Super Bowl LVI prop bets: Who will win MVP? How many sacks for Aaron Donald?

Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald is introduced before a game.
Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald is introduced before the Rams’ win over the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC title game at SoFi Stadium last month.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Thousands of proposition betting options are available for Super Bowl LVI, and rapidly expanding legalization has opened up a lot of new markets for wagering. There will be more money bet on this year’s game than ever before. While some will stick to the basics of the side, total or moneyline bets, the props are going to be the best way to try to make money with the big game.

The sheer number of props makes it extremely hard for the sportsbooks to set good numbers on all of them. Bettors have been attacking these for the better part of a week and have taken a lot of strong positions.

Let’s take a look at some of the most popular ones and then some of my favorites:


Super Bowl MVP

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow throws during a practice session on Wednesday.
(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)


Quarterbacks have won nine of the last 12 Super Bowl most valuable player awards and 15 of the last 25. The only non-QB offensive player to win recently was Julian Edelman in the 13-3 snoozefest between the Patriots and Rams in Super Bowl LIII. The other two non-QBs were defensive players (Malcolm Smith and Von Miller).

When looking at the MVP market, it comes down to the quarterbacks. There is a minuscule chance that the Bengals can win this game and Joe Burrow not be the MVP, given recent history and the composition of the team. In fact, Burrow at +225 is a great alternate to betting the Bengals moneyline at +175, as you get more bang for your buck. If the Bengals win, Burrow wins the MVP, barring something fluky and strange.

Matthew Stafford should win the MVP if the Rams win, at least based on recent history, but you can certainly make a case for an Aaron Donald at 16/1 or a Cooper Kupp at 6/1. Unfortunately, the value on those lines isn’t where it should be, but that won’t stop people from betting them. For me, it’s Stafford at +110, Burrow at +225 and maybe a long shot like Jalen Ramsey at 100/1 or Leonard Floyd at 150/1.

Ramsey draws Ja’Marr Chase, which is a tough assignment, but one he can handle. If Ramsey has a couple of picks and a pick-six, he could very well win the award, especially if the game ends up low-scoring. Floyd could benefit from extra attention paid to Miller and Donald.

Picks: Stafford +110; Burrow +225


Rams general manager Les Snead said the team is built to win multiple championships beyond this year’s Super Bowl run.


Cooper Kupp

Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp catches a pass against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC championship game.
Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp catches a pass against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC championship game on Jan. 30.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

The standout wide receiver deserves his own section. We’re seeing numbers we’ve virtually never seen before in a Super Bowl with Kupp, as his over/under receiving yards is anywhere from 102.5 to 106.5, his over/under receptions is 8.5 and his “anytime TD” prop is an absurd -190.

Kupp’s prop lines are a bit inflated given the magnitude of the game, but he’s also still lined below his average yards per game of 116.7. He’s scored a touchdown in five straight games and 14 of 20 games this season. A line of -190 has an implied probability that Kupp scores a TD 65.52% of the time. He’s scored in 70% of his games this season.

Teams have tried everything against Kupp and few have been able to stop him. The Bengals may not stop him, but they’ll do their best to contain him. I couldn’t bet any of the unders, but the overs are pretty heavily lined and shaded toward the over.

No picks


Commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL have got it wrong. Their hiring issues are not about diversity, they’re about meritocracy.


Rams defensive players

Rams linebacker Von Miller celebrates after tackling Arizona Cardinals running back Eno Benjamin.
Rams linebacker Von Miller (40) celebrates after tackling Arizona Cardinals running back Eno Benjamin for a loss in an NFC wild-card playoff game last month.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Along with the above MVP discussion, there is a lot of activity on other defensive player props. Most notably, those regarding sacks. Donald is -200 to record a full sack at some sportsbooks. Miller is -150. The expectation is that Burrow continues to get sacked a lot, as has happened at various points throughout the season.

Donald has 12.5 sacks in 20 games, but had fewer than one sack in 10 of them. A line of -200 implies a 66.7% probability that Donald has a sack. That seems a little bit optimistic, even with the Bengals’ offensive line issues. Miller had five sacks in eight games after the trade and his -150 implies a 60% chance he gets a sack.

The line for Floyd to have a sack is +130. He has only had two games with a full sack since Week 9. Perhaps this is the week, with extra help provided on Miller’s side and with more emphasis on Donald, but he’s been rather quiet in the second half of the season. That concerns me a bit.


Pick: Von Miller to record a full sack -150


My favorite props

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins carries the ball during a playoff win over the Tennessee Titans.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins carries the ball during a playoff win over the Tennessee Titans last month.
(John Amis / Associated Press)

Those are some of the top props that are out there, but here are couple of the ones I really like:

Tee Higgins over 5.5 receptions — Higgins only had seven fewer catches than Chase during the regular season and 18 fewer targets, despite playing three fewer games. The Rams can be shaky in coverage on short throws in the middle of the field, a place where Higgins should be able to have an impact. You can also find Higgins at plus money on the over, whereas Chase, who is lined the same at 5.5, is heavily juiced on the over.

Both teams make field goal over 33 yards — This has cashed in four of the last six Super Bowls. Teams that get to this point have good offenses. Maybe they won’t always score touchdowns, but they’re going to move the ball into the scoring areas. Cincinnati’s Evan McPherson and the Rams’ Matt Gay combined to make 60 of 67 field goal attempts during the regular season and 49 of those were from 30 or longer. Neither team was aggressive on fourth down during the regular season, so I think the coaches will take the chance at points when presented. Similarly, I like shortest FG under 27.5 yards, especially with the Rams in the top 10 in red zone defense and both offenses in the middle of the pack in red zone efficiency.


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