On Feb. 2, 2020, the world will tune in for Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, and the betting world will be honed in on the likely candidates for Super Bowl MVP.
Voted on by a panel of 16 sportswriters, the MVP award has been given to the player who has the biggest impact on the outcome of the game over the last 53 years. Since 2001, electronic fan voting has accounted for 20 percent of the vote with the media panel accounting for 80 percent of the vote.
Predicting the winner during the two weeks leading up to the big game is one thing, but during the NFL playoffs, those bold enough to predict which teams are most likely to make it to the SB and which players are most likely to win MVP from that team can profit handsomely.
In order to more accurately handicap the field and predict which players have a shot at some hardware this February, TheLines takes a look at the live betting odds along with the history of the Super Bowl MVP award.
Super Bowl MVP odds (October 22, 2020)
Patrick Mahomes (+115): Mahomes has been excellent in four career postseason appearances with 11 TDs and zero picks. He’s the obvious favorite to carry the Chiefs offense and would have to provide a difference-making performance to avoid the 49ers elite pass rush and produce through the air. The Chiefs have so many different weapons in the passing game that it’s hard to imagine any receiver earning MVP over Mahomes.
Jimmy Garoppolo (+225): As we covered in the history of Super Bowl MVP, quarterbacks are by far the most likely recipients. Yet Garoppolo has barely been asked to do anything with just 17 pass attempts over two wins this season. The Chiefs were tough against the pass and far more vulnerable against the run this year, and SF coach Kyle Shanahan has shown an extreme commitment to the ground game.
Raheem Mostert (+900): The Chiefs ranked 29th against the run this season and are far more vulnerable on the ground. Mostert has taken over the Niners backfield and should handle the lion’s share of carries even if Tevin Coleman (arm) is active in the Super Bowl. Mostert could have been MVP of the NFC Championship with 220 yards and 2 rushing scores, and the Niners will look for a similar recipe in the Super Bowl.
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George Kittle (+1600): Kittle offers great value as a likely candidate if the Niners are able to win. San Francisco is unlikely to run over the Chiefs like they did the Packers, so Kittle is definitely looking at an increased role after catching one ball in the NFC Championship. An excellent blocker, he could get credit for a balanced attack if the Niners pile up rushing yards in a win.
Tyreek Hill (+2000): Hill had a huge game with 5 catches for 67 yards and 2 TDs in the AFC Championship. Yet when he’s putting up numbers, Mahomes is usually finding other deep threats to put up even bigger numbers. There’s also very little chance the media votes for a player who has been convicted of domestic abuse.
Travis Kelce (+2000): Kelce is an X-factor in the red zone and he could become the Chiefs best weapon in those tight areas given how good the Niners secondary has been against WRs. If he tallies multiple TDs with around 100 yards receiving, Kelce could theoretically win the award over Mahomes.
Nick Bosa (+2000): Since they dropped a home game to the Falcons, the 49ers defense has returned to absolute elite form. Bosa, a leading candidate for Defensive Player of the Year, has been at the center of that resurgence with his ability to pressure the QB and also play the run. If Mahomes and the Chiefs are limited by that pass rush, Bosa deserves the bulk of the credit.
Damien Williams (+2500): If the Niners dare the Chiefs to beat them with the run, Damien Williams could make enough of an impact to earn MVP consideration. He’s played on over 50% of snaps in four straight games and handled 29 carries with 12 targets over two postseason appearances, so the opportunity will be there.
Sammy Watkins (+4500): Watkins has been used as a situational deep threat and he could make a bigger impact if the Niners consistently double team Hill and Kelce.
Emmanuel Sanders (+4500): Like Kittle, Sanders was basically invisible in the NFC Championship game with no need to pass. This game could go dramatically differently with Mahomes capable of putting up points in a hurry.
Tyrann Mathieu (+6000): The Chiefs pass defense has been dramatically better this year and Mathieu deserves a large portion of the credit. The safety seventh-year safety has 4 picks with 70 return yards this year and could make an impact play in a low-scoring game to earn the award.
Mecole Hardman (+7000): Now we get to some of the speed threats other than Tyreek Hill who could make an impact play or two down the field. Hardman deserves to have better odds than drop-prone WR DeMarcus Robinson (+8000) but he’d likely need to return a punt for TD or make another unpredictable play to break the game open and earn the award.
Frank Clark (+8000): The Chiefs’ best pass rusher is an intriguing option at these odds. Garoppolo is hardly capable of avoiding sacks and has shown a tendency to cough up the ball when blindsided. A strip sack or fumble recovery could give Clark a solid case.
Richard Sherman (+8000): The 31-year-old CB is no stranger to big moments and he may welcome the challenge of covering Tyreek Hill at times. Sherman would need a key interception to have any chance at MVP consideration.
Jimmie Ward (+10000): Safeties have been known to win this award if they’re able to log multiple picks. Tampa’s Dexter Jackson was the last safety to win MVP back in 2001, but it’s hard to imagine Mahomes making that many mistakes by throwing into coverage.
Daniel Sorensen (+15000): Sorensen is an impact player on special teams and a savvy playmaker on defense. He could create a key turnover in either phase and become a true dark horse candidate.
