could hold some value. Sure, it’s really simple to just take the favorite in some of these bets like Super Bowl MVP and land on a quarterback like Patrick Mahomes (-105 FanDuel). But who doesn’t like taking a stab at some longshots?
As great as Mahomes is, a quarterback is not a guaranteed winner. QBs do lead the way with 30 of the 55 MVPs, or 55% of the total winners. RBs and WRs are tied for second with seven award winners. On defense, four LBs, three DBs, and three DL/DE have won the award. However, plenty of potential sure-thing Hall of Fame quarterbacks like Tom Brady in 2019, Russell Wilson in 2014, Ben Roethlisberger in 2009, John Elway in 1998, and Brett Favre in 1997 did not win the MVP while their teams won the Super Bowl.
Last season, although Mahomes did eventually win this award, it was not without some controversy. RB Damien Williams produced 133 total yards and 2 TDs and many thought he deserved the award. Odds aren’t great but nobody can just assume that the QB of the winning team will automatically win this award.
The problem is there really aren’t any realistic Chiefs offensive players who can win other than Mahomes. Both Tyreek Hill (14-1) and Travis Kelce (15-1) most likely can’t win it without Mahomes also having a big game.
Considering that the Chiefs barely have a running game that can produce good enough numbers to be impactful and the fact that Tampa’s defense ranks first in DVOA rush defense, none of the Chiefs’ RBs have a legit shot.
That really only leaves WR Mecole Hardman (100-1) as the best longshot option for me, outside of going chalk with Mahomes. Yes, Hardman is a WR, but he has the ability to impact this game, to the extent of winning the MVP, via special teams as a punt and kickoff returner along with running plays. Tampa ranks seventh-worst in DVOA both in covering punt and kickoffs and has allowed, by far, the highest kickoff return yardage in the NFL by almost four yards per return.
In addition, Hardman has started to receive more opportunities in the run game of late, receiving one rush in each of the last four games with two of those runs accumulating at least 20 yards. Adding in more receiving opportunities (nearly five targets per game in the last five games) and there is a case to be made that off all non-Mahomes offensive players, Hardman is the only one who has a path to win MVP.
I think there could be more of a case of non-Brady offensive players winning MVP if Tampa wins but I am going to go to the defense for a longshot MVP.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are currently the No. 5 rated team in Football Outsiders’ DVOA defensive ratings. Since the Baltimore Ravens won the SB in 2001, there have four defensive players who have won the MVP award. Ray Lewis in 2001, Dexter Jackson in 2003, Malcolm Smith in 2014, and Von Miller in 2016 were all defensive players who played for a top-5 rated DVOA defense and won the MVP.
With that being said, the defensive player I am targeting for a longshot is Jason Pierre-Paul (100-1). JPP is sixth among edge rushers in sacks with 11, is tied for third with four forced fumbles, and second with two INTs. In the first meeting between these teams, JPP had his best pressure game of the season with eight pressures and a sack. Now he gets to face two backup tackles for Kansas City in Mike Remmers and Andrew Wylie. If Pierre-Paul is able to produce 1-2 sacks and cause a turnover, there is a path to potentially come out of this game with the MVP trophy.
First TD Scorer
We know the usual suspects are at the front of the first TD line- Kelce (6-1), Hill (6-1), Leonard Fournette (10.5-1), and Mike Evans (11-1) but I like finding a guy over 20-1.
My favorite is TE Cameron Brate at 24-1 on BetOnline. Brate has three touchdowns this season and all of them have come inside the red zone. He is sixth on the Bucs for the season in red zone targets with 14 and fourth in end zone targets with six. However, Brate has really seen his red zone target share increase of late. In the last five games, Brate is third on the Bucs with nin red zone targets and tied for second with 4 end zone targets. Why these red zone stats are important in this matchup is that the Chiefs defense is dead last in the NFL in success rate allowed against TEs in the red zone at 75%. They have given up nine red zone touchdowns to TEs this season, including Dawson Knox scoring the first TD last week.