The Super Bowl MVP futures odds have been posted, and they are predictably very interesting. There are 13 different players listed at BetOnline, but it is really just a two-horse race with the rest far behind. Really, it is a one-horse race with another is closer pursuit in the pack. It's a race worth paying attention to - if only because it is a fun thing to root for during the game. To help get you in the spirit, here are my Super Bowl MVP odds and predictions (odds are from BetOnline):
Cam Newton, QB, Carolina (-150): It should be surprising to absolutely no one that Newton is the runaway favorite here. Carolina is a solid favorite to win the game, so their players have an edge on that front alone. Newton will all but certainly win the regular-season MVP hardware days before the Super Bowl, so he will clearly be on the mind of voters. He is in a very impressive zone right now, too. He has been dominating in both playoff games and has 24 touchdowns and just two interceptions in his last 10 games. He's popular, he's flashy and makes highlight-reel plays regularly, and his team is very dependent on him so if they win it will likely be because he played well. Quarterbacks have a natural advantage in this race anyway - they have won 11 of the last 17 awards - so picking the best quarterback who plays for the favorite isn't exactly going out on a limb. There's another factor, too. Tom Brady struggled badly against this Denver defense last week, so if Newton can handle it well then the achievement will be viewed as even more impressive. He is the deserving favorite. The price is silly, but then it almost always is for such things. Personally, if I was tempted to bet on this I would probably just bet on the Panthers on the moneyline instead - much less risk for only a slightly worse price. He's my clear pick to win it, though.
Peyton Manning, QB, Denver (+350): This one's interesting. I don't see the Broncos winning, so that makes it tough for me to back Manning, I also remember how bad he was two years ago in the Super Bowl - and that was when he was healthier. There is a big factor here, though. This is very likely the last game of his career. If he were to go out with a Super Bowl win it isn't tough to imagine voters giving him the MVP as a final farewell - a final chapter in a great story. While that is certainly possible, I still struggle to imagine him scoring enough points or accumulating enough passing yards and big plays to get the nod over someone else. It would be easier to imagine a position player getting the nod over him based on just performance, so I am not sure that the Manning factor overcomes that enough to justify the price. Actually, I'm sure it doesn't.
Jonathan Stewart, RB, Carolina (+1600): You could argue that there is some value here. If you pick a Carolina receiver then the problem is that every touchdown they catch is one that Newton has thrown, so they are going to struggle to surpass the QB. If the pass rush were really to get to Newton, though, then the running back could play a major role. If the Panthers win in that case then Stewart would likely be the hero. Intriguing. Not packed with value, but intriguing. Perhaps the biggest knock against him, though, is that the last running back to win the award was Terrell Davis way back in 1998. That's not a drought, it's a trend.
Von Miller, LB, Denver (+2000): If I were to pick one Bronco to back, it would be Miller. He is playing extremely well lately, and he got a lot of attention for his excellent play against Brady and the Patriots. The Broncos are known for their defense, so if they were to shut down the Panthers and win a defensive battle then it makes sense that their best defensive player would get rewarded. This is a solid value play.
Luke Kuechly, LB, Carolina (+2000): Kuechly is a defensive freak like Miller. The problem he has, though - and it makes him not nearly as attractive as Miller at the same price - is who he is up against. If Miller has a big day against Newton then he is shutting down the current king of the league and he will get rewarded. If Kuechly shuts down Manning, though, he's only doing what everyone expects given how weak Manning has been lately. Kuechly would have to be a true superhero to win it. Not worth the bet.
Greg Olsen, TE, Carolina (+2500): Like I said before, if Olsen has a big day it likely means that Newton has a big day. Unless Olsen is the only receiver who can get open and Newton has bad numbers otherwise it's tough to imagine how Olsen could pass Newton in the eyes of voters.
Emmanuel Sanders, WR and C. J. Anderson, RB, Denver (+2500): I stuck these two teammates together because they are at the same price and I just don't see why. Sanders has to rely on Manning to have a big day - risky in this situation. If Manning does have that big day, though, then he'd be a more likely winner than Sanders by a wide margin. Anderson, on the other hand, can have a big day even if Manning struggles - he is more likely to shine if Manning doesn't have his A Game. In relative terms, Anderson is a massive value compared to Sanders. I'd endorse someone picking Anderson as a live long shot.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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