Though the Super Bowl champions celebrate a victory in the ultimate team sport, the game is not without its individual accolades. The most obvious example is the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player, who is selected by fan and media vote.
The Super Bowl MVP is awarded the Pete Rozelle Trophy. The trophy was named after Rozelle, the former NFL commissioner, beginning with Super Bowl XXV. Fan voting is also a relatively new innovation, beginning with Super Bowl XXXV.
Since the inaugural Super Bowl in January 1967, the award has been given annually. Though 52 Super Bowls have been played, 53 MVP awards have been given out. Dallas’ Randy White and Harvey Martin were co-MVPs of Super Bowl XII.
Notable Super Bowl MVP Winners
Five players—all quarterbacks—have won the Super Bowl MVP multiple times. New England’s Tom Brady has the record with four. Joe Montana is second, having won three with the 49ers. Eli Manning (New York Giants), Terry Bradshaw (Pittsburgh Steelers) and Bart Starr (Green Bay Packers) each won twice.
Unsurprisingly, quarterbacks dominate the award. Twenty-nine Super Bowl MVPs were quarterbacks, while the next-highest position, running back, has only seven. The last running back to win the award was Denver’s Terrell Davis in Super Bowl XXXII.
Ten defensive players have won the award, including twice in the past five years. Seattle’s Malcolm Smith took the trophy in Super Bowl XLVIII, while Denver’s Von Miller won it in Super Bowl 50.
The award is almost always given to a player on the winning team, though there is one exception. Dallas’ Chuck Howley won in Super Bowl V despite losing to the Baltimore Colts.
Philadelphia’s Nick Foles is the most recent winner, having thrown for 373 yards and three touchdowns in a win over New England at Super Bowl LII.
How to Bet on Super Bowl MVP
MVP odds are not typically released until the Super Bowl matchup is set. Once it is, bettors can place two different MVP bets.
The first, and most common, is the winner. Betting on the winner is similar to placing a moneyline bet on a game.
For example, the favorite in Super Bowl LII was Tom Brady (-105). Had Brady won, a $105 bet would have resulted in $100 of profit.
The actual winner, Foles, was second-most likely to win at +325. A $100 bet on Foles would have resulted in $325 of profit.
There were much longer shots to be had, though. Corey Clement would have been a big money maker. At +10,000, a $100 bet would have earned $10,000 in profit if Clement won.
The second MVP bet is a widely known prop bet — a bet that is related to the game but has nothing to do with its outcome. It is possible to bet on whom the MVP will thank first in his victory speech. Foles thanked God first, which was an option at +300.
New England Patriots +500
The Patriots are still the favorites to win the Super Bowl, though they were 4/1 back in February after their Super Bowl loss to the Eagles. That isn’t much of a change, but Tom Brady just turned 41 and has an almost entirely new receiving corps. No Danny Amendola, no Brandin Cooks and no Dion Lewis out of the backfield. Julian Edelman is back, but he is suspended for the first four games.
New England’s roster has changed and looks entirely different than it did even five years ago. But as long as Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are with the franchise, they will always be a contender to win the Super Bowl.
Philadelphia Eagles +700
The last time any team repeated as Super Bowl champions was in 2004 when the Patriots beat the Eagles. Philly’s odds have improved in the last week, which could be a sign that Carson Wentz will be ready to go sooner rather than later.
History tells us that a Super Bowl rematch is highly unlikely. Nevertheless, the two favorites to play in Super Bowl 53 are the two participants from last season.
Los Angeles Rams +800
First-year coach Sean McVay led the Rams to a breakout season in 2017, and they would have been a Super Bowl contender had they not made any roster moves. However, Los Angeles added Aqib Talib, Ndamukong Suh and Brandin Cooks to an already loaded roster.
Los Angeles didn’t make it to the NFC title game a year ago, but they have one of the two best rosters in the NFC, along with Philadelphia. If Jared Goff continues to improve, this will be a scary team.
Minnesota Vikings +900
Acquiring Kirk Cousins shifted the odds slightly for the Vikings. Cousins is replacing Case Keenum, who led Minnesota to an appearance in the NFC title game a year ago. Dalvin Cook returns from injury, so this could be an improved offense. The Vikings already have one of the best defenses in the league, and they will likely be a contender again in 2018.
Pittsburgh Steelers +900
The Steelers still have one of the best offensive trios in the league with Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell and Ben Roethlisberger. Big Ben started showing some signs of age last year, but this is still a very talented roster capable of competing for the Super Bowl.
Green Bay Packers +1000
Green Bay’s odds improved in the last week, and the public loves to back the Pack and Aaron Rodgers. The roster still isn’t great from top to bottom, but as long as Rodgers is healthy, Green Bay can contend.
