Who Will Win The Super Bowl LII MVP?

On Monday I wrote a little bit about some exotic wagers associated with Super Sunday and how much fun prop betting can be. Tweets and national anthem length are fun, but, on the eve of Super Bowl LII, I’m more interested in the action relating to the game’s MVP. Let’s see if a look at the odds can shed some light on how the sharps expect this thing to go.

Per OddsShark.com here are the prop bets for MVP:
QB Tom Brady -110 QB Nick Foles +325
TE Rob Gronkowski +900 RB Jay Ajayi +1800
RB Dion Lewis +1800 TE Zach Ertz +2000
WR Danny Amendola +1800 WR Alshon Jeffery +2200
WR Brandin Cooks +2200 RB LeGarrette Blount +3300
RB James White +4000 WR Nelson Agholor +6600
RB Rex Burkhead +6600 K Jake Elliott +6600
WR Chris Hogan +6600 WR Torrey Smith +10000
K Stephen Gostkowski +6600 RB Corey Clement +10000
WR Phillip Dorsett +20000 TE Trey Burton +20000
S Patrick Chung +10000 DT Fletcher Cox +3300
CB Devin McCourty +10000 CB Malcolm Jenkins +10000
LB James Harrison +10000 LB Brandon Graham +10000
CB Malcolm Butler +10000 CB Ronald Darby +10000
LB Kyle Van Noy +20000 LB Nigel Bradham +20000
DE Trey Flowers +20000 LB Mychal Kendricks +20000
DE Lawrence Guy +20000 CB Patrick Robinson +20000
DT Ricky Jean Francois +20000 CB Jalen Mills +20000
S Rodney McLeod +20000
S Corey Graham +20000


Odds tell us to expect a quarterback

The first thing we notice is that the only number on the board listed as a negative value is the odds that Tom Brady wins MVP. The negative (-110 here) means that you have to bet $110 just to win $100, which indicates this is by far the most likely outcome—no, the expected outcome. Tom Terrific already has four Super Bowl MVP awards so that makes sense. Next you have Nick Foles at +325 (so betting $100 wins you $325) from which we can deduce that QB is the most likely position to be voted MVP. A quick look back tells us that this is largely true, but not a given. 28 of the MVPs from the previous 51 Super Bowl games (about 55%) have been quarterbacks, but in more recent times the percentage has climbed. Of the last 10 MVPs, there have been 7 QBs, 2 linebackers, and a wide receiver. (Full list here)

A couple other interesting observations

– Fletcher Cox is by the far the most likely defensive player according to the odds (33-1 for Fletcher versus 100-1 for a bunch of others), but that doesn’t line up with past results at all. HOFer Randy White is the only DT to ever win Super Bowl MVP and is also the only player ever to share the award. He and defensive end Harvey Martin split the award for Super Bowl XII back in 1978 because they couldn’t give the award to the entire Dallas defensive line. Cox is a dominant force, the best player on the Philly defense, and Danny has him as the second best d-lineman in all of football, but winning MVP as a defensive tackle would require something truly special.

– Sticking with the defensive side of the ball, there are 8 Patriots defenders to choose from, but only 10 Eagles, which comes as no surprise. If Philly is going to win, they’ll have to stop the only man in history to be voted MVP of the Big Game four times whereas a Patriot victory wouldn’t likely be credited to a defensive player unless something crazy were to happen.

– Offensive position groupings: Iggles- 3 RBs, 3 WRs, 2 TEs; Pats- 3 RBs, 4 WRs, 1 TE

– Both kickers are listed at 66-1 but it’s pretty difficult to imagine a scenario where Elliot or Gostkowski is able to outshine every other player on the field. No kicker has ever won Super Bowl MVP.

– The one available wager I left out of the table above was: Field +2200. For the uninitiated, “field” essentially means “anybody else.” It’s difficult to imagine anyone not on the board winning, but you’re welcome to throw down $20 to win $440 if you’re feeling bold.

If I was a gamblin’ man . . .

My best guess is that, as discussed above, Tom Brady is going to win the award again, but if I was betting someone else’s money, I would take a flyer on Chris Hogan at 66-1. Why? Tom has five rings but only four MVPs and the missing MVP award resides with slot receiver Deion Branch who won it at Super Bowl XXXIX . . . the last time the Pats and Iggles met in the Big Game.