When you least expect it, the Super Bowl MVP Award has ended up going to the unlikeliest of candidates.
Between the Ravens and 49ers, there is a long list of contenders who could snatch up the honors from a Joe Flacco or Colin Kaepernick.
In years past, there was Desmond Howard winning over Brett Favre, and Dexter Jackson winning over the entire Buccaneers defense. If one of the quarterbacks does not dazzle under the bright lights, watch for one of the game’s dark horses to take home the accolade.
Who has the best shot to be Most Valuable Player besides the usual suspects? Let’s peruse the list.
Vernon Davis, San Francisco TE, 22/1
The most physical presence on the field, Davis is the best bet for MVP among all skill players.
His potential has been seen but never a consistent force. Last year, Davis broke Kellen Winslow’s record for receiving yards in a playoff game with a 180-yard, two-touchdown performance against New Orleans.
Colin Kaepernick finally discovered his tight end down the seam in this year’s NFC Championship Game. Six receptions for 106 yards and a touchdown sealed the 49ers' win, and they’ll be more of those numbers to come in the Superdome.
Considering Kaepernick and Davis’s new connection, 22-to-1 odds looks like the best payout of all the skill players on the board.
Patrick Willis, San Francisco LB, 66/1
If Ray Lewis were to win the award, the wager only pays 6-to-1. To take the Niners' defensive leader, a winning bet earns more than 10 times that number.
Using that logic, Patrick Willis is a flat-out steal at those odds.
The game could turn into a snoozer, much like the 16-6 contest two years ago, full of short gains, wrap-up tackles and no performances of note. As a result, the MVP honors would go to the winning side’s defensive captain almost by default.
All Willis needs to do is play at the same high level he has all season and a 66-to-1 payout is a possibility. He led San Francisco with 12 tackles in the NFC Championship Game.
Talk about great value.
Jacoby Jones, Baltimore Ravens (part of The Field 22/1)
He wasn’t a popular enough player to be listed, but Jacoby Jones serves as one of Joe Flacco’s deep-play threats and a viable MVP option.
The Niners will look to take Torrey Smith, Flacco’s main downfield target, out of the picture throughout. Meanwhile, Jones will take advantage of one-on-one coverage and the safety staying over the top of Smith.
After all, it was Jones who caught Flacco’s desperation heave to keep Baltimore’s hopes alive in the AFC divisional round against Denver. If the Baltimore QB's deep ball is on point, who says it can’t be the Ravens' forgotten receiver to shock the MVP race?
Stranger things have happened in “The Big Game.”
Mike Shiekman is a Breaking News Writer for Bleacher Report.