It’s not often we see a non-QB win Super Bowl MVP. In fact, a quarterback has won Super Bowl MVP in 32 of 57 games, well over 50% (we did the math and it’s 56.1% to be exact). Because of that, we see QBs at the top of the odds board on DraftKings Sportsbook to win Super Bowl 58 MVP. Each year it’s usually considering the two QBs and trying to hit gold with everyone else.
In recent Super Bowls, we’ve seen mostly QBs win. Since Super Bowl 51, a QB has won Super Bowl MVP in 5 of 7 matchups. The two other winners were slot wide receivers (Julian Edelman in SB53, and Cooper Kupp in SB56). So most of the time if it isn’t a QB, it’s going to be a skill position player. Wideouts have won just 8 times while a RB/FB has won 7 times. Which brings us to defensive players, which is an interesting number. We’ve seen 10 players from the defensive side of the ball (or kick returner) win Super Bowl MVP. The one kick returner was Packers DB Desmond Howard, who had 244 all-purpose yards and a 99-yard kickoff return for a TD in Super Bowl 31.
So what does all of this tell us about the SB MVP market? If it isn’t a QB, it’s going to be difficult to narrow down who to bet on at other positions. Difficult but not impossible. Below we’ll go over some under-the-radar picks to win Super Bowl MVP.
Super Bowl 58 MVP under-the-radar picks
Rashee Rice, WR, Chiefs — +5000
Wide receivers are the second-most likely position player to win SB MVP. The 49ers are favored slightly over the Chiefs and we’ll look at some WRs from San Fran. But Rice has emerged as the top wide receiver for the Chiefs as a rookie and has been great this postseason. In three games, Rice has 20 catches on 25 targets for 223 yards and a TD. He’s being targeted almost as frequently as TE Travis Kelce.
The one issue with Rice winning is it’s an uphill battle, one he may have no chance of winning. You’d think if Rice goes off, Patrick Mahomes would still have the fast track to win MVP. Rice would also need to outperform Kelce but fun fact, a tight end has never won Super Bowl MVP. This might be the best chance for that stat to end with the future HOF Kelce. But for now, history is against Kelce.
It’s not crazy to think of a game in which Rice goes off, makes a few big catches and scores a few TDs to win Super Bowl MVP. Almost all of the production and scores would need to go to Rice, however, otherwise, you’d think Mahomes overtakes the rookie for the award.
Brandon Aiyuk, WR, 49ers — +6000
Aiyuk has been pretty quiet this postseason after being the 49ers best WR during the regular season. It’s thanks mostly to inconsistent play by QB Brock Purdy. That’s a big argument for not betting on Purdy to win SB MVP. You’d think if he has a good game, one of the top-skill position players will go off and overshadow him. It’s hard to bet on anyone for San Fran other than CMC given the volume and production. Win or lose, you’d think McCaffrey ends up with a good case for MVP.
For Aiyuk, he’d have to get back to his regular-season self. He has 14 targets through two playoff games, which is fine, but not elite volume. So if he isn’t going to get a lot of opportunities in a tough matchup, he’s going to have to make some big plays. Kansas City had given up big plays this postseason. One in the first round to Tyreek Hill. None to the Bills but we all remember that big drop by Stefon Diggs. Last week, the Ravens got a few big plays from Zay Flowers and Nelson Agholor. So it’s not out of the question for Aiyuk to get a few shots. The Chiefs should also focus on shutting down CMC.
You should be siding with the 49ers’ skill position
As much as it pains us to do this, Nick Bosa (+7500) isn’t a bad option in this market. Fred Warner (+12000) and Dre Greenlaw (+20000) are the two other defensive players for San Fran to consider. But Bosa is the best of this bunch and would be able to make the required impact to win this award. We’ve seen it recently with Von Miller and Malcolm Smith winning SB MVP. Those were two very different performances.
Miller had 2.5 sacks and moderate defensive stats. But that game was an absolute snoozefest. It would be pretty surprising given the players on each side if this game was anything close to that Panthers-Broncos Super Bowl. When Smith won, that was the “Legion of Boom” Seahawks team. You could have made a case for Smith, Kam Chancellor, Bobby Wagner or even Earl Thomas in that game. But Smith scored the defensive TD.
The keys to a defensive player winning SB MVP are simple. Multiple of a key stat — so multiple sacks, forced fumbles, interceptions, passes defensed, etc. The other is game script. Basically none of the offensive players can put up great stats. That is the main issue with betting on a defensive player in this game. The big names are on San Fran’s side of the ball and the Chiefs have the better defense, but no one who really sticks out.
Bosa, again, isn’t a bad play given he can get multiple sacks and it could rattle Mahomes, which would be big in the game script. If Bosa were to force a turnover of Mahomes and the 49ers were to win, he’d have the narrative to win the award over Brock Purdy or George Kittle or Christian McCaffrey if the game is low-scoring.
George Karlaftis is +10000 and has the second-best odds among defensive players to win SB MVP. This is wide because of the torn ACL of Charles Omenihu, who had seven sacks in 11 games during the regular season, and a sack-fumble on Lamar Jackson in the AFC Championship. DT Chris Jones was tied with Karlaftis for the Chiefs lead in sacks during the regular season with 10.5. Jones has been very quiet this postseason with just four tackles and half a sack in three games. Jones has the same odds as Karlaftis to win SB MVP.
Chiefs CB L’Jarius Sneed is +15000 and should play every snap. K.C. LB Nick Bolton isn’t a bad bet to sprinkle at +25000, again, a player who should play every snap on defense and will be in on a lot of tackles. Still, to me, it feels like a game where you fade defensive player bets for SB MVP. It just feels like there will be too much offense. The over/under is 47 points and most of the handle/bets are on the over.
This article can also be found in our Ultimate Guide to Super Bowl 58, presented by Frank’s Red Hot.