The last time a defensive player was named Super Bowl MVP was the first year Las Vegas sportsbooks were allowed to take wagers on the award.
The books took a bath on the popular prop when Broncos linebacker Von Miller was named MVP of Super Bowl 50 in 2016 after opening as a 60-1 long shot. But they still won big on Denver’s 24-10 upset of the Carolina Panthers.
Westgate sportsbook director John Murray said there’s typically a correlation between how the books fare on the MVP prop and the Super Bowl overall.
For that reason, he would welcome a scenario in Sunday’s game in which Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Tyrann Mathieu (40-1), the Westgate’s largest MVP liability, or another defensive player wins the award at long odds.
“If Mathieu wins MVP, we’ll get crushed on MVP,” Murray said. “But we’ll probably do very well overall because that probably means it’s a low-scoring game and we’ll do very well on props. If a quarterback wins MVP, we’ll usually do well in that pool because they’ve got such low odds. But that means he had a good game, and we’d probably get busted up on his player props.”
Quarterbacks have been named MVP in 30 of 54 Super Bowls and are the clear favorites to win the award Sunday. Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes is the +110 favorite, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Tom Brady is the +250 second choice.
But the betting public is looking for more bang for their buck.
“They play nothing but long-shot prices,” William Hill sportsbook director Nick Bogdanovich said.
The biggest MVP liabilities at William Hill are on Chiefs receiver Sammy Watkins (100-1), Buccaneers wideout Scotty Miller (200-1) and Kansas City running back Le’Veon Bell (300-1). A William Hill bettor placed a $1,000 wager to win $200,000 on Watkins to be MVP at 200-1.
The Westgate took eight bets on Mathieu at 50-1, including a $1,000 wager to win $50,000.
“They’re betting all the long-shot players they’ve heard of,” Murray said. “That’s why we got beat up so bad on Von Miller. I’m actually a little surprised we haven’t gotten more tickets on Jason Pierre-Paul.”
Pro sports bettor Mark DeRosa posted on Twitter (@edteach23) two $2,000 wagers he placed to win $300,000 each on Tampa linebackers Pierre-Paul and Shaq Barrett at 150-1 at the Borgata sportsbook in New Jersey.
They’re each down to 60-1 at the Westgate and William Hill, and Pierre-Paul is 75-1 at Station Casinos.
“This can be a narrative award, and a multi sack/forced fumble game from either of these two could do it, especially against this KC line,” wrote DeRosa. “TB without a likely multiple TD scorer. It’s Brady or defense if they win.”
The Super Bowl MVP has gone to a defensive player nine times, a receiver eight times and a running back seven times.
Chiefs wideout Tyreek Hill is the ticket leader at the Westgate, where he’s 14-1 to win the award, and Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce is 12-1. Hill had 13 catches for 269 yards and three TDs in Kansas City’s 27-24 regular-season win over Tampa Bay.
“There’s always the chance that Tyreek Hill takes two short passes and turns them into 80-yard TDs,” Sunset Station sportsbook director Chuck Esposito said. “If Tampa wins, I don’t really see another scenario besides Tom Brady.”
Contact reporter Todd Dewey at [email protected] Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.
Super Bowl MVP
Patrick Mahomes; +110
Tom Brady; +250
Travis Kelce; 12-1
Tyreek Hill; 14-1
Mike Evans; 25-1
Chris Godwin; 25-1
Leonard Fournette; 30-1
Antonio Brown; 40-1
Tyrann Mathieu; 40-1
Devin White; 40-1
Clyde Edwards-Helaire; 50-1
Rob Gronkowski; 50-1
Shaq Barrett; 60-1
Jason Pierre-Paul; 60-1
Sammy Watkins; 60-1
Darrel Williams; 60-1
Ronald Jones Jr.; 80-1
Mecole Hardman; 80-1
Chris Jones; 80-1
Scotty Miller; 100-1
Cameron Brate; 100-1
Ryan Succop; 100-1
Harrison Butker; 100-1
Anthony Hitchens; 100-1
Frank Clark; 100-1
Antoine Winfield Jr.; 100-1
DeMarcus Robinson; 200-1
Byron Pringle; 200-1
Field (all others); 25-1