In the realm of Super Bowl prop bets, few are as popular as the one that’s graded last — the Most Valuable Player.
We break down the most-valuable player NFL betting odds numbers for the man whose hair is perfect even in 100% humidity.
Mahomes Repeat Betting Lines
It Ain’t Easy
Over a half-century of Super Bowls, only two individuals have managed to repeat as Most Valuable Player — and neither are Tom Brady, the only person to have won the award four times.
Green Bay Packers’ quarterback Bart Starr won the honor back to back in the first two Championships. Besides him, only Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback Terry Bradshaw can claim the same achievement.
Many of the times a repeat was possible, the candidate in question wasn’t as likely to play such an influential role in the game. Miami Dolphins’ safety Jake Scott, for instance, didn’t get consecutive MVP awards for obvious reasons when the team returned to the Super Bowl in 1974. Tom Brady had his best chance in Super Bowl XXXIX when Deion Branch got the nod instead.
Now that he’s perfectly positioned to achieve the repeat, let’s look at whether or not Mahomes’ odds merit a wager.
First of all, he’s a nearly prohibitive favorite on the MVP betting board with odds of -130. (The next closest, Tom Brady, is priced at +175.) In percentages, that means Mahomes has to hoist the Pete Rozelle trophy — the namesake of the MVP award, don’t ask — at least 56.5% of the time in order to make that a profitable bet. Is that a good number?
To the Victor
First off, let’s take into account who wins the game. With a single exception over its 54-year history, the MVP is always awarded to a member of the winning team. Yes, one time in 1971 Chuck Howley put on a clinic against the Baltimore Colts, and his team (the Dallas Cowboys) still lost in one of those games that still don’t make sense when you look at the boxscore.
Modern voters (and the process used) no longer favor the possibility of such an outcome. Still, we’ll consider that slightly less than one percent chance that the Buccaneers pull off the win but do so in the face of a Patrick Mahomes’ career game — highly unlikely, not impossible.
Does it Math?
Looking at the moneyline on the game, Kansas City carries odds of -160 to Tampa Bay’s +140. Put simply, that works out to be about a 60%-40% equivalent of who will win. (If you’re handicapping a Chiefs’ win greater than 60% of the time, the moneyline would be your bet.)
There’s an adage in Super Bowl betting where betting the quarterback to win MVP is a value bet on the team you expect to win. In this case, taking Mahomes for MVP at -130 is a better value than the team on the moneyline at -160. (It works the same for the Buccaneers too, with Brady.)
So assuming the Chiefs are standing on the podium Sunday, what are the chances the MVP goes to the QB? According to the odds posted for MVP position winner, not as good as they need to be.
Among the six positions — quarterback, wide receiver, tight end, running back, kicker, defense — the QB obviously carries the highest odds. Specifically, you can bet that a quarterback will win MVP at a steep -400 price. That works out to a straight equivalent of 80% but because it’s a field bet (meaning it’s not a two-sided bet, but has many wagering choices) that percentage is heavily skewed by the vig. If we average out that overlay, the percentage of a quarterback winning MVP is more accurately closer to 59%.
At any rate, taking the 60% of a Chiefs’ win and a 60% chance of the quarterback being named MVP, that only works out to a 36% probability — well below the 57% needed to make that Mahomes’ MVP bet profitable.
Maybe you think the panel of 16 writers and broadcasters are believers in the narrative of the quarterback-driven Super Bowl. (There is a lot of hype on the subject.) And maybe you think in this case the quarterback does win MVP 80% of the time. (Worth noting that it’s happened for 30 of the 55 times, which is even less than 60% frequency.) Even that doesn’t get above the needed 57% value — 60% ✕ 80% = 48%.
The break-even point, if you’re wondering, is about 94%. So if you think it’s practically a lock that the QB is awarded MVP and the Chiefs win 60%, then laying -130 is value.
Better Bettor Options
What if your handicap still heavily favors a Chiefs’ beating of the Bucs by multiple scores and a career game out of Mahomes? Is MVP worth it? Sure, but if you’re that far in, there are likely better options.
Looking over the full board of prop bets for Mahomes a couple of alternatives stand out.
One wager option regarding Mahomes doesn’t seem to be as inflated as the others. If you’re handicapping a Mahomes’ MVP performance, it might be worth considering playing the over on the Mahomes’ total completions proposition bet (found at ROT: 6005 on the massive props board).
Here, you’d lay -125 on the over 27½ completions. While that’s a bit above his seasonal average (and the number of completions in last year’s championship) it might be a way to piggyback a wager on a quality Mahomes’ performance without paying the hefty MVP price.
Plus, it could still cash even if Mahomes doesn’t win MVP or even the game. (The converse could be said too, if somehow Mahomes manages an MVP performance with only 26 completions like last year.)
Total Touchdown Passes
Another wager choice that more tightly correlates with an MVP performance might be touchdown passes. In this case, the odds are also a bit steep. The line on Mahomes throwing over 2½ touchdowns is -165. (This one’s ROT: 6013 on the monster board.)
While that’s obviously worse than laying for either a Mahomes’ MVP or even a Chiefs’ straight-up win, it still stands a chance to cash even without either of those things happening. On the other hand, Mahomes did win last year’s award on the strength of only two touchdown passes, with the clincher being the third one he ran in on his own. (Rushing touchdowns don’t count in this wager for the obvious reason they’re not passing scores.)
Is it worth betting Patrick Mahomes to repeat as MVP? Sure, if your NFL betting handicap for the game is heavily in favor of the Chiefs, and you’re already finding yourself making bets in that direction. In that case, playing Mahomes at -130 for MVP might be a cheap ticket on the Kansas City moneyline.
On the other hand, if your handicap doesn’t skew heavily in favor of the Chiefs, it’s worth considering that the prices on the Chiefs and Mahomes as MVP are already inflated.