Friday, January 25, 2013

2013 Super Bowl XLVII (47) Prop Bet: The Super Bowl MVP

Leading up to the 2013 Super Bowl XLVII (47) between the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens, we'll take a look at Super Bowl proposition betting and all he fun, silly prop bets that surround Super Bowl 47 (XLVII). That includes proposition wagers on the Super Bowl coin toss, Super Bowl halftime show (Beyonce), Super Bowl National Anthem (Alicia Keys), Super Bowl Gatorade shower dump and much more. Follow along on the Super Bowl sidebar to the right and follow us on twitter for prop betting updates @stocklemonblog!

In today's NFL, there are rarely more than two legitimate Super Bowl MVP candidates: the AFC quarterback or the NFC quarterback. This year is no exception. And yet, we have so many options to chose from! 

The question is, does anyone outside of Joe Flacco or Colin Kaepernick really have a shot at the MVP? Let's take a look at the odds and see if we can't find a little value in there: 

Colin Kaepernick (SF) QB 7/4 
Joe Flacco (BAL) QB 11/4 
Frank Gore (SF) RB 7/1 
Ray Lewis (BAL) LB 7/1 
Ray Rice (BAL) RB 10/1 
Michael Crabtree (SF) WR 14/1 
Anquan Boldin (BAL) WR 16/1 
Vernon Davis (SF) TE 18/1 
Torrey Smith (BAL) WR 20/1 
Ed Reed (BAL) FS 33/1 
Aldon Smith (SF) LB 40/1 
Dennis Pitta (BAL) TE 40/1 
Randy Moss (SF) WR 40/1 
Patrick Willis (SF) LB 50/1 
Terrell Suggs (BAL) LB 50/1 
Bernard Pollard (BAL) S 66/1 
Dashon Goldson (SF) FS 66/1 
David Akers (SF) K 66/1 
LaMichael James (SF) RB 66/1 
NaVorro Bowman (SF) LB 66/1 
Bernard Pierce (BAL) RB 75/1 
Justin Tucker (BAL) K 75/1 
Ted Ginn Jr. (SF) WR 75/1 
Alex Smith (SF) QB 100/1 
Delanie Walker (SF) TE 100/1 
Field 22/1 

What we really have here are nine potential candidates--including both starting quarterbacks, of course--for the game's Most Valuable Player. After Torrey Smith at 20/1, you really just get into random defensive players that would have to return at least one pick/fumble for a touchdown (and do a whole lot else) and rarely used skill players. Basically, if you correctly pick Randy Moss to be the game's MVP, you deserve a hell of a lot more than 40 times your bet. It ain't happening.

Value, in this instance, is hard to come by, and the Super Bowl MVP prop bet, though very popular and simplistic (aka easy for the normally non-betting public to latch on to), is becoming very much a QB or bust proposition. Either take the less than favorable odds on the quarterback of the team you think will win, or walk away and save your money for another prop.

Could David Akers suddenly find the uprights, and then sympathy earn an MVP vote for his four made extra points? Could Bernard Pollard sever the leg of Frank Gore at some point in the game, rendering the 49ers rushing attack useless? Could Ray Lewis get away with stabbing Colin Kaepernick at a Super Bowl party prior to the game? Sure, these things could happen, but the odds just don't line up with the probabilities, leaving mostly public sucker bets on the board.

Vegas knows they'll get action on the big names regardless, and to a lot of public betters, Ray Lewis at 10/1 seems like good odds simply because it's his last game in the NFL and he's been in the news for the last two weeks. Sure, Ray Lewis has won the MVP before (when his quarterback was Trent Dilfer). But how many linebackers had won the game's top honor before him? One. Stick with the basics on this one.

Here's a position-by-position breakdown of the Super Bowl MVP:

Quarterback - 25 (last: 2012)
Running back -7 (1998)
Wide receiver - 6 (2009)
Defensive end - 2 (1986)
Linebacker - 2 (2001)
Safety - 2 (2003)
Cornerback - 2 (1996)
Defensive tackle - 1 (1978)
Kick returner/punt returner - 1 (1997)

That's 38 of the 46 awards going to the quarterbacks, running backs and receivers, with QBs accounting for well over half of the game's MVPs.

If the 49ers win, we don't think it'll be anyone but Colin Kaepernick collecting the trophy (7/4), and it makes sense that he is the odds-on favorite. If the Ravens win, though, we could see the less than flashy Flacco (11/4) getting passed over by one of his targets--either Anquan Boldin (16/1) or Torrey Smith (20/1), and would probably focus our attention there if we thought the Ravens would win.  But we don't.

Five of the last six Super Bowl MVPs have been quarterbacks, and that's a trend we think will continue when all is said and done. We're going with the favorite--Colin Kaepernick is our pick for MVP