Super Bowl 55 features an all-time quarterback matchup between Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes and Tampa Bay’s Tom Brady.
Mahomes won last year’s Super Bowl MVP award after leading the Chiefs to a 31-20 victory over the 49ers. Brady has won Super Bowl MVP honors four times in his career — the most of any player. Mahomes (-115) and Brady (+200) are the favorites to in Super Bowl MVP honors this year, and a quarterback has won the award in 30 of 53 Super Bowls.
That said, we’re always looking for sleepers. Four defensive players and four receivers have won the award since 2000, so that’s where we’ll start.
Super Bowl MVP sleepers to watch
Tyreek Hill, WR, Chiefs (+1000)
Hill is the best bet outside the quarterbacks knowing the big-play receiver did in the first meeting. He had 13 catches for 269 yards and three TDs, including scores of 20, 44 and 75 yards, respectively. Hill has the same odds as teammate Travis Kelce (+1000), but of all the pass-catchers in this game, he is the most likely to provide a series of “wow” plays that could propel him to the award. He had nine catches for 105 yards in last year’s Super Bowl.
Leonard Fournette, RB, Buccaneers (+1200)
A running back hasn’t won this honor since Terrell Davis in Super Bowl 32, so it’s a tough bet to start. Fournette would need a heavier workload – and that could happen if the Bucs try to limit Kansas City’s possessions. He totaled 211 rushing yards, 102 receiving yards and three TDs in Tampa Bay’s three playoff games.
Mike Evans, WR, Buccaneers (+2800)
This might be the best value play among the sleepers listed. Evans scored twice in the regular-season meeting against the Chiefs, and he had TDs against the Saints and Packers in the playoffs. He’s the best red-zone target for Brady. If Evans somehow catches the game-winning TD and tops 100 yards, this can happen.
Tyrann Mathieu, S, Chiefs (+4000)
Mathieu has the best odds among defensive players, and that’s because of his penchant for game-changing plays that dates back to college. He had six interceptions in the regular season and one against the Browns in the divisional playoffs. It would take a multiple-interception game to have a chance, and Mathieu is always around the football.
Darrel Williams, RB, Chiefs (+5000)
We touched on the running backs, and Damien Williams had a Super Bowl MVP case last season. It’s just tough to do that when Mahomes is the lead player in the offense. Darrel Williams has been the Chiefs’ leading rusher in the playoffs, but it would take a big game in yardage with multiple TDs. How much will he share with Clyde Edwards-Helaire? Will Le’Veon Bell take some touches? This is a tough sell.
Mecole Hardman, WR, Chiefs (+5000)
Hardman is a long-shot version of Hill, and touches could be an issue. That said, the Chiefs could have a few wrinkles for the speedster in this game, and his value in the return game is a plus. Remember when Desmond Howard took over Super Bowl 31 as a special teams’ ace for the Packers? Hardman likely won’t get the same opportunities, but he is one of the few players who can make the game-changing home-run play.
Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, Buccaneers (+6600)
Teammate Shaquil Barrett (+5000) has better odds, and that is the easier best. Pierre-Paul is coming off a two-sack performance against the Packers in the NFC championship game. With Eric Fisher (Achilles) out, the Chiefs face a challenge in blocking Tampa Bay’s defensive end. Pierre-Paul was a factor in New York’s Super Bowl 46 victory against Brady and the Patriots with two tackles and two passes defensed. Could Pierre-Paul deliver a multiple-sack performance and cause a turnover? It’s possible.
Devin White, LB, Buccaneers (+6600)
White has better odds than teammate Lavonte Davis (+10000), and that’s because of the ability to rack up tackles (140) and sacks (nine in the regular season). White could easily put up double-digit tackles in this game, and if Tampa Bay can force a few turnovers he will likely be involved. Three of the last four defensive players to win Super Bowl MVP honors were linebackers.
Scotty Miller, WR, Buccaneers (+10000)
Remember when Julian Edelman won Super Bowl LIII MVP honors? Brady fed Edelman in that game, and the receiver made the big plays. Miller isn’t nearly as targeted, but he had his best games against AFC West teams this season. Miller proved in the NFC championship game he can make the big play at the right time.