Rodgers hasn’t had many playmakers on offense in the last few seasons, and top target Jordy Nelson is now with the Raiders. Jimmy Graham should help at tight end, and Davante Adams emerged as a viable deep threat. Making the playoffs won’t be easy, but if they can get there, Rodgers is capable of taking them the distance.
Los Angeles Chargers +1200
The Chargers’ odds continue to climb as the public is officially onboard the hype train. This roster has plenty of talent, and if they can avoid a terrible start to the season like last year, they will be the favorites in the AFC West.
Philip Rivers is getting older, but he might have one last playoff run in him before he retires. This Los Angeles team has the talent to contend in the AFC.
New Orleans Saints +1400
New Orleans was literally one play away from playing in the NFC title game a year ago. Drew Brees turns 40 in January, but he still looked sharp, and the offense was as balanced as ever with Alvin Kamara in the backfield.
Three teams from the NFC South made the postseason last year, and it will likely be a very tough division again this fall. As long as Brees doesn’t show signs of age, the Saints will be a threat.
Atlanta Falcons +1500
While the Falcons didn’t necessarily have a Super Bowl hangover after their devastating loss in Super Bowl LI to the Patriots, they still weren’t quite as sharp last year. Losing offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan hurt, and the offense wasn’t in sync for most of the year.
Even so, Atlanta still managed to make the playoffs, and they won an opening round game on the road against the Rams. The Falcons also nearly beat the Eagles in Philadelphia the next week. Offensively, there aren’t many teams with better personnel. The defense should also be solid. The NFC South is a very tough division, but Atlanta has a better overall roster than New Orleans or Carolina.
Houston Texans +2000
Houston’s odds dropped slightly in the last week. As good as Deshaun Watson was last year in limited action, he still doesn’t have much experience. The Texans being at +2000 makes more sense than them being +1600, though they have the talent to be a threat in the AFC if the stars stay healthy.
Jacksonville Jaguars +2100
While the Jags’ odds have dropped, they’re still a major player in the AFC. They were only a few plays away from playing for the Super Bowl last season. Despite Blake Bortles’ inefficiencies at quarterback, Jacksonville was still a threat due to a strong running game and a loaded defense.
The defense should be great again, and if Bortles can simply not make mistakes, Jacksonville will be in the mix in the AFC.
San Francisco 49ers +2500
There has been a slight drop in the 49ers’ odds, and +2500 is more realistic than +2000. This team still had a losing record a season ago, and they are a clear No. 2 in the NFC West behind the Rams.
A playoff berth for San Francisco wouldn’t be totally surprising, but this doesn’t feel like a Super Bowl caliber team. At least not yet.
Kansas City Chiefs +2500
Kansas City’s odds being +2500 instead of +2000 is probably more accurately reflective of where they will be in 2018. Patrick Mahomes is taking over for Alex Smith, and while he has the upside, it might be a difficult transition for both him and Andy Reid at first.
The Chiefs have made the playoffs in three straight seasons. They’re more of a wild card this year than in recent years with Mahomes, but Reid is among the very best in the league, so don’t be surprised if the Chiefs are still in the playoff hunt.
Dallas Cowboys +2500
The Cowboys’ odds have improved, and that probably has more to do with them being the most popular team and not because of the roster. This team isn’t a Super Bowl contender unless Dak Prescott becomes one of the top quarterbacks in the league. Even then, this team doesn’t have the depth it did two years ago.
Oakland Raiders +3500
The public was quick to back the Raiders once Jon Gruden took over as head coach. However, this is in all likelihood a fringe playoff team at best. The odds dropped substantially in the last week, and they’re about where they need to be at +3500. Offensively, this should be a very good team. But the defense still has holes, and it’s far from a Super Bowl defense.
Tennessee Titans +3500
Despite winning a playoff game last year, the Titans haven’t received much love from the betting public. Mike Vrabel is entering his first season, and he has a very solid roster in Nashville. The problem is that the AFC South is now likely going to be one of the toughest divisions in the league.
Denver Broncos +3500
The Broncos were 5-11 last year, and they addressed their quarterback woes by bringing in Case Keenum. Now, Keenum had a great season with Minnesota, but is he the answer to what Denver was missing last year?
The Broncos were still good defensively, but they weren’t dominant like they were the year they won the Super Bowl. Keenum will help, but it’s difficult to see this team winning more than eight or nine games.
Carolina Panthers +3500
The Panthers won 11 games last year and lost in the first round to New Orleans. Maybe this isn’t a Super Bowl team, but they should still be a playoff contender. If Newton is better than he was a season ago — and he wasn’t healthy to start last season — then Carolina is capable of having a very good squad.
