Top 10 contenders for Super Bowl MVP

Leigh Copson:

One of the most popular betting markets for any Super Bowl is the Most Valuable Player (MVP) one, and here we run down the leading contenders to claim this prestigious prize when the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs clash in Miami.

READ MORE: Find out who we are tipping to be MVP & get more Super Bowl Tips.

The MVP award is typically given to a stand-out performer on the winning team (only once in history has it been given to a player on a losing team), and out of the 54 players to have received this award (there were two winners at Super Bowl XII) 45 of them have played on offense. 10 have been defensive players, while Desmond Howard of the 1996 Green Bay Packers remains the only special teams player in history to have been named Most Valuable Player in the NFL’s biggest games.

Quarterback has been the most dominant position, providing 29 MVP wins with Tom Brady, Joe Montana, Bart Starr, Terry Bradshaw and Eli Manning all winning the award more than once. Running backs and wide receivers are next up with seven wins apiece, while linebacker remains the most successful position defensively thanks to four successes, with two of those wins coming in the previous six Super Bowls.

So who will add their name to this long list of Most Valuable Players on February 10? Here is a rundown of the 10 players that the bookmakers believe have the best chance of being named Super Bowl LIV MVP…

Patrick Mahomes – EVS

Mahomes has become the NFL’s biggest star over the past couple of years and it is not hard to see why. The young quarterback is poised to completely revolutionise the way the position is played, with the help of Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson, and it is difficult to see him being fazed by the bright lights of Super Bowl LIV. Mahomes, quite simply, can do it all and if Kansas City do lift the Vince Lombardi Trophy it is almost guaranteed that their superstar QB will be named MVP.

Jimmy Garoppolo – 5/2

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (Photo by USA TODAY Network/SIPA USA/PA Images).

Garoppolo has been labelled a ‘game manager’ by some, but the 49ers quarterback has shown this season that when he needs to carry the team on his back he can – just look at that sensational shootout win in New Orleans. However, if San Francisco follows the formula that has brought them much success this season – run the ball and dominate on defense – it could limit the opportunities that Garoppolo has to make a major impression. Is he capable of playing a starring role? Yes. Could his opportunities be limited? Yes. That makes him a tough man to back, especially at short odds.

Raheem Mostert – 7/1

Mostert enjoyed a career-best night as he ran over the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game. The 49ers running back was called upon 29 times and he rewarded his coach by racking up 220 yards and four touchdowns in a sensational performance that will go down as one of the best ever postseason displays. Now can he shine in the Super Bowl? San Francisco’s formula for success this season has been to pound the rock on the ground so Mostert should see opportunities to make a major impact here. A 100-yard game and a touchdown would almost certainly make him a leading contender for MVP honours if the Niners are crowned world champions.

George Kittle – 14/1

Kittle is widely considered the best tight end in the game today and it is no real surprise. Not only can he help make big plays in the passing game – see his brilliant catch and run that set up a game-winning field goal in New Orleans – but he is equally adept at making a major impact in the run game with his blocking. Kittle can do it all and when you have a player that can leave an impression in both aspects of the offense, he has to be an MVP candidate if he delivers for San Francisco once again.

Tyreek Hill – 14/1

There is not a more dangerous wide receiver on the field than Hill, whose lightning speed can see him race away from the defensive back for huge gains and touchdowns. The Kansas City star cannot be overlooked for a single second once the football is snapped, because he has an incredible knack for helping produce blockbuster plays. A couple of them here would make him a frontrunner for the Most Valuable Player award if the Chiefs end their 50-year wait to lift the Vince Lombardi Trophy for a second time.

Travis Kelce – 14/1

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (Photo by Scott Winters/Zuma Press/PA Images).

Kelce played a starring role for Kansas City in that record-setting comeback against Houston in the Divisional Round, catching three touchdown passes in the space of less than eight second-quarter minutes. He had a quiet day in the AFC Championship Game win over Tennessee, but Kelce remains Mahomes’ most popular target and in the biggest game of them all the young quarterback is likely to look for his most reliable target routinely. That could result in a big day for Kelce and Super Bowl MVP honours.

Damien Williams – 16/1

One look at Williams’ stats for the season makes you wonder why he is a leading contender, but when you isolate it down to the final few weeks of the regular season and Kansas City’s first two postseason games then it makes more sense. He went over 100 yards for the second time this season against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 17 and has now scored seven touchdowns in his last four showings. A multiple-TD display here could help him grab some headlines and put him in the MVP picture, but I am not sure he is going to manage that against this elite San Francisco defense.

Nick Bosa – 22/1

Some have made comparisons between this 49ers defense and that 1985 Chicago Bears defense and while the numbers may not compare (the Bears did not give up a point en route to Super Bowl XX), the way in which they attack the offense does offer flashbacks. Bosa has been one of the stars of the defensive show in his rookie season and leads the team in tackles for loss and quarterback hits, while also placing second in quarterback sacks behind Arik Armstead. The 22-year-old could enjoy success against a Chiefs offensive line that gets the job done but does get bailed out by Mahomes at times, and if he can play a major role in limiting the QB’s impact then he could be the first defensive end to be named MVP for over 30 years. Ironically, the last DE to win this individual honour was Richard Dent… part of ’85 Bears!

Deebo Samuel – 25/1

Samuel has been fairly quiet during the postseason, mainly due to San Francisco’s ability to run over the opposition, but if the Chiefs can slow down that run game and force the 49ers to call on Garoppolo to get the job done with his arm, then Samuel could become a major factor here in Super Bowl LIV. That is a big ‘if’ though, because the Niners’ run game has rarely stalled this season. Could Samuel shine to earn the MVP? Yes. The problem it is more likely that he fades into the background as San Francisco pound the football on the ground.

Emmanuel Sanders – 33/1

Sanders will bring some much needed Super Bowl experience to the San Francisco camp, having won the big one previously with Denver, but can his impact on the field be as big as it could be off it? Sanders has been targeted just three times in the postseason and failed to make a catch as the 49ers ran over Green Bay in the NFC Championship Game. That does not bode well for his chances of having a big game in the Super Bowl, but he will undoubtedly be a threat to the Kansas City secondary and if Garoppolo can get him involved that Sanders could repay his QB with a stand-out performance that earns him the Most Valuable Player nod.