The matchup for Super Bowl LIV is set as the San Francisco 49ers prepare to throw down with the Kansas City Chiefs. That means one thing above all: prop bets. A ton of them. And one of the most-wagered prop bets every year is who will win the Big Game’s Most Valuable Player Award. This year should be no different, particularly with some fresh faces on the field.
Julian Edelman snapped the skid of skill-position players not winning Super Bowl MVP last year, but oddsmakers are betting things return to normal this time around, expecting a quarterback to claim the prize for the 10th time in the last 14 years. As a result, the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes is the favorite to win at about EVEN money depending where you look (some have him -110), while the 49ers’ Jimmy Garoppolo has the next best odds at +250.
It’s no surprise Mahomes is the sizeable favorite. The K.C. gunslinger is at another level now that he’s fully healthy, which is incredible considering it looked like his season might be over after suffering a dislocated knee back in Week 7. Mahomes is completing 66 percent of his passes for 615 yards with eight touchdowns and no interceptions in the postseason, while adding another 106 yards and a score on the ground.
Jimmy G, on the other hand, has looked much more mortal despite showing some flashes of brilliance in the passing game this season. Not to mention, Niners’ head coach Kyle Shanahan has put a real emphasis on the run over the last month or so, as Garoppolo hasn’t thrown for multiple touchdowns or more than 285 yards since the Week 14 shootout against the Saints. But Shanahan has two weeks to cook up a game plan and Garoppolo could be the quarterback of the winning team in the Super Bowl.
The problem is neither quarterback provides much value for the bettor out there looking to take a flyer on a dark horse to win the award. So, who can be this year’s Edelman?
Even with the Niners proclivity for running the ball, it’s probably not going to be a running back (sorry Raheem Mostert fans). You have to go all the way back to 1998 to find the last back to win the award when the Broncos’ Terrell Davis was named MVP of Super Bowl XXXII.
That said, here are some live long shots to win MVP of Super Bowl LIV:
GEORGE KITTLE (+1,600)
If we’re looking away from a 49ers running back the best option on their offense is without a doubt George Kittle. The explosive tight end had another great season, hauling in 85 receptions for 1,053 yards and five touchdowns. He’s also one of the best blocking tight ends in the league and whether he’s catching passes or not, Kittle is an integral part of the 49ers’ playbook.
Kittle has been quiet in the playoffs (due mostly to the fact the Niners have barely had to pass in their two playoff games) but he’s going to have an opportunity to have a big impact on this game. While Kansas City has a strong pass defense led by Tyrann Mathieu, the Chiefs have been vulnerable against tight ends. They allowed the third most receptions and the fifth most yards to tight ends in the regular season.
We expect this game to be much more competitive than the Niners’ first two playoffs games which in turn means leaning more on the pass game. And Kittle, as we mentioned, is San Francisco’s most talented pass catcher. If he can turn his targets into over 100 yards, a couple of scores and some emphatic blocks to top it off, he could easily be lifting the MVP trophy at the end of the night.
RICHARD SHERMAN (+6,000)
Another path to a 49ers’ victory in Super Bowl LIV would be through another dominating performance from their elite defense. San Francisco ranked second in the NFL in defensive DVOA, including second against the pass and ranked third in sack percentage. If there’s any team out there that can make life uncomfortable for Mahomes, it’s the Niners. And it’s not like defenders haven’t won the MVP recently. Von Miller won it with the Broncos in Super Bowl 50 and Malcolm Smith captured the award in the Seahawks’ victory in Super Bowl 48.
If the 49ers can ride their defense to a Super Bowl title, which defender are we going to back to win MVP. My initial thought would be to back super-rookie Nick Bosa. The defensive end is a shoe in to win Defensive Rookie of the Year after recording nine sacks and 25 QB hits in the regular season. Bosa has followed that up with three more sacks during the playoffs. The problem with backing Bosa is No.1: at +2,500 the value is already gone. And No. 2: it could be any one of the Niners’ excellent defensive lineman that has a big game.
That means we’re looking at the brash but effective Richard Sherman. The cornerback might not be as great at he once was, but he sure has stepped up in big games and is still an excellent scheme corner. Sherman already has two picks in the playoffs and if that Niners defensive front is able to pressure Mahomes into some bad passes, he could get one or two more. If the game is lower scoring than expected or he returns one for a score, watch out. We could be hearing a lot more from Sherman.
MECOLE HARDMAN (+6,600)
The true Edelman candidates in this matchup both play for the Chiefs and they are tight end Travis Kelce and wide receiver Tyreek Hill. One or both could have huge games, and are good value at +1,600, but it’s almost impossible to envision either one having a big game without Mahomes having a bigger one. So, we turn our attention to another K.C. wideout: rookie Mecole Hardman.
Hardman can flat out fly. He has 4.33 forty speed and averaged 20.7 yards per reception this season, making 26 receptions for 538 yards which includes six scores. He’s also an elite weapon in the return game, averaging over 26 yards per kick return and including one for a touchdown and nearly 10 yards per punt return.
Your hope here is that, once again, the game is a little lower scoring than expected and that while San Francisco is busy trying to contain Kelce and Hill, Hardman is able to beat them over the top once for a big score and then return a punt or kick for a touchdown. Crazier things have happened.
PICK: While I’ll be sprinkling a little on each of these players, Mahomes is the horse I’m backing with the majority of my Super Bowl MVP bankroll. The guy is just so special and at even money, he’s still great value.
Check out all the odds for Super Bowl LIV MVP
|Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs)||+100||Jimmy Garoppolo (49ers)||+250|
|Raheem Mostert (49ers)||+700||George Kittle (49ers)||+1600|
|Travis Kelce (Chiefs)||+1600||Tyreek Hill (Chiefs)||+1600|
|Damien Williams (Chiefs)||+2200||Nick Bosa (49ers)||+2500|
|Deebo Samuel (49ers)||+2500||Emmanuel Sanders (49ers)||+3300|
|Sammy Watkins (Chiefs)||+3300||Tevin Coleman (49ers)||+5000|
|Richard Sherman (49ers)||+6000||Mecole Hardman (Chiefs)||+6600|
|Matt Breida (49ers)||+6600||Frank Clark (Chiefs)||+8000|
|Tyrann Mathieu (Chiefs)||+10000||Arik Armstead (49ers)||+10000|
|DeForest Buckner (49ers)||+12500||LeSean McCoy (Chiefs)||+15000|
|Demarcus Robinson (Chiefs)||+20000||Kendrick Bourne (49ers)||+20000|