Obviously, the starting quarterbacks are the betting favorites to be named Super Bowl MVP, and the odds are slanted in the direction Patriots’ QB Tom Brady (-120) since the Patriots are favorites to win the Big Game. Falcons’ Matt Ryan offers slightly better value at +190 and may be worth a shot, especially if you like Atlanta to win.
Middle of the Road
For a couple of middle of the road options it’s probably best to look a the wide receiver position.
The Patriots own the NFL’s best defense based on points allowed per game (18.6 PPG during the regular season). Most of their success comes from stopping the run and using the “bend but don’t break” strategy against the passing game. The Pats were middle of the pack (12th) during the regular season against the pass which should allow an opportunity for a Falcons’ receiver to have a big day. With Julio Jones (+1,500) hobbled with a bad foot/ankle, and Malcolm Butler plus some help putting up blanket coverage, the door should be open for Mohamed Sanu (+4,000) to reel in a couple of corner fades for touchdowns.
On the other side, the Falcons pass defense is awful. Despite having a good opening half in the NFC Championship Game against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, this is still the team (minus cornerback Desmond Trufant) that ranked 28th in pass defense during the season – and Rodgers picked them apart in the second half. Julian Edelman (+2,200) is the favorite among the Patriots’ pass catchers but better value can be had with Chris Hogan (+4,000) and Martellus Bennett (+6,600).
Picking long shots for something like Super Bowl MVP isn’t exactly a scientific process – simply take a stab and hope the game plays out in your favor.
On the Falcons side, take a long hard look at kicker Matt Bryant (+25,000). It seems crazy to suggest that a kicker could be named MVP of the Big Game, but with the Patriots’ previously mentioned “bend but don’t break” defense there could be plenty of field goal opportunities for Bryant. If the game plays out anything like the Divisional Playoff played out for Chris Boswell of the Pittsburgh Steelers (6-for-6 in an 18-16 win over the Kansas City Chiefs) the voters would have no choice but vote for a kicker.
When looking for long shots on the Patriots’ side you have to look at the defense. Their strength is at the linebacker position but there is definitely value to be had in the secondary. Cornerback Logan Ryan (+10,100) plays opposite Malcolm Butler and will see plenty of passes thrown in his direction, and safeties Devin McCourty (+15,000) and Patrick Chung (+25,000) also offer long shot opportunities. It will take a minimum of two interceptions, including a pick-six touchdown, to take home Super Bowl MVP from the secondary.
Here is the full list of Super Bowl MVP odds available at Sports Interaction: