The Super Bowl’s Most Valuable Players

February 1, 2008

One of the most popular Super Bowl prop bets is predicting the game’s Most Valuable Player. The honour has been awarded 42 times (Randy White and Harvey Martin were co-MVPs in Super Bowl XII, hence 42 MVPs in 41 games) – does history reveal any trends bettors can rely on when the New England Patriots and New York Giants clash Sunday?

Over the years, offensive players have been voted Super Bowl MVP an overwhelming 78 per cent of the time (33/42). Recent trends are no different, as a defensive player hasn’t picked up the award since Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis in 2001. Not surprisingly, a slew of offensive stalwarts are favored to win this year’s award.

The starting quarterbacks head the list, and with good reason. Of the 42 Super Bowl MVPs, half have been passers (Joe Montana won three, while Bart Starr, Terry Bradshaw and New England’s Tom Brady have won two apiece). No other position has won more than seven MVPs, so Brady sits atop the board for Super Bowl XLII at -250, trailed by Giants pivot Eli Manning at +500.

Running backs and wide receivers are the next most-popular MVP picks, at seven and five, respectively. Receiver has been a little more popular in recent years; two of the last four MVPs were wideouts while a running back hasn’t won in a decade, when Terrell Davis ran roughshod over the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXII.

Based on this logic, The Pats’ high-octane offence provides the next few favorites in receivers Wes Welker (+650) and Randy Moss (+750), and running back Laurence Maroney (+750). New York wide receiver Plaxico Burress (+1100) and running backs Brandon Jacobs (+1200) and Ahmad Bradshaw (+1400) follow.

Most Valuable Player honors have been harder to come by for defensive players, meaning their odds of winning are much longer. Only eight times has the hardware been presented to a defensive back (three), defensive lineman (three) or linebacker (two), so bettors can expect a huge payout if they correctly wager on players like New England’s Asante Samuel (+2000), Rodney Harrison (+2500) or Adalius Thomas (+5000), or New York’s Michael Strahan (+3500), Gibril Wilson (+4500) or Antonio Pierce (+5000).

A tight end, offensive lineman or kicker have never been chosen MVP, but selectors proved their willingness to remain open-minded after choosing Green Bay Packer Desmond Howard, a kick-return specialist, as the best player of Super Bowl XXXI.

Either way, when New England and New York square off in Super Bowl XLII, bettors will have plenty of MVP options in their prop bets.

The Super Bowl kicks off at 6:20 ET in Glendale, Arizona


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