The star to emerge from Super Bowl XLVIII between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks as MVP is set to make bettors plenty of cash.
It seems so simple—throw some cash down on Peyton Manning and then kick back and relax before collecting an easy prize.
Believe it or not, other players do have odds for the prestigious award. The full lineup is interesting, but the top names with the most realistic chances make things rather difficult for bettors who want to win big.
When: Sunday, Feb. 2, at 6:30 p.m. ET
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.
Live Stream: Fox Sports Go
The Obvious Choice: Peyton Manning
Talk about a safe bet.
Peyton Manning has shown in past Super Bowl performances that he is good enough statistically to win the award, but the numbers are not good enough in a loss, which in turn makes him the goat.
Manning understands he needs help to beat Seattle, via ABC 7 in Denver:
Fortunately, Manning is surrounded by a host of weapons and backed by a strong run defense that ranks in the top 10. His opposition, Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson, is a bit younger and certainly at a disadvantage as a result, as Fox Sports points out:
The age difference between Peyton Manning & Russell Wilson: 12 years, 250 days. The LARGEST age gap between QBs in Super Bowl history.— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) January 25, 2014
If the Broncos win, as they should given their defense excels in the one area the Seahawks offense does (the running game), Manning is easily the favorite for the award—especially if folks believe it is the last time they will ever see him in the NFL.
This is obviously a bet that would not pay a huge return, but it is easily the safest for good reason.
The Safe Underdog: Demaryius Thomas
At 25-1 odds, Denver receiver Demaryius Thomas is an outstanding bet for those in search of a challenge.
Thomas had a stellar year with 1,430 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns, but his real production has come in the postseason, as NFL Network's Jeff Darlington details:
I love seeing Demaryius Thomas turn into a star. In five postseason games, he's averaging 104.4 yards per game with four touchdowns. Clutch.— Jeff Darlington (@JeffDarlington) January 20, 2014
Some may balk at the idea of Thomas as MVP because of his task against Seattle corner Richard Sherman, but bettors would be wise to understand that the star defensive back does not follow one specific player around the field.
Manning will surely move Thomas away from Sherman more often than not. The bulk of Thomas' production comes after the catch anyway, meaning he can get the ball behind or at the line of scrimmage and take off—rather than simply going out for a pass and being shut down.
For those in search of a risk and better pay day, Thomas is the guy to roll with.
The Smart Risk: Doug Baldwin
Want to get crazy?
Seattle's Doug Baldwin is exactly what bettors should have in mind.
Best MVP bet?
Baldwin has quietly helped carry what has mostly been an ineffective passing game on a run-first team, which has been without bigger name Percy Harvin for most of the year.
As Jerry Brewer of The Seattle Times points out, Baldwin put up 215 all-purpose yards in the NFC Championship against the San Francisco 49ers. In the regular season, Baldwin caught passes on 68.5 percent of his targets—a better number than Calvin Johnson and the aforementioned Thomas.
Oh, and he is liable for a crazy connection with Wilson, such as this one from the NFC title game:
Between big plays against a weak secondary and contributions in the run game, it would not be outlandish to see Baldwin make one or two game-changing plays to decide the outcome—much to the delight of those who were brave enough to throw cash down on him.