Who’s star will shine brightest on the biggest stage of the year? Al Dannity breaks down the contenders, pretenders, and dark horses in the race for Super Bowl MVP,
Three Rs lead the way
After all the glitz, hits, and drama of Super Bowl Sunday, only one man will get to say “I’m going to Disney World” or Disney Land for the ads that air on the West Coast. Aside from Super Bowl XII, which saw Harvey Martin and Randy White named co-MVPs, the big game crowns one shining star above all others.
The three stand-out names in the field are Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, and Rashard Mendenhall. At +750 with Sports Interaction, Mendenhall offers the best value of the big three. The Steelers’ running back will however be relying on an offensive line that will be weakened by the injury to Maurkice Pouncey. That could hurt his statistics substantially. Rodgers, at +175, looks a solid option given the number of receiving options at his disposal. If you want to go with the favorites then backing Rodgers and covering with Roethlisberger at +350 offers great value. Quarterbacks have won 23 MVP awards, more than all other positions combined, so backing the signal-callers is a sensible move.
Be wary of receivers
The flipside of the wealth of receivers available to Rodgers is that it’s hard to see one standing out more than the Green Bay quarterback. At +1200, Greg Jennings is the best option out of the Packers’ receiving corps. Mike Wallace of Pittsburgh is a more clear-cut option. Wallace, at +1600 with Sports Interaction, should have the lion’s share of big play opportunities for the Steelers. The last two Pittsburgh players to win MVP honors were wide receivers, Wallace is the best placed of this year’s crop to continue that trend.
Defense could pay dividends
No Super Bowl in recent memory had as many game-breaking defensive players capable of delivering MVP level performances as this match-up. Troy Polamalu of Pittsburgh won the Defensive Player of the Year award but that could prove a hindrance to his chances. The writers, who vote for the award, might feel he’s already earned enough plaudits this year so I don’t think +1400 is great value for the safety. James Harrison however could be a steal at +2200. Penetration will be key to this game and a big day from the man who scored a touchdown in Super Bowl XLIII could pay off big for Super Bowl betting fans.
Green Bay have two defenders in prime position to make a charge for MVP honors. Clay Matthews narrowly lost to Polamalu for Defensive Player of the Year and will be in position to make a name for himself at +1800 with Sports Interaction. B.J. Raji is even better value at +3000. His battle with either Doug Legursky or an injured Pouncey will be one of the talking points of the game and a strong showing could make him just the second defensive tackle ever to be named Super Bowl MVP.
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