2018 Super Bowl 52 MVP Odds and Expert Betting Predictions
There is no need for a long and detailed introduction here - BetOnline has listed odds regarding which player will be named Super Bowl MVP this year, and we're going to look at them. And the good first step in doing so is to learn from recent history about what makes sense to look for. Not surprisingly, and reflected in the odds here, the quarterbacks have a good edge in this race. Twelve of the last 19 Super Bowl MVPs have been the winning quarterback. And four of those 12 have been Tom Brady, so we know he is capable of a big game on this day. The non-QB winners include three linebackers - including two of the last four winners - three receivers, and a safety. Overall, quarterbacks have won 28 of 51 MVP awards, with running backs a distant second with seven - and none since Terrell Davis in 1998. We're understandably going to be talking about tight ends a fair bit in a moment, so it is worth noting that no one playing that position is among the past 51 winners. Here's a look at this year's odds as of Jan. 26:
Tom Brady, QB, New England (-125): This one is so obvious that you almost can't avoid it. Brady has won five Super Bowl titles, and he has been MVP four times (receiver Deion Branch was the other winner), so it is very likely that he will win if the Patriots do. Because of the attention he gets for his age and his general excellence, a winner other than him would have to have a dramatically better day than him to win in all likelihood. Given that the correlation between the Patriots winning and Brady winning is so high, you could even look at this price as an alternative to betting the moneyline on the game. As I write this the Patriots' moneyline is at -205. You could argue that the difference between that price and Brady's MVP price more than accounts for chances of someone else winning the award, so this could be a way to get a much better potential return while taking on less risk.
Nick Foles, QB, Philadelphia (+350): Again, if you like the Eagles to win then history tells you that looking at Foles would be the thing to do. That seems like a more reasonable thing after his impressive performance against a better Minnesota defense than he will face this week than it was before that. On one hand, the generally-held sense that Foles is a second-flight QB could hurt his candidacy in a tight race. His biggest asset, though, is that there isn't a Philadelphia offensive player who is a high-profile star, so it's not like someone else will automatically get the benefit of the doubt.
Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England (+1200): Gronk certainly has the profile to win this award. There are two things that stand in the way of me getting excited, though. First, as I write this he is still in the concussion protocol, so there is risk that he won't be at his best or even available at all. He also only scores when he catches passes from Brady, so a strong day for him corresponds with a strong day for his QB - and in the event of a close race the advantage would go to Brady in the voting every single time. I don't think he's the best alternative to Brady on his team, but at this price it wouldn't a horrible bet - just one I wouldn't make.
Dion Lewis, RB, New England (+1200): If you like the Pats but don't want to bet Brady at his price then this is probably the best alternative because he can amass yardage and touchdowns without Brady growing his stats as well. The big strike against him, though, is that Philadelphia had the top-ranked run defense in the league during the regular season. It's hard to get away from a bet on Brady.
Danny Amendola, WR, New England (+1400): Amendola has the same problem again - a big day for him is a big day for Brady, and Amendola just doesn't have the profile to overcome that. There is also certainly no guarantee that he will be the favorite target of the QB - or anything close. This price is nowhere close to attractive as I see it.
Jay Ajayi, RB, Philadelphia (+1600): I get the reasoning - the Patriots have just the 20th-ranked run defense, so there could be opportunities on the ground. Still, this price is crazy. Ajayi has scored only one TD on the ground this year, and that was way back in Week 9 in his first game as an Eagle. His best yardage total while with Philly in 91 yards, and he topped out at 73 in the playoffs. He is capable of having a big day - we've seen it in the past - but there isn't nearly enough reason to think he could have one now to justify this price.
Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia (+2000): A tight end has never won. Ertz has scored eight touchdowns this year, but only one has come since Foles took over, and that was in the first game the two played together. Therefore, he doesn't have the freakish chemistry he has with Carson Wentz. And much of his success comes on short to mid-range passes, which aren't going to capture the imagination of voters unless he scores multiple times - which would also make Foles look good. I don't like this price at all.
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