Seattle Seahawks +3500
The vaunted Legion of Boom from five years ago just isn’t there anymore in Seattle. Last year, it was up to Russell Wilson to keep the Seahawks in games, and he was playing behind one of the worst offensive lines in the league. This isn’t a very good roster anymore, and they will go as far as Wilson can take them on his own. He almost has a Rodgers-type impact on his team, but it will be a challenge for him to get the Seahawks back into the postseason.
Baltimore Ravens +3800
The Ravens were +4200, then dropped to +5000 and now they’re sitting at +3800. They’ve fluctuated more than any other team, and they’re an enigma heading into the season. Will this be Joe Flacco’s last season in Baltimore? What about John Harbaugh?
Baltimore could look much differently a year from now. They could possibly have a new coach, a new GM and new quarterback. This team makes a run when it’s least expected, so they will be an intriguing squad to monitor this year.
Detroit Lions +4000
Seeing Detroit at +2500 last week was shocking, and they have fallen back down to a more logical number. Matthew Stafford is a dark horse MVP candidate, but the rest of this team isn’t ready to contend for a Super Bowl. It would be surprising if they even made the postseason.
New York Giants +4500
Similar to Detroit, it was very surprising to see the Giants at +2000 last week. Now, at +4500, there might actually be some value. Eli Manning is above average at best, but he’s surrounded by special playmakers in Odell Beckham Jr. and Saquon Barkley.
If the defense can return to its 2016 form, this team can make a playoff run. Even if Manning is average this year, the talent is there to be a very solid team.
Indianapolis Colts +4500
As the season draws closer, it seems more and more likely that Andrew Luck will be ready to play to start the season. If that’s the case, the Colts could potentially contend in the AFC South. They aren’t winning the Super Bowl this year, but it makes sense that their odds are improving given Luck’s talent.
Washington Redskins +5700
Washington swapped Kirk Cousins for Alex Smith, which probably doesn’t impact the Super Bowl odds that much. It’s a slightly more experienced roster, and it wouldn’t be shocking to see the Redskins in the playoff hunt late in the season. It would be shocking to see Washington play for the Super Bowl. Losing Derrius Guice to an ACL injury certainly hurts the offense’s potential this fall.
Cleveland Browns +6500
Cleveland has won one game in two seasons, but the Super Bowl odds have improved since February. Since last week, the Browns’ odds have improved from +8000 to +6500. That’s almost certainly due to the Browns being on Hard Knocks this year. The Hard Knocks team almost always get a few extra wagers on Super Bowl odds before the season.
Buffalo Bills +6500
Buffalo ended its nearly two-decade long playoff drought last year. Regardless, all signs point toward regression in 2018. It’s an inexperienced roster, and it will probably be a rebuilding year for the franchise.
Miami Dolphins +8000
Ryan Tannehill is back. … It’s up to you to decide whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing. Head coach Adam Gase led the Dolphins to the playoffs two seasons ago, but they took a step backward last year. The 2018 season could be another tough year for Miami.
Chicago Bears +8000
The Bears won five games last year, and they added more weapons around Mitch Trubisky. Allen Robinson will help the offense tremendously, and new coach Matt Nagy has spent his entire coaching career under quarterback guru Andy Reid. Chicago isn’t winning the Super Bowl, but they will be improved.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers +8000
The Bucs were one of the most disappointing teams in the league in 2017, and 2018 doesn’t appear to be promising either. Jameis Winston is suspended three games, and Ryan Fitzpatrick will start in his place. Dirk Koetter is a candidate to be the first coach fired — especially if Tampa starts the season poorly.
Cincinnati Bengals +9000
Not much has changed this offseason in Cincinnati. The Bengals somehow won seven games a year ago, and they could be around .500 again this year. Marvin Lewis still hasn’t won a playoff game, so it’s hard to imagine the Bengals contending for a Super Bowl.
New York Jets +9000
It’s still unclear how Todd Bowles managed to win five games last year with the Jets. A 5-11 record isn’t good, but last year’s Jets roster was abysmal. Unfortunately for Bowles, it’s still not a particularly good roster, but there is some young talent who could make this team competitive.
Arizona Cardinals +9000
Oddsmakers are expecting a rebuilding year in Arizona. Sam Bradford will likely be the starter to begin the season, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see Josh Rosen at some point. First-year head coach Steve Wilks has his hands full this fall with the Cardinals.
Super Bowl Best Bet: Falcons +1500
New England is favored for a reason, and they’re the team to beat as long as Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are with the franchise. But the contender with the best value is Atlanta at +1500. The Falcons will be improved on offense in Steve Sarkisian’s second season as offensive coordinator, and they added another weapon for Matt Ryan in the first round of the draft in Calvin Ridley.
They’re only one year removed from nearly winning the Super Bowl. They should have beaten the Patriots. The way they bounced back and won a playoff game last year was impressive, and they have the team to contend for the Super Bowl again in 2018.