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Super Bowl MVP history
The Super Bowl MVP debuted in the first SB, which featured the Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs in January of 1967. The Packers cruised to a 35-10 victory and QB Bart Starr won the MVP with 250 yards, two TDs and a pick. The next year, Green Bay won another SB title with Starr again winning MVP thanks to a modest line of 202 yards and a TD.
That would set the precedent for the award, which as gone to QBs 29 of 53 years since its inception. The MVP has gone to seven running backs and seven wide receivers, and a defensive player has won 10 times.
Yet unlike the NFL regular season MVP award — which has gone to QBs 32 times and RBs 20 times, with one defensive player (Harlon Hill, 1955) and one WR (Jerry Rice, 1987) winning the award — sometimes the Super Bowl MVP can come out of nowhere.
In the past 20 years, Tampa Bay safety Dexter Jackson and Seattle linebacker Malcolm Smith stand out as the most unlikely SB MVPs, while LBs Von Miller and Ray Lewis have also won on the strength of great defensive performances. Green Bay’s Desmond Howard became the only kick returner to win SB MVP in 1997 after totaling 244 return yards and a TD.
Return TDs have become increasingly rare in today’s NFL and defensive battles are also few and far between due to rule changes. Even in a 13-3 slugfest in Super Bowl 53, WR Julian Edelman was named MVP with 10 receptions for 141 yards. Quarterbacks had won seven of the previous nine awards.
In Super Bowl V, Cowboys LB Chuck Howley was named MVP despite Dallas losing, 16-13, to the Colts. This marks the only time a player from the losing team has been named MVP, although Tom Brady came relatively close in 2018 when he threw for 505 yards and 3 TDs in a 41-33 loss to the Eagles.
Brady holds the record with four total Super Bowl MVPs, followed by Joe Montana (3), Terry Bradshaw (2), Eli Manning (2), and Bart Starr (2). The Cowboys have produced the most SB MVPs with 7, followed by the Steelers (6) and Patriots (6).
Super Bowl MVPs
|2019||Julian Edelman (WR)||New England Patriots|
|2018||Nick Foles (QB)||Philadelphia Eagles|
|2017||Tom Brady (QB)||New England Patriots|
|2016||Von Miller (LB)||Denver Broncos|
|2015||Tom Brady (QB)||New England Patriots|
|2014||Malcolm Smith (LB)||Seattle Seahawks|
|2013||Joe Flacco (QB)||Baltimore Ravens|
|2012||Eli Manning (QB)||New York Giants|
|2011||Aaron Rodgers (QB)||Green Bay Packers|
|2010||Drew Brees (QB)||New Orleans Saints|
|2009||Santonio Holmes (WR)||Pittsburgh Steelers|
|2008||Eli Manning (QB)||New York Giants|
|2007||Peyton Manning (QB)||Indianapolis Colts|
|2006||Hines Ward (WR)||Pittsburgh Steelers|
|2005||Deion Branch (WR)||New England Patriots|
|2004||Tom Brady (QB)||New England Patriots|
|2003||Dexter Jackson (S)||Tampa Bay Bucs|
|2002||Tom Brady (QB)||New England Patriots|
|2001||Ray Lewis (LB)||Baltimore Ravens|
|2000||Kurt Warner (QB)||St. Louis Rams|
|1999||John Elway (QB)||Denver Broncos|
|1998||Terrell Davis (RB)||Denver Broncos|
|1997||Desmond Howard (WR/KR)||Green Bay Packers|
|1996||Larry Brown (CB)||Dallas Cowboys|
|1995||Steve Young (QB)||San Francisco 49ers|
|1994||Emmitt Smith (RB)||Dallas Cowboys|
|1993||Troy Aikman (QB)||Dallas Cowboys|
|1992||Mark Rypien (QB)||Washington Redskins|
|1991||Ottis Anderson (RB)||New York Giants|
|1990||Joe Montana (QB)||San Francisco 49ers|
|1989||Jerry Rice (WR)||San Francisco 49ers|
|1988||Doug Williams (QB)||Washington Redskins|
|1987||Phil Simms (QB)||New York Giants|
|1986||Richard Dent (DE)||Chicago Bears|
|1985||Joe Montana (QB)||San Francisco 49ers|
|1984||Marcus Allen (RB)||Los Angeles Raiders|
|1983||John Riggins (RB)||Washington Redskins|
|1982||Joe Montana (QB)||San Francisco 49ers|
|1981||Jim Plunkett (QB)||Oakland Raiders|
|1980||Terry Bradshaw (QB)||Pittsburgh Steelers|
|1979||Terry Bradshaw (QB)||Pittsburgh Steelers|
|1978||H, Martin (DE), R. White (DT)||Dallas Cowboys|
|1977||Fred Biletnikoff (WR)||Oakland Raiders|
|1976||Lynn Swann (WR)||Pittsburgh Steelers|
|1975||Franco Harris (RB)||Pittsburgh Steelers|
|1974||Larry Csonka (RB)||Miami Dolphins|
|1973||Jake Scott (S)||Miami Dolphins|
|1972||Roger Staubach (QB)||Dallas Cowboys|
|1971||Chuck Howley (LB)||Dallas Cowboys|
|1970||Len Dawson (QB)||Kansas City Chiefs|
|1969||Joe Namath (QB)||New York Jets|
|1968||Bart Starr (QB)||Green Bay Packers|
|1967||Bart Starr (QB)||Green Bay Packers|