The NFL is and always has been a league driven by superstar quarterbacks, and it only makes sense that on the biggest stage of them all that the QBs tend to shine and lead their team to glory. The Super Bowl MVP has been awarded to a quarterback seven times out of the last 10 seasons. However, two of the last three MVP awards have gone to a defensive player. Last season, Von Miller took the honor and cashed in at around +2200, depending on your book. In Super Bowl 48, the honors went to Seattle's Malcom Smith. The last quarterback to win Super Bowl MVP was, obviously, Tom Brady, in Super Bowl 49. That was Brady's third Super Bowl MVP, and he will be looking to win an NFL-record fourth MVP award. He currently sits tied with Joe Montana (3).
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To the surprise of nobody, Brady is the favorite to win the honors this year, and his counterpart, Matt Ryan, is second in line. After those two, the drop off in odds is very steep and presents bettors with tremendous value. The key to picking an MVP is to have some sort of idea of who you expect to win the game. Rarely does the MVP get awarded to a player on a losing team - it's happened only one time (1971) in 50 Super Bowls. If you favor New England, then Tom Brady is the obvious choice. You could make a case for a receiver like Julian Edelman or Chris Hogan, but receivers have won just six of 50 MVP awards. If you think Atlanta will be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy, I believe Matt Ryan offers a good option and decent value. Teammate, Julio Jones sits third in terms of odds, but I believe there could be value with Devonta Freeman.
Let's take a closer look at the 2017 Super Bowl MVP odds and figure out where value can be had. As always, odds are courtesy of BookMaker.
Tom Brady (-115) - Just the thought of Brady being in close proximity of Roger Goodell during the presentation of the MVP Award and Lombardi Trophy is almost enough to make me cheer for the Patriots to win this football game. The key word being "almost," which means I will be looking elsewhere for MVP value. Don't get me wrong, Brady has put up some ridiculous numbers over his 12 regular-season games and two postseason games. He will also be going up against a very poor passing defense that gives up more than 266 passing yards per game and 25.5 points per game. If you like the Patriots to win the game, Brady is your guy.
Matt Ryan (+150) - Matt Ryan has taken the offense by the scruff of the neck and has produced one of the most productive seasons from an offense in recent memory. He has several weapons at his disposal, including a duo-threat RB tandem, Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, Julio Jones (who needs no adjectives to describe him) and an apparently resurgent No. 2 receiver in Mohamed Sanu. In my opinion, Ryan already has the regular-season MVP in the bag, so for him to add a Super Bowl MVP would just be the icing on the cake. The problem lies in the fact that this line is awfully low, and his teammates all have the capability to steal the show. The Patriots defense allows only 15.6 points per game, so if Atlanta finds something that is working, they should and probably will stick with it, leaving Ryan to potentially play second fiddle.
Julio Jones (+1800) - Julio Jones is the type of receiver that can change a game with one leaping catch, or a 73-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown. He might be the most dynamic player on the field for both teams and is coming into this game full of confidence. He torched the Packers for 180 yards and two touchdowns on just nine catches. The price couldn't be better, and if the Atlanta offense has one of their better games and another offensive outburst then Jones could be the one to reap all of the MVP Glory. Jones could be the first receiver to win the award since Santonio Holmes in 2009.
Julian Edelman or LeGarrette Blount (+2500) - If you gave me money to bet either one of these two guys, I would put it on Edelman. Edelman is a matchup nightmare for any defense. He can line up outside, inside, in the slot, or out of the backfield. You must always keep an eye out for No. 11. We all know about Chris Hogan's rise to relevance, but Bill Belichick is the master at switching up the gameplan on a week-to-week basis. It wouldn't surprise me one bit if Hogan didn't see more than five targets all game, which means another receiver will have to step up and make plays. As for Blount, if Belichick decides for some strange reason to feature his running backs, Blount will have to share time with Dion Lewis, who has proven to be a dangerous threat catching the ball out of the backfield. A time share is no way to win Super Bowl MVP.
If you feel like the defenses will step up and contain these two offensive juggernauts, then Vic Beasley (+7000)or Malcolm Butler (+9500) are the guys for you.
Beasley has been Atlanta's best defensive player this season by a long shot. He started 12 games, had 32 tackles, six forced fumbles (tied for first) and 15.5 sacks, which led the league. Butler, on the other hand, came up huge in Super Bowl 48 with the game-saving interception off of Russell Wilson. Butler's game has been steadily improving since that moment, and he is now tasked with shutting down Julio Jones. The value is definitely there, but if the experts are right and the total reaches the high 50s then no defensive player will win the MVP award.
With all the said, I will be taking a shot with Julio Jones (+1800) to cement himself as one of the best receivers in the game. The Falcons offense is a pick-your-poison kind of offense, which means the Patriots should only be able to take one aspect away of the Falcon's offense effectively. I just don't think they can contain Jones. I also plan on taking Atlanta on the moneyline in this game.
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